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Gilbert's Story

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Gilbert Ziegler, 79, of Charlevoix passed away on Saturday, July 29, 2017 in Canton, Georgia surrounded by his family.
Mr. Ziegler is survived by his twin daughters, Wendy (Kenneth) Bridle and Kelly Ziegler; and eight grandchildren, Matthew, Hunter, Conner, Emily, Collin, Reese, Brennan and Drew. He is also survived by his close friends, Susie and Woody Woodworth and Nicholas Baise.
Gil was born to Irving and Alice (Kriser) Ziegler and was raised in St. Ignace. Gil attended Northern Michigan University where he earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics. His dedication and commitment to NMU lasted his lifetime and his involvement was plentiful. He was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award of Northern Michigan University in 1983 and would later be appointed by two governors to serve on its board of trustees. He was a member of the President's Club, the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association, the Board of Trustees of the Development Fund, and the Golden Wildcat Club. In addition to his activities at NMU, he was on the board of trustees for Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.
After completing his education at NMU, he started his career in manufacturing at Milan Screw Products in Milan, Michigan where he served as general manager. This was followed by executive positions at US Components in Bloomfield Hills, Al-Ken Manufacturing in Hudson, and Horton Company in Jackson. He was an early adopter and innovator in the manufacturing fields of cold forming, machining, and tool and die manufacturing. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to found Alken Ziegler, Inc. in Kalkaska which later expanded to include facilities in Livonia, Novi, Romulus, and Taylor, Michigan and well as Jasper, Georgia. At its peak, Alken Ziegler employed over 500 employees.
Gil had a passion for aviation. He was a pilot and owned Harbour Air, the fixed based operation at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City.
Gil loved spending time with his family along with being outdoors, fishing, hunting, and boating as well as watching football games with his girls. He was active in his community and was involved in multiple organizations including the Elks and Kiwanis service clubs. He has been a member of the board of directors of the Lenawee County American Red Cross and Lenawee County Planning Commission. He also was elected and served as Antrim County Commissioner. Gil established the Baby Grand Scholarship at Northern Michigan University in honor of his grandchildren, which benefited college aged students of single parents enrolled in undergraduate courses at NMU.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be given to Northern Michigan University, http://www.nmu.edu/foundation/ or American Heart Association, https://donatenow.heart.org/.
Published on August 1, 2017
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