BLAND, ALFRED THOMAS, age 94, of Mt. Pleasant, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday, November 13, 2020 at Woodland Hospice.
Funeral Services for Al will take place at Clark Family Funeral Chapel on Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 11 a.m. with Rev. Jonathon Bakker officiating. Interment will immediately follow in Riverside Cemetery, Mt. Pleasant. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, November 18, from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. and one hour prior to the funeral services on Thursday. Memorial contributions may be made to Humane Animal Treatment Society or Woodland Hospice. Envelopes will be available at the funeral chapel.
You may watch a live stream of the service by clicking the "Watch Webcast" icon below or by visiting the funeral chapel Facebook page at www.facebook.com/clarkfuneralchapel at the time of the service.
Al was born August 1, 1926, in South Haven, the son of Frederick and Marion (Ludwig) Bland. Al left high school early to join the war effort. He served in the United States Army Air Corp and Reserves as an airplane mechanic in WWII, primarily in Kokura, Japan. He married Jean Van Erkel on May 18, 1944. After the war, he returned to South Haven and worked as an automobile mechanic. Jean preceded him in death on May 13, 2009. Al joined the Michigan State Police (MSP) in 1956 and served 33 years until his retirement in 1989. He was stationed at Houghton Lake, Battle Creek, serving his last 23 years in Mt. Pleasant as a Sergeant. He declined a promotion as Lieutenant, to remain in Mt. Pleasant. Dedication to his profession was paramount, never having a sick day in the 33 years with MSP. While serving in the MSP, he received numerous service awards in marksmanship and continuing education. He was a member of the MSP 6th District Pistol Team and the MSP Underwater Recovery Team. Even after retirement, his commitment and dedication continued. Because of his patriotism and love for his country, he was honored to be invited as the Grand Marshall in the 2019 Memorial Day parade. Another passion of his was donating to numerous organizations, including animal rescue funds, Shriners Hospital for Children, and Veterans organizations.
His interest and love of airplanes led to attaining his pilot’s license and having his own airplane. He loved flying and taking anyone for a ride.
After retirement, he fulfilled a life-long goal of building and owning his auto repair and sales business, A and J Sales and Service. The business closed in 2019 after 23 years. His strong work ethic and duty to serve and defend supported him through his life challenges.
Al enjoyed going to work, car auctions, going to coffee with friends Morris Vincent and Gene Bridget, and loved his dog Jersey and cat Runt. He was an avid swimmer and was still swimming and diving in his pool this past summer.
Al is survived by his children: Candy Drake of Inverness, FL, Jonn (Bernadette) Bland of Mt. Pleasant, Julie Bland of Seneca, SC; grandchildren: Todd Weever of the Philippines, and daughter Jade, and great-great grandchildren; AJ Weever of Louisiana, his children Jonathan and Elainie; Jonn (Jennifer) Bland II, of Shepherd, Michigan, and their children, Violet, Tripp, and Nellie; and Fredric (Ashley) Bland of Lake Isabella, Michigan, and their children, Conley and Hendric. Al is also survived by sister Jeanne Crouch of Kalamazoo, Michigan; half-sister Janice Monski of Birmingham, Alabama; and caring neighbors, Dellamae Mitchell and Vicki Jurka.
Al was preceded in death by his parents, Marion and Constantine (Gus) Demos, and Frederick and Elizabeth “Betty” Bland, his wife Jean (Van Erkel) Bland in 2009, and son-in-law Skip Drake in 2017.
The family extends gratitude to the staff at Woodland Hospice for their compassion for and care of our father, grandfather, and grandpa grandpa.