By Kenneth John Zill
I was born June 11, 1930 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
My father was a butcher at the time, in fact, he is still pursuing that trade. My mother was a teacher who gave up her occupation to rear a family. I am third in a family of four boys. My brother Edwin was born in 1925, Marcus in 1927 and
Richard in 1934.
I first went to school in the Ann Arbor Public Schools when I was five years old. I was enrolled in Mack Elementary School. After
completing the sixth grade I was promoted to Slauson Junior High School. My first venture in business was between the ages of 11 and 14 while I was delivering papers for the Ann Arbor News. Ann Arbor Senior High School followed. In my three
years at high school I participated in football as offensive end and defensive tackle and as a center in basketball and once in awhile in dramatics.
time in senior high school I was employed at a grocery store after school hours to help defray school expenses. After graduation I went to work full time for a year in order to get enough money to attend college.
I have attended St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, (Missouri Synod), all my life. I was confirmed in 1944. I was an active member in the Junior and Senior Walther Leagues. I played softball on our church team for five years at catcher’s
In the fall of 1949 I enrolled at Michigan State Normal College, where I am still a student. I took a year of Business Administration and was
a member of the Freshman Football Team. I supplemented my income then, as I do now, by working at Clague’s Grocery in Ann Arbor. This part time work included weekends, holidays and summers.
Then the Korean War broke out and the draft was started again. In January 1951 I was inducted by Draft Board 85, Ann Arbor and sent to Fort Sheridan, Illinois. From there I went to receive basic training with the 45th Infantry Division
at Camp Polk, Louisiana. After four months of intensive basic training I was given a twenty day furlough. Upon completion of this furlough I reported to Camp Stoneman, California for shipment overseas. After fourteen days on the bounding
main we arrived in Otaru, Japan. There I was stationed near a village called Chitose for about six months. There I received intensive combat infantry training, most of it spent in the mountains of Hokkaido.
In December of 1951 our division was alerted for duty in Korea. We were to relieve the battle weary 1st Cavalry Division. We arrived on the front December 16, 1951 on a bitter cold night. We were assigned to the Chorwon sector,
which was in central Korea about 20 miles north of the 38th parallel. After spending nine months in Korea we were sent back to the rear in August 1952 to sail home. We left Inchon, Korea on a ferry and transferred to a troop carrier
at Sasebo Japan. We passed under the Golden Gate Bridge on September 9th, 1952.
After a quick plane trip across the nation we arrived at Fort
Custer, Michigan and were given 30 day passes. I arrived home with the rank of corporal wearing the Combat Infantry Badge, Korean Service Ribbon, with two Battle Stars, U.N. Medal, Japanese Occupation, Rhee Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation and the
Upon being released from active duty in October, 1952, I returned to work at the grocery store where I was formerly employed. In January 1953
I re-enrolled at Michigan State Normal College to pursue my education under the G.I. Bill. I was taking mainly mathematics and chemistry with maybe an eye toward future engineering. But teaching appeared more what I wanted, where I could study
math and chemistry and teach to others the subjects I liked.
In the summer of 1953 on June 20, I was married to Rosalie Nash, who had just graduated from Michigan
State College. She is now employed by the Ann Arbor Public School system to teach fourth grade at the Otto W. Haisely School in Ann Arbor.
As far as family
education, my father completed the sixth grade and my mother was graduated from Normal College in North Dakota. My eldest brother is now attending the University of Michigan part time. He works for Argus Cameras, Incorporated. They are financing
his study of math. The second oldest brother is a Lutheran minister in South Sioux City, Nebraska. He completed six years of college. My younger brother is in the United States Air Force stationed near Tokyo, Japan. He is an Airman,
First Class, a radar specialist. He was enrolled at Michigan State Normal College before entering the service.
My main interests are spectator sports.
I own a boat and enjoy fishing often. A light reader, I enjoy reading novels, and light humorous articles. I like to travel. I’ve been in every state east of the Mississippi, excluding New England. I’ve traveled in Texas,
Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Wyoming, South Dakota and California. I’ve also traveled to Canada and Japan.
One of the most
memorable and happy days of my life was when I was discharged. I was eager to plan my career, settle down and get married.
Today I am a young man of twenty
five, a veteran, with nearly three and a half years of college behind me. My wife and I are active in our church, members of the Young Married’s Club. I have been treasurer of the Sunday School since early 1954. Together we are working
to plan and provide a happy, secure future for the large family we expect to raise, with God’s help.
Continued Biography of Kenneth John Zill
Ken and Rosalie had two children; Kenneth John
(Kip) Zill II born in 1956 and Mary Elizabeth (Liz) Zill born in 1959.
Ken’s employment history after college was:
Jackson Public Schools 1956-57
General Electric 1957-1959 (Syracuse, NY)
The Bendix Corporation
Dynapath Systems Inc 1984-1986
Horiba Instruments Inc 1986-1988
He also taught computer programming at Henry Ford Community College and Washtenaw Community College.
He died on 4/14/1991 of congestive heart
failure. Rosalie followed him in death on 4/14/2011. Twenty years to the day (possibly the hour). I was told she died with her hands folded and a smile on her face. I like to think that she smiled the moment she was reunited with
her sweetheart Kenny once again.
Kip resides in CT with his wife, Vika, and their two children; Alexander and Anna Marie.
Liz and her husband, Loren, live in WA. They have two children, Alissa who also lives in WA with her husband,
Jason and their son Thomas John. Ken resides in WA with his wife, Alex.