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Joseph Veselenak

Joseph Veselenak

1936 - 2023

Joseph Henry Veselenak, age 87, passed away peacefully at home on June 8, 2023.

He attended Flint schools including Flint Northern High School where he played football and graduated in 1954. Joe attended Eastern Michigan University where he played football for three seasons before graduating with a teaching degree. He later earned a master’s degree from University of Michigan.

Joseph served in the U.S. Army for three years stationed in South Korea and stateside. He will be posthumously awarded the Korea Defense Service Medal. He taught in Flint for several years where he met his wife Jean Dring, they were married on June 12, 1965 at St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church in Flint.

They moved to Rogers City where he taught physical education and social studies at the junior high and high school from 1966 until retiring in 1994. He served as head football coach and was an assistant coach for many years at Rogers City High School. As the head coach, he led the Hurons to two undefeated seasons in 1970 and 1971. Coach Joe, as players, parents and members of the community affectionately called him, also was a volunteer assistant football coach at Posen High School.

He loved U of M football and the Detroit Red Wings.  He was an amateur archaeologist and loved to collect historical items. He loved playing with, teaching, coaching and cheering on all 6 grandchildren.

Joe is survived by his wife, Jean; three children, Joseph Veselenak of Belding, Aaron Veselenak of Ocqueoc and Mary (Benjamin Zavala) Veselenak of Rogers City; six grandchildren, Gavin Veselenak, Amelia and Arlo Pritchard, Amelie, Maximus and Cristian Zavala; and one sister, Ann Holzwarth of Flushing, and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Stephen and Anna; siblings, Mary Donaldson, Stephen (Phylis) Veselenak and John (Martha) Veselenak; nephews Douglas Veselenak and Mark Donaldson; and his beloved dog Emmy.

Friends may visit at St. Ignatius Catholic Church on Saturday, June 17th from 9 a.m. through time of his memorial Mass at 10 a.m. with Fr. James Siler officiating. Rogers City VFW Post 607 will offer a military tribute in church immediately following Mass. Everyone is then invited to the St. Ignatius School Gym for a celebration of life and a meal to commemorate Joe’s life.

Memorial donations may be given to Liberty’s Dream Animal Rescue, 3115 Morrill Rd. Rogers City, Michigan 49779.  A 501 c3 organization.

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Joseph Veselenak – Beck Funeral Home – Rogers City, MI