Cover photo for Karl Dingman's Obituary

Karl Dingman

March 12, 1941 — April 15, 2024

Karl Dingman

Karl H. Dingman passed away peacefully on April 15th, 2024 with family at his side. Born in 1941, the son of Glen and Martha (Bedewitz) Dingman, Karl grew up in Central Lake and attended Central Lake High School where he excelled as a student and as an athlete, particularly on the basketball court. In 1961, Karl married Kathleen “Kathy” (Thomas), the pesky girl next door who became the love of his life.


After graduating high school in 1959, Karl attended Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City and then the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he earned his degree in Education.  He taught high school math and English classes, first in Crystal Falls and then in Central Lake, before returning in 1967 to the family grocery business in Bellaire.  


Most long time residents of the area remember Karl as the owner of Dingman’s Supermarket through the 1970’s and 80’s.  He had a remarkable ability to smile and laugh and kid around, all while working hard.   His employees, many of whom were working their first jobs, often learned to do the same. On any given day, Karl could be seen happily doing most any task around the store, from unloading trucks to mopping floors to bagging groceries, always setting the example.  Karl enjoyed seeing young people develop, and he’s remembered fondly by many as a favorite boss who provided direction that was gentle, firm, and fun.


Karl remained active athletically throughout his life. At various times basketball, tennis, volleyball, and cycling all provided primary forms of recreation. He pursued each with his trademark combination of competitiveness and cheerful amusement.


Always an avid reader, Karl’s idea of shopping was to browse a good bookstore, coffee in hand. He read and re-read many of the classics he had been introduced to in school. Over the years, his collection of ragged paperbacks grew to reflect his wide ranging interest and curiosity.


He and Kathy studied together to earn their pilot licenses. They logged untold hours flying together, sometimes visiting family around the country, sometimes just making “fudge runs” to Mackinaw Island.  Karl operated Dingman’s Air Taxi out of the Antrim County Airport for many years, and also worked as a flight instructor.


Karl loved people to an uncommon degree. He found humor and cause for wonder in each of us. In this, his family was incredibly fortunate. Karl and Kathy both delighted in their grand kids. Spending the night in the RV when Grammy and Granddad came to visit was a treat for young and old alike. Nothing, though, made Karl and Kathy smile quite like being surrounded by all the grand kids visiting on Lake Bellaire, the all day rollicks on the launch-pod, and trips to town for Ruthie’s in the evening. Happily, the shared memories live on.


Karl was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Kathy.  He is survived by his children Brad (Debbie) Dingman, Wendy Dingman, and Sarah (Michael) Nieters, and by his grandchildren Emily, Ben, Jessica, Megan, Tom, and Sydney.


Karl is also preceded in death by both his parents and is survived by his sister Linda (Wayne) Shooks, and brother John (Cathy) Dingman.


A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, June 15, at the First Congregational Church of Central Lake.   A time will be posted when it is available.  Memorial contributions can be given to Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility.


Arrangements are in the care of the Central Lake Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes. Please sign his online guestbook


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karl Dingman, please visit our flower store.


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