Mar 23rd 1974 - May 24th 2013
Taken from his loved ones much too soon, BJ Decker was a true gift in the lives of his family and friends. He was lively, spirited, and always busy doing something. It has been said that BJ treated his wife like a princess, and it was also easy to see that he was an awesome father whose children were his greatest source of pride and joy. Known for his “cowboy hard hats,” BJ was truly extraordinary in every way. Life will never be the same without him here, but the memories he leaves behind will remain forever near and dear to the hearts of his numerous friends and loved ones.
The 1970s were a transformational time in American history when advancements were made both in civil rights and women’s rights, and space exploration was gaining momentum. Mood rings, bellbottom pants, and platform shoes became part of our culture while Atari paved the way for the culture of video games. It was on March 23, 1974, that William and Cyndee (Berndt) Decker were pleased to announce the birth of their son, William J, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Always known as BJ, he was the oldest of four children in his family and was raised in the family home alongside his siblings, Kevin, Nikki, and Katchen. His father was an electrician while his mother had a daycare.
For the most part BJ experienced a typical childhood. He attended local schools including Vicksburg High School where he excelled in his studies and was a high honor student. While in high school he showed an interest in the building trades, which set the stage for a rewarding career. After graduating from high school in 1992, BJ went on to become a master electrician.
Life was forever changed for BJ when he met the young girl of his dreams. Her name was Michelle Roberts, and they met when BJ and some of his friends crashed her 17th birthday party in 1994. After a memorable game of “spin the bottle” that fateful night, he and Michelle began dating. Deeply in love, BJ and Michelle were married on June 27, 1998, at Michelle’s parents‘ home with a fun reception at what is now known as the Party Barn at her father’s farm. Throughout their married life, BJ treated Michelle like a princess. He showed her how much he loved her in many ways, but she really appreciated the breakfasts he made her to celebrate special occasions several times.
Together BJ and Michelle were blessed with three children: Tristin, Tehya, and Jackson, and there was nothing he loved more than being with his family. He was a master builder whose family was the driving force behind his desire to provide as he has been called a workaholic. His skills came in handy at home, too, as BJ had a master plan for everything. He made his own campsite at home, and his next project was to put electric out to the camp so that his beloved Michelle could camp with all the modern conveniences. BJ’s family loved his skills as the master of the grill, and his rainbow trout was truly unmatched.
Although nothing beat being at home around a roaring campfire, BJ’s life was filled with other interests as well. He was into music with some of his favorite artists being Pink and Nickelback along with classic country artists like Johnny Cash. BJ’s voice has been compared to Garth Brooks, and one of his favorite songs to sing was “Lady” by Kenny Rogers. He has been called a hoarder when it came to his tools, and he was known to take anything he could get his hands on as long as it was free. BJ’s barn is filled with numerous “treasures” that he collected through the years. Rarely seen without a hat, he even had a construction hat that was a cowboy hat. In his rare down time BJ enjoyed reading any zombie book that he came across.
Whether he was chopping wood, grilling a masterpiece, or enjoying great company around a campfire, BJ Decker loved being at home with his family. He accomplished so much of which to be proud, but he was a humble man who considered being a husband and father to be both his highest calling and his greatest blessing. Although his time was cut short, BJ’s legacy will be carried on by those who follow him. He will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.
William J. “BJ” Decker died on Friday, May 24, 2013. BJ’s family includes his wife: Michelle; three children: Tristin, Tehya, and Jackson Decker; mother: Cyndee Decker-Stewart, of Vicksburg; father: Bill (Sarah) Decker, of MO; siblings: Kevin (Melissa) Decker, of Portage; Nikki (Ryan) Henrickson, of Allegan; and Katchen (Luke Melson) Decker, of Kalamazoo; stepsister: Christy (John) Stewart, of WI; mother-in-law: Frank (Sue) Roberts, of Vicksburg; two brothers-in-law: Aug (Tracy) Roberts, of Vicksburg; Ted (Devon) Roberts, of Vicksburg; cousins: Kristee Hartman, of Ann Arbor; Greg (Becky) Berndt, of Three Rivers; and numerous nieces nephews and cousins. BJ was preceded in death by his stepdad: Jack Stewart; Nephew: Dallas Henrickson; and stepbrother: Jeff Stewart. The family will receive friends on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, from 4-7 p.m., Life Story Funeral Home, 409 S. Main, Vicksburg (269-649-16797). A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, May 29, 2013, at 11 a.m., Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene, 7520 East U Ave. In his memory, you are encouraged to dress casual and wear a cowboy or baseball hat. Please visit BJ’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can leave a memory and sign the guestbook. Those who wish may make memorial contributions to the JDRF at the following web address: http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Walk-MI/Chapter-MichiganGreatLakesWest4305?px=2064844&pg=personal&fr_id=2354 and a college fund is being setup for the children at Keystone Bank.