John Henry Kersten of Soldotna died at home Sunday, Jan. 11, 2004, of pancreatic cancer with his loved ones around him. He was 64.
A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Kenai Senior Citizens Center.
Mr. Kersten was born Feb. 26, 1939, in Kalamazoo, Mich., to Herman and Helen Kersten. He spent his childhood in Kalamazoo and moved with his family to Tampa, Fla., in his mid teens. He lived there until he joined the U.S. Army in 1962. He spent his military time in Colorado Springs, Colo., and returned to Kalamazoo upon completion of his duty.
Mr. Kersten first came to Alaska in the early 1970s with his family to work for the summer. He stayed longer each year until he decided that Alaska was where he wanted to live. He moved to Soldotna and became a drywall contractor. He became a general contractor and built several homes in the area. He later returned to the drywall trade and did business in the area until retiring in 2001.
"John lived a full and happy life, surrounded by friends and family. Always smiling, his good nature and sense of humor kept us all smiling and laughing right along with him. He enjoyed the outdoors and spent a great deal of time fishing, hunting and boating. His many travels have taken him as far as Australia as well as to many destinations within the United States. He has touched the lives of many people during his life with his generosity and consideration of others," his family said.
Mr. Kersten was preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Helen Kersten; his brother, Bill Kersten' and his son, Dwayne Kersten.
He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Nina Kersten of Soldotna; brother, Ed Kersten of Kalamazoo; sisters, Mary Jo Bos of Kalamazoo and Linda Green of Tampa; son, Sherman of Kalamazoo; daughters, Wendy Gruber of Farmington, Minn., and Candy Stenger of Lincoln, Neb.; grandchildren, Jason and Keisha Kersten of Kalamazoo, Kalista and Christine Kersten of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Kyle Clark and Cadance Stenger of Lincoln.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 2165, Kenai, AK 99611.
Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.
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