Joseph Leo Kolbus

MUNISING, MI. – Joseph Leo Kolbus, age 87, lifelong Munising resident, joined his wife Phyllis in their heavenly home on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at the Marquette County Medical Care Facility with his family by his side. He had been in ill health for the past year.

Joe was born in Munising on November 1, 1926 to Polish immigrants Joseph and Apollonia “Pauline” (Galus) Kolbusz and attended Munising area schools. He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Joe served in the Merchant Marines, sailing aboard the William Cox from November 26, 1944 until his honorable discharge on February 11, 1947.

Joe and Phyllis Louis were married on June 26, 1948 in Munising.

Joe began his career with Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Munising Mill on August 17, 1951 as a broke handler in the Beater Room. He worked various jobs and moved to the Finishing Room as a stock mover. Joe retired from the Finishing Room as a trimmer operator on May 1, 1987. He owned and maintained one of the area’s most majestic tourist attractions – Munising Falls – until its accession into the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Park in the early 1970’s.

Joe was a longtime member of the Polish American Society of Northern Michigan and a member of the American Legion.

A kind and generous man, Joe could be found always helping a friend or relative with a project.

He enjoyed rebuilding classic cars, adventurous rides through Upper Michigan’s many back roads, and in later years, trips to the casino.

Joe was a man of strong faith and work ethic, passing these on to his children.

Joe is survived by his son Mike (Becky) Kolbus, Sr. of Munising, daughter Kerry (Rick) Mohr of Marquette, special friend Pat Seglund of Munising, brother Walter (Katherine) Kolbus, sisters Julia (Thurman) Stevenson and Stella Graves all of Munising and Cecelia Walkiewicz of Chesterfield, MI, grandchildren Deidre (Eric) Phillipson, Derek Kolbus, Kyle Mohr, Jordan Mohr, Melinda (Mike) Savola, Melissa Strand, Maria Strand, great grandchildren Michael III, Blake, Nadia, Eli, Maddy, and Trey and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Joe was predeceased by his parents, wife Phyllis on February 18, 1986, brothers John and Stanley, sisters Mary Blondeau, Rose Poppa, and Ann Wise, grandson Michael Kolbus, Jr., great-granddaughters Sara and Tessa Kolbus and special friend Dorothy Colburn.

Joe’s family would like to express their sincere appreciation to Dr. Catherine Kroll and the staff of the Marquette County Medical Care Facility for the kind and compassionate care provided Joe this past year; 400 Wing staff, we love you!

The family suggests donations in Joe’s memory be made to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 99, Munising, MI 49862; the Marquette County Medical Care Facility Activity Fund, 200 Saginaw Street, Ishpeming, MI 49849, the Alger County Historical Society, 1496 Washington St., Munising, MI 49862, or another charity of your choice.

Visitation will be on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at the Bowerman Funeral Home from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. with a parish vigil service beginning at 7:00 p.m. Father Ben Paris will conduct Joe’s funeral Mass on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Church in Munising.

Joe’s obituary and guestbook may be viewed and signed at

Idz z Bogiem, Joe! [Go with God, Joe]