BY JOE HOSHAW Jr.
Arthur Koester, a former longtime Grosse Ile resident whose numerous community service endeavors left a lasting imprint on the community, died Oct. 22 at his home in Portage. He was 87.
Mr. Koester most notably was a distinguished member of the Grosse Ile Kiwanis Club, not only serving as its president but also going on to serve as president of Kiwanis Division 5 and also held committee chairmanships with both Kiwanis of Michigan and Kiwanis International.
His resume of community involvement and service extended far beyond being a committed Kiwanian.
Professionally, Koester, who graduated from Wayne State University with a master’s degree in industrial engineering, was a longtime employee and management leader of Pennwalt/Elf ATO-Chem Corp., working at the company’s Wyandotte, Philadelphia and Chicago facilities.
He was also served chairmanships for the National Management Association State and International Committees. He was the Grosse Ile Rotary Citizen of the Year 1994; past President of Downriver Republican Grassroots Organization, Grosse Ile Historical Society and Midwest Canary Club.
He was a member of Sacred Heart Usher’s Club, the founder of Sacred Heart Giving Garden and past Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council 13475; past President of the Island Beautification Committee and Keep Michigan Beautiful Local and State Committees.
Mr. Koester was instrumental in many Grosse Ile beautification initiatives, including Island Clean Up, Service Club Sign and Flag Pole, Township Memorial Garden, planting and caring for Four Corners, for which the Northwest corner is dedicated and named after him.
“He epitomized volunteerism, and touched the quality of all our lives, whether we knew it or not,” noted a post by the Opportunity Grosse Ile Facebook page. “He didn’t seem the type that sought recognition; he simply did what he felt was necessary for the good of his community. Grosse Ile will miss him.”
Jill Ryan, executive director and producer of the Grosse Ile Boar’s Head Festival, commented on the martenson.com guestbook that, “Art always had a smile for everyone, (and) an attitude of ‘yes, I can help.’ I admired him a great deal and I will miss him very much.”
Former state Rep. Patrick Somerville noted that Mr. Koester would “be remembered for his outstanding character and volunteerism.”
Mr. Koester was survived by his wife of 63 years, Clare; children William Charles “Bill” and Ann Phyllis (Gerardo) Rincon; grandchildren Alicia (Kyle) Wright and Michael Rincon; and his brother-in-law, James Piet of Charleston, S.C.
A funeral Mass was held Oct. 26 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Interment followed at Michigan Memorial Park Cemetery in Huron Township.
Donations may be made to Sacred Heart Parish, 21599 Parke Lane, Grosse Ile, MI 48138; or Hospice Care of Southwest MI, 222 North Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 100, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.