Carl LaVanway Jr.

Carl E. LaVanway, Jr., 85, of Bridgman, passed away on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at Lakeland Regional Medical Center with his family by his side.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 1 P.M. on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at Starks and Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, St. Joseph. Visitation will be held from 5-7 P.M. on Friday, January 27, 2017 also at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Lest We Forget. Online condolences may be made at

Carl was born on January 30, 1931 to the late Carl, Sr. and Ann LaVanway. He was a football star at Coloma Schools, his team went 11-1. Carl joined the United States Army where he was a Sergeant in the Artillery. He served in the Korean War and received three combat metals and was a member of the Chosen Few. After the Korean War, Carl married Donna Richardson on May 16, 1953. He worked for ideal plumbing for over 16 years and then became a Journeyman Pipefitter. Carl started off working on Cook Nuclear Plant and then traveled all over the country with his wife Donna. He was very active with all three of his sons in Boy Scouts, going hunting, camping, fishing and several other activities. Carl loved spending time with his family, almost every weekend they would go visit a relative and always played cards. He and Donna enjoyed square dancing. Carl was one of the founders for the Korean Lest We Forget. He helped build the parade float that is still used today. He also built hundreds of flag holders for the veterans and several flag displays. Carl was involved with the placing of the Korean Monument on the bluff in St. Joseph. He was a selfless man and volunteered his pipe fitting and plumbing talents for several churches and other projects in the community.

Carl is survived by his wife of 63 years, Donna; children, James (Vonnie) LaVanway, Sandra (Richard) Wiley, Gary LaVanway, Randy LaVanway and Carla (Dennis) Ricketts; grandchildren, Valarie (Ryan) Schebel, Jacob (Julie) LaVanway, Jason (Nikki) Wiley, Tracy (Delbert) Denkins, Justin LaVanway, Kristi LaVanway, Melissa (Rob) Kennedy, Jessica LaVanway, Jamie (Aaron) Tessaro and Joshua Ricketts; seventeen great grandchildren and sister, Cathy Lewis. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, John and sisters, Melva Jean, Ethel and Eileen.