Kenneth James Kraft

CHASSELL – Kenneth James Kraft, 83, of Pike River Road, Chassell, died Sunday, January 12, at home. Ken was a kind, generous person who quietly made a big impression on many people. He was independent and self-sufficient and continued to care for himself, his dog, and his chickens until his death.

Ken was born in Dows, Iowa, in the same farmhouse where his mother and his mother’s 11 brothers and sisters were born. His parents were the late Raymond Kraft and Florence (Kraft) Baker.

He taught, conducted research, and mentored graduate students at Michigan Technological University for 34 years in the biology and forestry departments. His specialty was entomology; people were always bringing him insects, which he did his best to identify. Ken loved the land and did much to educate himself and others about ecology and sustainable living.

Ken’s interests included the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (KUUF), reading, crossword puzzles, genealogy, birding, gardening, photography, swimming and water polo, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, and visiting national parks, historic sites, and museums.

Ken was preceded in death by his wife of 41 years, Elisabeth “Susie” Lines Kraft. He is survived by his brother, Keith Kraft; daughters, Jennifer Turner and Karen Miller; granddaughter, Jessica Turner; grandsons, Alexander and Andrew Miller; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A memorial service is planned for the summer.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to KUUF, P.O. Box 276, Houghton, MI 49931.

The O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home in Hancock is in charge of the arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to