Kenneth G. Godfrey

MARQUETTE, MI – Kenneth G. Godfrey, 64, of Marquette, passed away Wednesday evening, April 17, 2013, at Marquette General Hospital after a long battle with graft versus host disease as a result of a bone marrow transplant.

Ken was born on April 10, 1949, in Melrose Park, Illinois, a son of the late Gilbert and Shirley (Patton) Godfrey. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Social science from Illinois State University in 1971 and a master’s degree in Recreation from NMU in 1984. Prior to his time at Northern, he was a junior high teacher, coach and school administrator in Maywood, Illinois.

Ken spent over 32 years working at Northern Michigan University. He started as a graduate assistant in 1978 and was the Special Assistant to the President/ Athletic Director through May of 2011. He was hired as the Director of Athletics in June of 2003. The Superior Dome, Vandament Arena and Berry Events Center all opened during Godfrey’s tenure and his leadership and oversight of the facilities developed them into some of the best facilities in NCAA Division II. He served on the GLIAC Executive Committee and was Chair of the CCHA Executive Committee. Ken was also a member of the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association, Marquette Kiwanis Club, Lake Superior Community Partnership board of directors and Recreational Tourism Commission. Ken spent many joyous times at The Birches; which is a family owned and operated resort in Springstead, Wisconsin. The resort has been in his family for over 60 years. He enjoyed working at the resort as often as he could.

Ken greatly enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and attending NMU athletic events. He also enjoyed visiting with fans and alumni of the university.

He is survived by his wife, Kathie J. Godfrey of Marquette; four children, Kenneth M. (Elizabeth) Godfrey of Marquette, Keith Godfrey of Springstead, WI, Kristine (Christopher) Rempala of Appleton, WI and Kimberly Godfrey (Matt Franti) of Marquette; four grandchildren, Kailey, Lauren and Tyler Godfrey, and Cody Rempala; one brother, Howard G. Godfrey of LaGrange Park, IL; also several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation will be held at Messiah Lutheran Church on Tuesday, April 23rd from 12 noon to 2 p.m. where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. in the church with the Rev. David Van Kley officiating.

Those wishing to make an expression of sympathy are kindly asked to consider the NMU Foundation, Shirley Godfrey Memorial Scholarship, 1401 Presque Isle Ave., Marquette, MI 49855.

The Canale-Tonella Funeral Home is assisting the family. Memories of Ken may be shared at