ESCANABA - Elmer "Al" S. Belanger, 86, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his wife and all of his children and many of his grandchildren on Thursday, June 7, 2012.
He was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Jan. 25, 1926, the son of Sinai and Sylvia (Amore) Belanger, who preceded him in death. Also preceding him in death were his sisters, Elaine McGillis and Joyce Barnhart; and brother, Chet Belanger.
Al graduated from St. Mary's Catholic High School in Flint, Mich. Following high school, he joined the Navy at age 17, during WWII and fought in the Pacific Theater. He served four years and was honorably discharged in 1946.
Elmer ‘Al’ S. Belanger
He married the former Ann Harris, who preceded him in death in 1961. He then married the former Donna Walker. They have been married 49 1/2 years and together raised their eight children.
Al was a former real estate broker and formed his own company, Allied Real Estate of Escanaba, retiring in 1986. He served as the president of the Michigan Association of Realtors and was also selected as Realtor of the Year.
Al was enshrined in the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He was inducted as a member of the 1942 Flint St. Mary's High football team.
Al spent summers and weekends at "Camp" on Stella Lake with his family. He was famous for saying, "Why travel anywhere else when we have the best sand beach in the world here?" He also enjoyed fishing, hunting and sailing. He was an avid Packer fan.
Al is survived by his wife, Donna, and eight children: Nancy (Dave) Kositzky, Chris (Tom) Leonard, Rick (Peggy) Belanger, Tammy (Bob) Vardigan, Roni (Jim) Beaudoin, Brad (Jodi Slaga) Belanger, Todd (Tammy Weissert) Belanger of Escanaba and Marla (Pete) Jazdzyk of Ravenna, Mich.
He is also survived by: 19 grandchildren, Cory (Bobbi) Kositzky, Kristen (Duane) Bourdeau, Dana Carlson, Stephanie(Jamie) McDonough, Kara (Andie) Bartoszek, Becky (Brad) Pamperin, Amy (Jamie) Dier, Cindy and Jennie Belanger, Nicki (Kevin) McGraw, Mandy Vardigan, Angie (Kevin) Puszczewicz, Danielle and Heather Beaudoin, Lauren and Nathan Belanger, Andy, Tessa and Madeline Jazdzyk; 19 great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be on Monday, June 11, beginning at 3 p.m. at the Crawford Funeral Home in Escanaba until the time of the funeral service at 6 p.m. at the funeral home with Rev. Eric Olson officiating. Elks Lodge 354 will have a memorial service at 5 p.m. Following the service, a meal will be served in the hall of St. Joseph and St. Patrick's Church.
Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.
The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the Belanger family.