BY BRIAN RZEPPA
In society’s biggest moments of need, the first call that most make is to their police department. As most are taught growing up, it is that profession above all that is there to protect us and diminish any danger that may be present.
Like any other human beings, police officers have moments of need as well. To the officers that worked with him during his decades-long career with the Trenton Police Department, former Lieutenant Kenneth Voss was the first call that they would make should any problems arise.
Voss, age 78, died Jan. 28, 2017. He retired as a lieutenant after 32 years at the Trenton Police Department, and fought a courageous battle against cancer for 10 years.
Voss, the father of Trenton Police Chief Steve Voss, was born in Detroit on July 10, 1938. He was preceded in death by his father, Gerhard, who was born in Germany and immigrated to the USA when he was 12 years old. He was also preceded in death by his Mother, Ruth (Licht) Voss, who was born in New York after her parents immigrated to the United States from Germany. His brothers, Gary and Robert, also preceded him in death.
The family moved to Waltz, a small town in the southwest corner of Wayne County, when he was 2 years old. Voss spent his next 12 years playing in the woods, swimming in the creeks and walking and playing on the railroad tracks in Waltz with his older brother Gary and younger brother Robert. The family moved to Trenton in his freshman year. He graduated from Trenton High School in 1956.
Shortly after that he and a buddy of his went to California to find work. He returned to Trenton before joining the Army in 1958. Voss spent three years in Germany and France in the Military Police. Football and baseball took up a lot of his military time as he played on the Army teams in Europe.
After he came home from the Army he worked a short time for McLouth Steel and Vulcan Mold until he was hired by the Trenton Police Department in 1965. He and his brother Robert, who was also a policeman on the TPD, became famously known in the Downriver softball world as the “home run kings” during the 1960s and 1970s.
With his experience in the Army, Voss made a smooth transition into the Trenton Police Department. Jerry Brown, a former police chief and mayor of Trenton, noted that other officers looked up to Voss due to his uncanny ability to seemingly know what to do in each and every situation.
“His leadership ability is really one of the most memorable things about him,” Brown said. “He was a leader that handled people well and he was just always able to take care of things. If you ever had to ask for backup, the first name that came to mind for everyone on the force was Ken Voss. I refer to him as a legend and that’s true, both in law enforcement and as a friend.”
James Nardone, the city’s director of police and fire services, noted that it was that leadership ability in Voss that he tries to emulate in his current role within the city.
“Leadership is rare, but he was really just a true leader,” Nardone said. “He saw the promise in all of the young officers that he worked with and he guided us to make sure that we were on the right track. My leadership style comes from people like him; he always looked out for the community and wanted to protect them and his fellow officers.”
Brown said he was thankful he got to know Voss so well.
“I knew that my back was always covered when I was with him and we just had a great friendship. His death has hit me the hardest and his funeral was so sincere. His true legacy will be his family because both him and Mary Anne have done such a nice job with them, he was very proud of how they all turned out.”
Voss married his high school sweetheart, Mary Anne Stokes, on June 15, 1963. They had loved each other since 1954. Together they had five sons, Jeffrey (Lori), Kevin (Jennifer), Steven (Christina), Brian and Jamie (Polliana), six granddaughters, Natalie, Lauren, Allyson, Grace, Sydney, Vayda and three grandsons, Jack, Anthony and Vaughn. For many years he spent his leisure time following his sons in their various sporting events. When the grandchildren came along he did the same, following them all over the country watching their sporting events.
Voss loved to bowl and golf and was a member of West Shore Golf and Country Club for many years. He also loved spending time with family at their cottage on Houghton Lake. There were many fun-filled vacations with Mary Anne to Gulf Shores and places on the Atlantic coast.
Contributions in his memory would be appreciated and can be sent to The First United Methodist Church, 2610 West Jefferson Ave., Trenton.