Roy A. Ness
ESCANABA – Roy Arthur Ness, 93, went home to the Lord on Aug. 26, 2013, at his residence with family around him. His wish was to be at home. He was born in Daggett, Mich., on Feb. 20, 1920, to Matilda (Thoney) and Julius P. Ness. He was so tiny that they put him in a shoe box on the oven door to keep him warm. When Roy was 4 years old, his family moved to Escanaba to find work. His dad was a plasterer and a mason. Because of the bad Depression, they constantly moved to stay working – living in cities in Wisconsin and Illinois. At age 10, his uncle in Everett, Wash., sent money for the family to move to Washington to work in the woods.
At age 15, the family moved back to Escanaba. They remodeled an old hearse into what Roy always said was the first “motor home” to hold their entire family while they traveled. He graduated from Escanaba High School in 1938. Roy was a member of the National Honor Society.
In 1942, he enlisted in the US Coast Guard, serving for 38 months during World War II. He returned to Escanaba and married Lola Evelyn Norman in 1945. Beginning in 1946, Roy worked with two of his brothers as Ness Brothers doing masonry work and plastering. The brothers moved on and in 1960, Roy continued in the construction business as Roy Ness Contracting. He moved into commercial construction with Varco Pruden Metal buildings in 1968. Roy will be remembered for his genuine caring for his customers and his employees. His sons and daughter continue in the family business today. Roy was a longtime member of Central United Methodist Church, always keeping God as a priority. No matter how busy he was – he always took time for everyone. Captain Roy will be fondly remembered by friends at the Escanaba Harbor for his love of boating and the boat he built, the Perseverance.
An interesting note is that Roy’s first cousin, John Hebert, was born 10 days before Roy and they had a life- long rivalry of teasing about who was older every February. John just preceded Roy in death Aug. 3 of this year (23 days ago), so Roy ends up being 13 days older than John for all eternity. (Who got the last laugh?).
Roy is survived by his wife of 67 years, Lola (Norman) Ness; son, Jerry Ness (Faye Royer) of Rapid River; daughter, Pat (Allan Waeghe) of Gladstone; son, Dennis Ness (Connie Snyder) Gladstone; and son, Richard Ness (Melissa Bonifas), Escanaba. Also surviving are grandchildren: Carolyn (Glen Taylor) Escanaba, Nadine Waeghe of California, Nicole Ness-Knuff of Rochester Hills, Mich., Cory Ness (Tabatha) of Washington, Mich., Shane Waeghe (Charlene) of Richfield, Wis., twins Richard Ness Jr. of Yukon in Canada and Randy Ness of Madison, Wis., Krysta Ness of Rapid River, Kevin Warm (Krista) of Escanaba, Sara Ness of Taiwan, Carol (Dan Kietzman) of Kentwood, Mich., Mindy Heitz of Escanaba, and great-grandchildren: Samuel, Lindsey and Grace Taylor, Cory Michael and twins Cody and Carley Ness, Ty and Devyn Waeghe, Madison Keitzman, Julia Knuff, Karl and Kaleb Warm. Also special honorary “granddaughters” April (Mark Leadman) and sons Justin and Corey of Marquette, Mich., and Hailey Bedard and many nieces and nephews.
Roy was preceded in death by his parents; an infant son, Timothy Mark Ness; and his brothers, Al Ness, Lester Ness, Earl Ness and Donald Ness.
Visitation will be on Thursday, Aug. 29, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Crawford Funeral Home in Escanaba. The Delta County Veterans Council will have military rites at 5 p.m. The funeral service will follow at 6 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church with Rev. Christine Bergquist officiating. A luncheon will follow in the church fellowship hall.
Burial will be in Lakeview Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests consideration to the Roy A. Ness Memorial Fund at Central United Methodist Church or to the Roy A. Ness Nursing Scholarship Fund at Bay de Noc Community College. Envelopes will be available at the Crawford Funeral Home.