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March 29, 2012 - Image 82

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-03-29

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Hero To Nation And Family

Bill Carroll

Contributing Writer


he story of Charles Kaye's life
had many chapters. He was a
successful businessman, devoted
family man, sports enthusiast, modest
war hero and quiet philanthropist. But
probably the most poignant chapter was
his six-decades-long love story with his
wife, Mildred.
The final chapter was March 22, 2012,
when Kaye, 88, of Southfield died of con-
gestive heart failure and pneumonia at
Royal Oak's Beaumont Hospital.
"He was a wonderful man. I don't
know what I'm going to do without him:'
said Mildred, who wrote a letter to Kaye
every day of the three years he served in
the U.S. Army during World War II. Both
working their way through school, they
had met in a class at Detroit's Wayne
(State) University

'True Love'
Kaye, a graduate of Detroit's Commerce
High School, had interrupted his stud-
ies at Wayne to enlist. He returned with
a load of medals in December 1945, and
he and his "beloved Millie" were married
eight days later.
"It was a true love story; and from

Sports Enthusiast
Kaye played tennis into his early 80s and
there on, my father fulfilled the American
worked out almost daily until recently.
dream by rising from humble beginnings
He watched all of the sports events on
to become successful in everything he did," TV and kept up with statistics on many
said Kaye's daughter, Barbara Kaye of Ann
of the teams and players. Added Barbara:
"He was very compassionate and had a
Kaye had resumed his classes at Wayne,
great sense of humor."
got a B.S. degree and became a certified
Kaye helped found the Bank of
public accountant. He worked for a few
Birmingham and was a director until his
small accounting firms for
awhile; but with Mildred, a
"My father's accounting
teacher, typing work papers
clients weren't just cus-
for him at night, Kaye founded
tomers to him," Barbara
Charles Kaye & Co. and oper-
pointed out. "They came to
ated it for 42 years. He sold
respect him as an adviser
it to Boyes, Wright, Pittman
and counselor. He always
& Co., later merging with the
said you have to be your
Rebmann Group in Farmington
own boss to make sure
Hills. "He stayed on to work
things are done right."
there and didn't retire until two
Without fanfare, Kaye
years ago," said his daughter.
the Charles and
Charles K aye
"Chuck and Millie were a
Mildred Kaye Endowed
very loving couple; they worked together
Scholarship Fund at Wayne 14 years
very well',' said Lou Hoffman of Huntington ago, providing scholarships for students
Woods, who was Kaye's friend and fra-
majoring in accounting in the Business
ternity brother since college days. They
Administration School. When his daugh-
belonged to Gamma Kappa Chi fraternity,
ter Diane Lynn Kaye, an attorney, died
attending weekly alumni luncheons and
in 2007, he provided a scholarship in
GKC's 75th anniversary reunion last fall.
her name at the University of Michigan's
"Chuck was quiet, but he spoke with
law school. "My father was very close to
his deeds. And if something really had to
both of us," said Barbara, who is also an
be said on a certain subject, he spoke out
loud and clear."
Kaye also financially supported Wayne's
Education College and graduate student
research in biological sciences.
One of the highlights of Kaye's life
came in 2010 when he received one of
France's highest honors, being named a
"Chevalier" of the Legion of Honor for
his "courage and bravery" in combat dur-
ing World War II and for his role in "the
liberation of France." Why it took France
Call 248-542-8266
65 years to honor him remains somewhat
of a mystery, but Kaye expressed his
661 E. 8 Mile Road Ferndale
1 blocks East o Woodw d
appreciation for the award while being
interviewed for an article in the Detroit
Jewish News in connection with Veterans
Day last November.
Like many WWII vets, Kaye was reluc-
tant to talk about his deeds and down-
played them when he did. He received

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a Bronze Star for rescuing a wounded
soldier, a fellow Jew from New York, under
heavy fire. He had landed with the Fourth
Infantry on Utah Beach in Normandy,
France, on June 7, 1944, the day after D-Day.
Kaye got frostbite and shrapnel wounds
from a mortar while in the thick of the
deplorable conditions of the famous
Battle of the Bulge, one of the bloodiest
battles of the war. He received the Purple
Heart and stayed in a Belgian hospital for
a month. He later served as an interpreter
for the allies, interrogating high-level Nazi
party members.
"I'm glad I got over there to help fight
the Germans," Kaye reflected in an inter-
view last November. "I had read about
how Hitler wanted to dominate the world
and about the atrocities being inflicted
on the Jewish people. I don't think many
Americans caught the significance of what
might have happened to all of us if the
Axis had won the war:'
Said Barbara Kaye: "My father was
the epitome of the Greatest Generation:
those men and women who experienced
the Great Depression, then fought for our
country in the war. His discharge papers
mentioned heroic deeds that he never even
told us about.
"But, most of all, he was very devoted to
his wife of 66 years and to his entire family."
Mr. Kaye is survived by his wife, Mildred
Kaye; daughter and son-in-law, Barbara
Kaye and John Hogikyan; granddaughters,
Laura and Allison Hogikyan; son-in-law,
Irving Shaprio.
He was the cherished father of the late
Diane Lynn Kaye.
Contributions may be made to the
Charles and Mildred Kaye Endowed
Scholarship Fund at Wayne State
University, 5201 Cass Ave., 226 Prentis
Bldg., c/o Sherry Stokes; the Holocaust
Memorial Center, 28123 Orchard Lake
Road, Farmington Hills, MI. 48334; (248)
553-2400; www.holocaustcenter.org ; or
the Karmanos Center Foundation, Lung
Cancer Research, 4100 John R, Detroit,
MI. 48201, www.karmanos.org.
Interment at Clover Hill Park Cemetery.
Arrangements by Ira Kaufman Chapel. ❑

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