At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Friends of Veterans Homes
P.O. Box 805
Grandville, MI 49468
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Paul Kurlenda would agree that he was one of the kindest people you could ever meet. He could be stubborn, but only when it came to the people and things he was passionate about. Paul was deeply devoted to his loved ones, and there was nothing he loved more than being surrounded by their love. Often seen with a cigar in his mouth, he served the Kosciuscko Hall in countless ways over the years as he was the sort of person who would give the shirt off his back if it would help someone else. Paul will be deeply missed, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
With the end of WWII in 1945, America was in a time of transition as we went from being a nation at war to a nation at peace once again. Rationing on common goods had become a thing of the past, and with the return of countless servicemen and women the baby boom was underway. Amidst this eventful time was a time of great joy in the lives of Edward Stanley and Rose Jacqueline (Mondry) Kurlenda as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Paul Edward on November 4, 1948, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The oldest of six, Paul was raised in the family home on Pulaski Street during his earliest years alongside his siblings, Sandra, Sheryl, Steven, Laura, and Janice. They later moved to a home on Fourth Street, but the majority of his childhood was spent in the family home on Valley Avenue, NW. Paul’s father worked as an electrician while his mother was a parapro and homemaker.
From the time he was a young boy Paul was a bustle of activity. He loved hunting rabbits and pheasants as a teen and was a Boy Scout. Paul and his family attended Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church where he was baptized, received his 1st Holy Communion, confirmation, and was married.
Paul attended Sacred Heart of Jesus Elementary School and then graduated from Union School in 1966. After high school Paul joined the United States Marine Corps, serving for four years. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, working as a supply clerk. He earned the rank of sergeant before being honorably discharged.
Throughout his life Paul was known for his hard work within his community. He started off working at a grocer near his home called Parkside Shoprite. Paul eventually became a butcher there and remained there for several years. He also was the bookkeeper at Sacred Heart Church for many years. Also within his community Paul joined Kosciuscko Hall and became very actively involved in every event they had. He tended bar there, was involved in the Pulaski Day Committee Advisory Council, was president for a time, bar manager, and served in many other capacities as well. Paul was always seen with one of his cigars in his mouth, and loved both a cold Heineken and a shot of Jack Daniels. He was a talented pool player and was known as "Willi Monconi II", teaching his brother Steve finer points, and teaching him how to take the table.
New and exciting changes were in store for Paul when he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Christine Klocko, and they knew one another from Sacred Heart School and Church. They also worked together at Parkside. They began dating in 1992 and married three years later on September 30, 1995, at Sacred Heart Church. The newlyweds then enjoyed a large reception in the church basement and a honeymoon on a tall sailing ship in the Caribbean. They made their home on Butterworth Avenue for a short time but later moved to a home on Scram Lake in Rockford. Two years ago Paul and Christine moved to Oaks of Rockford.
Over the years Paul was a man of many interests who was always on the move. He bowled on Jackson Street Hall Bowling league and also on a couple other leagues, sometimes bowling three nights a week. Paul organized several bus trips to see the Detroit Lions and Tigers for the club, and he was also a longtime active member of the Catholic War Veterans and the American Legion. For several years he and Chris volunteered at God’s Kitchen, and they also volunteered at Bay Cliff Children’s Camp.He and Chris loved visiting the UP, and in time they saw nearly every inch of it. Paul always chose to take the back roads. They also visited many of the casinos throughout Michigan. Paul loved all the classic television shows as well as many of the crime dramas on television. He was an avid collector with impressive collections of coins, stamps, vintage liquor decanters, polka albums, beer signs, and wine glasses. Although Paul left the cooking up to Chris, he love to grill on the weekends. He also enjoyed throwing people in the pool at his famous pool parties.
Later in life Paul had several health issues to deal with. In 2000, he suffered a major aneurysm and quickly recovered from that. While Chris battled with her own health problems, Paul was always there to care for her. For the past couple of years, Paul suffered from kidney and prostate problems, which led to other health issues. He was hospitalized for the last couple of weeks and was put under the care of Faith Hospice until he drew his last breath.
Hardworking, trustworthy, and fair, Paul Kurlenda made a significant impact in the lives of so many within his community. He made the most of every day he was given, and he was so thrilled to spend so many years with the love of his life. Paul was so dedicated to his family and the club he loved, he had a heart that was as big as they come. He will never be forgotten.
Paul Edward Kurlenda, aged 70, of Grand Rapids and Rockford, passed away at Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital on Saturday, May 4, 2019. He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Christine Kurlenda (Klocko); his sisters and brother, Sandra (Frank) Drury, Sheryl Spoelstra, Steve (Annie) Kurlenda, Laura (Jerry) Ross, Janice Kurlenda; his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; Fran (Rick) Hargreaves, Joe (Bonnie) Klocko, Mary Hoorn, Stan (Betsy) Klocko, Leon (Sherry) Klocko, Tony (Amy) Klocko, John (Lisa) Klocko, Julie (Jim) Day; many nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Rose Kurlenda. Paul proudly served his country in the US. Marines during the Viet Nam War. He was a member of American Legion Furniture City Post #258, Catholic War veterans Post #1500, and was Past President of Sacred Heart Club (Kosciuscko Hall). The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, May 10, at 11:00 am at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 156 Valley Ave. NW. Burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet his family on Thursday from 2:00 – 4:00 and 6:00 – 8:00 pm (scripture service at 7:00 pm) at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, and again at the church on Friday from 10:00 am until the Mass begins at 11:00 am. Contributions in his memory may be made to friends of Grand Rapids Veterans Homes. To read more about Paul’s life, to sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com.