Passed away early Sunday morning, April 30, 2017, at the Chesaning Nursing Care and Rehabilitation Center. He was 58 years old. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, May 6, 2017, at the St. Peter Parish Catholic Church, 404 S. Wood Street, Chesaning. Fr. William Gruden will officiate. Burial will follow at the Resurrection Cemetery in Chesaning. Visitation will be from 2:00-8:00 p.m. Friday at the Misiuk Funeral Home of Chesaning. Ken’s family will be present at the church to welcome friends from 10:00 a.m. Saturday until time of the Mass.
Ken Smalec was a unique and wonderful man with an infectious smile who was loved and admired by his family, friends, and everyone who came in contact with him.
Ken was born in Detroit, Michigan on July 23, 1958, to Stanley and Rosalia (Krzciok) Smalec. He lived his whole life in Michigan. After leaving Detroit in his youth, Ken spent time over the years living in Battle Creek, Caro, Chesaning, and St. Charles. During his years in Chesaning, Ken worked at the Junction of Hope Restaurant and participated in classes at Community Ties South. Participation in the Special Olympics was huge in Ken’s younger years. As a member of the Michigan Special Olympics poly hockey team, Ken and his team won the coveted gold medal.
Ken had a love and passion for music. He was truly the entertainer of the family. His favorite instruments were the guitar and the harmonica. He loved to play for friends and family. He was also an accomplished singer and dancer. He never shied away from taking the floor to perform at family weddings, parties, and reunions. His idol was Elvis Presley and there wasn’t an Elvis song, dance move or the famous Elvis hip shake that he couldn’t do. Later in life, Ken became a fan of Michael Jackson and did a great job with the Jackson hit, “Beat It”.
Ken was best known for his love of Superman and the Power Rangers. The Superman logo could be found on almost every piece of clothing in Ken’s closet. Superman was on his shirts, pajamas, socks, hats, pants, sweatshirts, and even his underwear. As for the Power Rangers, Ken was never without his Power Rangers ring.
Holidays with the family were very, very important to Ken. The year always started out with the celebration of Easter. There was always ham, horseradish and a hard-boiled egg to crack on Patty-sister’s head. Next followed the 4th of July and fireworks, which was really the prelude to the celebration of Ken’s birthday on the 23rd of July. Ken made sure that everyone knew his birthday was coming and they were invited to his party. There was only a nominal $5. charge to get into the event. Next up was the Cousins’ party in August where Ken excelled in the egg toss and water balloon throw. Thanksgiving came and Ken made sure there was ample pumpkin pie and “hakeem” (ice cream) for everyone. Then there was Christmas, top of the list of Ken’s special holidays. Each year Santa brought him a new watch, word search books, calendars, new shoes, shirts and jeans, and always a radio/tape player. Each and every Christmas at the end of the day, Ken filled his black Christmas-to-go bag and with a smile and a big thank you to all, it was home to see “the boys”.
Ken was preceded in death by his father, Stan Smalec, in 1959; his mother, Rosalia Smalec Sekan, in 2006; his stepfather, Steve Sekan, in 1995; and a nephew, Scott Smalec, in 1985.
Left to mourn Ken are his brothers, Stan (Dianne) Smalec of Northville, MI and Phil (Ann McCool) of Santa Monica, CA; his sister, Pat (Ralph) Henige of Chesaning, MI; a niece, Jodi Smalec of Palm Desert, CA; nephews, Ryan (Suzi) Henige of Martinez, CA and Adam (Sarah) Henige of Grand Rapids, MI; his aunt, Joyce Geweniger of Chesaning, MI; special cousins, Gail and Joe Goidosik and Diane and Ed Slumka; and other loving family and friends.
Charitable donations may be given in memory of Ken to the Chesaning Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Please sign the online guestbook or share your condolences at misiukfuneralhome.com.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Misiuk Funeral Home, 202 South Front Street, Chesaning.
Charitable donations may be made to:
Chesaning Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (Activity Fund)
201 South Front Street, Chesaning MI 48616