April 23 12:17 PM
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Daughter of deceased community servant offers personal eulogy

Dear Editor,

People will wonder why there isn't an obituary in the paper about my father's death. To us an obituary is about the end of someone's life and as long as we remember that person and how he or she affected our lives are they truly gone? My father, John Kalt, 65 years old, left this world to be with the Lord on July 28. He passed away at St. Joseph Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan after spending time in a rehabilitation center. He will always be alive in all those who loved him and were touched by him.

Anyone who knew my father knew that he was passionate about three things in his life: his family, his community and cars. Dad was a Berkley High School graduate who worked for General Motors for 27 years before retiring in 1991 as a supervisor at the GM Tech Center in Warren.

My parents moved from Southfield to Almont in 1977. Here we were, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, moving to an area where you could see wide open fields and it actually got dark at night! I wondered how things were going to be for us out here but no sooner than we arrived in Almont, my dad was making friends. It wasn't long before he made friends with Larry Clouse and Jimmy LaHaie and from there it just grew.

Before long he met Dallas Hazzard and he got involved with him in tractor pulling. You see my father loved cars and here we were in the country, so why not tractor pulling, it seemed to fit him just fine. So off we went to the local fairs to go to tractor pulls. Winters seemed to bring more snow back then, so dad had to get a truck and a plow just to get us out of the driveway. Soon after that he was off helping those in need plowing driveways of many seniors in town. There used to be an elderly neighbor that lived just up the road from us and my father thought nothing of always making sure that they had a way to get out. And not just out of their driveway. You see the man needed to get to Van Dyke, so dad, being the man that he was, would make a path from his house all the way to Van Dyke (about 3/4 of a mile). He wanted to make sure that this man AND his neighbors could get to where they needed to go. Not many people would do that now.

My father served his community passionately on many levels, always putting the needs of the community and those around him above himself. He initially got involved in the Almont Summer Fests, and loved every minute of it. He took pride in knowing that the community got together and had a great time. He for many years also provided oil changes to the Almont Police Department at cost.

He became an Almont Lion and in time served as club president. He worked on obtaining land and was instrumental in the building of the Almont Lions Club hall. Many a fundraiser you'd see dad out there in his yellow vest trying to raise money to help others.

Dad was elected in 1999 to the Almont Township Board as a Trustee. Talk about serving his community, he genuinely loved that job. He wanted to make sure that his community was taken care of. He worked hard at that position and took pride in serving. When we lost the local EMS my dad worked hard on the committee to get a contract with the Lapeer EMS. When it was time for the township to contract with the village for police protection, dad was there to make sure that the people would get what was needed. When people would call him at home about a problem that they were having concerning a township problem he'd meet with them and try to get the problem resolved. You see people knew that they could count on my father to do something. He was a man of action and he enjoyed being so. His years of service brought many positive changes to the community. This included road improvements, tougher code enforcement, ensuring the community followed closely to the master plan developed from a community survey, improved police enforcement, improved relations between the Township and Village governments and the building of the new Township Fire hall. Even up until the end he was a fighter and that is something I will always remember.

Dad served on the Almont Park Board and saw to it the bid policy was followed to ensure that money was being utilized efficiently. Despite any criticism he knew that doing what was right was better than being popular.

Dad loved cars, especially classic cars. I grew up watching him restoring what I thought were pieces of rusty metal into award-winning show cars. Every year around this time, he'd get out the polishes and window cleaner and away he'd go getting ready for the Berkley Cruise. Mom and dad would take two cars every year since the original Woodward Cruise was initiated. Off they'd go taking pride in the cars he had restored. He loved the sounds and smells that those old classics would make. Cars were in his blood; it's how I will always remember dad. Be it in the garage working on the cars or watching NASCAR every Sunday, that was my dad and I greatly miss him.

How fitting it is that dad was laid to rest in Roselawn Cemetery where they line up the cars every year for the start of the Berkley parade. I'm sure that dad will be there looking around and enjoying the thrill of it all.

People talk about integrity and where have all the leaders gone, my father was a man of both and I will raise my son to be like my dad. If he achieves half of what my father was the world will be in better hands than it is now.

I can attest above all dad loved his family. He doted on his four grandchildren-Madeleine, Veronica, John Burns and Noah Dyke. He called his wife of 43 years Cathy his strength and love and was proud of daughters Cynthia (Tim) Dyke and Susanne Burns.

Nothing brought me greater joy than seeing the proud loving look my father displayed when seeing my son Noah for the first time. It is the memory of the love in his eyes when he was around all his grandchildren that I will always carry in my heart.

Cynthia Dyke, Almont
August 15, 2007

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