Herbert W. Kenz obituary

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Photo of Herbert W. Kenz.

Herbert W. Kenz

Herbert W. Kenz, a retired associate director of student financial aid and scholarships at Western Michigan University and longtime member of the military, died Sept. 17. He was 87.

Kenz, of Kalamazoo, spent 30 years in education, first in the public schools and then as a WMU staff member. He also spent a total of 42 years in the Army and Army Reserves.

Among his surviving six children is Kristin "Kris" Kenz Locke, who works in the University's Division of Student Affairs.

Civilian career

Kenz came to WMU and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships in 1965 as the director of student loans. He retired as associate director of the office in 1988 after 23 years of service.

During his tenure as associate director, Kenz was responsible for all federal, state and University financial-aid programs, including those associated with loans, grants, scholarships and Work-Study.

He was promoted to assistant director of the financial aid and scholarships office in 1968 and elevated to associate director of the office one decade later. He also served as acting director of his office in 1984.

Kenz began his civilian career in the Harper Woods school system. He taught social studies from 1958 to 1962, then served as counselor from 1962 to 1965. While working full time at WMU, he kept his teaching skills sharp by also working for more than 11 years in the Kalamazoo Public Schools adult education program as a government and economics teacher.

A graduate of Sault Ste. Marie High School, Kenz attended the Michigan College of Mining and Technology from 1948 to 1950, and earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education from WMU in 1952 as well as a master's degree from the University of Michigan in 1963.

Military career

Chief Warrant Officer Four Kenz retired from the Army Reserves in 1988. He began his military career as a member of the WMU ROTC Program's Bronco Battalion. In 1952, he was among the second group of cadets to ever be commissioned through the program.

Kenz was an enlisted soldier in the occupation forces in Japan from 1946 to 1948 and in the U.S. Army Reserve in the Infantry Branch from 1948 to 1950. He accepted a Regular Army commission as a quartermaster officer in 1952 and subsequently served 19 months in Korea with the 8th Army Artillery.

After resigning his Regular Army commission in 1956, Kenz re-entered the Active Reserve. He received his Warrant in 1965 and from then until 1988, he was a member of the Army Reserves.

During his four-decade military career, he earned numerous service and commendation medals and other honors. Full details about that military career are included in an article posted at wmich.edu/rotc/kenz.

In 2008, daughter Kris established a scholarship in honor of Kenz. The Herbert W. Kenz Army ROTC Cadet Scholarship is now fully endowed thanks to donations from family members and WMU ROTC program alumni and friends, but gifts are still being accepted.


A memorial mass will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 19, in St. Augustine Cathedral, 542 W. Michigan Ave. in Kalamazoo.

A celebration of life luncheon will follow on the WMU campus in the Drew Russell Drill Hall in the Activity Therapy Building (WMU ROTC building), which is located off of Oakland Drive behind the College of Health and Human Services building.

Those planning to attend the luncheon are asked to park in WMU lots 103 and 104, not on property occupied by the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. Campus maps and directions are available at http://maps.pp.wmich.edu.


In addition to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, memorial gifts may be made to the WMU Foundation and earmarked for either the Kenz Financial Aid Conference Room in the Faunce Student Services Building or the Kenz Army ROTC Cadet Scholarship.

The family obituary and message book is available at langelands.com. Messages also may be left at obits.mlive.com/obituaries/kalamazoo.