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John (Jack) F. Townsend

September 6, 1923 ~ September 16, 2018 (age 95)

John F. Townsend lifelong resident of Ontonagon passed away peacefully on September 16, 2018 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He spent the last few months at Omega House Hospice house in Houghton, MI.John (also known affectionately as Jack) was born in Ontonagon, Michigan on September 6, 1923 to Goodenough and Faybelle Townsend.

John attended local schools and graduated from Ontonagon Area High School in 1941. Shortly after hearing the nations call to arms to World War II in December 1941, he enlisted in the army as a clerk typist (TEC-4) with the 134th Ordinance Maintenance Battalion, 12th armored division.

Following his honorable military service, he enrolled in Ferris Institute (now Ferris State University) where he received an Associate degree in Architectural drafting. He worked in this profession for a few years in the Milwaukee, WI area where he then met the love of his life, Alpha Mae L Weber (affectionately known as ‘Al’). They were married on August 25, 1951 and were happily married for nearly 41 years.

John decided architectural drafting was no longer what he wanted to do and he and Alpha Mae moved to White Pine, Michigan where John got a job working first with the construction company building the new Copper Range Company copper mine. He then got a position working with Copper Range for which he worked 31 years until his retirement in 1985 when the mine closed.

John was a member of and involved in many organizations throughout his life. We as a long time member of the local VFW, Masonic Lodge (where he was an officer and received a lifetime mason award), a life member of the Ontonagon County Historical Society, and a lifetime member of the Episcopal Church until it’s closing (including a long time lay reader).

He worked on the Ontonagon County Historical Society lighthouse reservation project and provided lighthouse tours for many years. He was a long-time president of the Riverside Cemetery Association, a volunteer at the Ontonagon County Visitors Center, and a long-time volunteer for Little Brother’s charity. John had a kind heart and a willingness to help others.

John had a lifelong love of word working, model railroad trains, reading, genealogy, and crossword puzzles.

John is survived by his sons, Michael (Doris) Townsend and Peter (June) Townsend, by his grand-children Charles (Suzie) Townsend, PHD of Des Plaines, IL, Steven Townsend, Brandon Townsend, and Brittany Townsend of Minneapolis//St. Paul, Minnesota, and great-granddaughter Freya Townsend of Des Plaines, IL.

Preceded in death by his parents, his wife Alpha Mae, infant daughter Kathy, and brother George.

John wished to be cremated and will be laid to rest next to Alpha Mae at Riverside Cemetery in Ontonagon, MI.

Services will be held at Siloa Lutheran Church in Ontonagon on September 22, 2018. Visitation will be from 10:00-11:00am, followed by Veteran and Masonic services at Riverside Cemetery. Following the services a luncheon will be provided at the Siloa Lutheran Church in Ontonagon.

Donations in his honor can be made to the Ontonagon County Historical Society or the Ontonagon County Cancer Society

The Cane Funeral Home of Ontonagon is assisting the family with arrangements


Donations may be made to:

Ontonagon County Cancer Association
P O Box 282, Ontonagon MI 49953

Ontonagon County Historical Society
422 River Rd., Ontonagon MI 49953


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