Friends of Al Kloha know that if he wasn’t on the dance floor with his beloved wife, Carol Park, he was probably having a conversation involving policy or politics, with his interest driven by his dedication to his family. Al made every effort to defend free-market principles and defeat big government policies. His goal: Grant to upcoming generations, particularly his seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, the quality of life he enjoyed and opportunities he was afforded.
Al was a man of integrity and was described as a “fixer, always pursuing solutions” by his son, Rodney Kloha. Whether he was giving feedback on a white paper to a friend at the Mackinac Center or pursuing a new treatment in his battle with cancer, Al knew was an ideas man who made the most of his time and opportunities. Whether he was working in business or public service or raising his family, his motto was “quality is not expensive, it’s priceless.”
Born on a family farm, Al learned about hard work and the value of family early on, and he believed that people should be recognized and promoted on their merits. As a young man, he crossed a picket line of pro-union protestors while working as a truck driver for Dow. Al crossed the picket line, choosing to provide for his family and go to work despite the pressure from colleagues and union organizers. He was physically threatened by a co-worker, which only strengthened his personal philosophy. Al believed in achieving by merit rather than being limited by a union, which is why he first became a Mackinac Center supporter. He wanted to help successfully transform Michigan into a right-to-work state, granting thousands of workers the freedom to achieve on their own terms.
In business, he was a renaissance man, working as a truck driver and a skilled mechanic. He opened his own business with his son Rodney in 1986, expanding merit shop employment opportunities as an early member of Associated Builders and Contractors Greater Michigan. Al also served as a fireman, rebuilding fire engines and donating the first truck to a local fire department that he helped form.
As an elected official, he served as a county commissioner and county road commissioner in Midland County, Michigan, during the summer 2020 dam failures. While he and Carol were personally affected by them — in the midst of his health challenges — he was determined to help the people of Mid-Michigan by getting roadways and infrastructure restored.
Al was also a foster parent, and he performed many acts of kindness and service. These ranged from picking up restaurant tabs anonymously to donating dozens of hats to cancer patients, and giving to organizations that do the right thing and champion the American dream. Al’s friends at the Mackinac Center and the world will miss these acts as much as his strongly held views and more public work.
If you would like to learn how you can advance the mission of the Mackinac Center or would like to become a supporter, please contact Caleb Hortop or a member of the advancement team at 989-631-0900.