Greg Straka Sr

Feb 27th 1950 - May 30th 2014

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LIFESTORY:

Gregory Allen Straka Sr. came into this world on February 27, 1950 in St. Joseph, Michigan. He became the first son of Lenard and Barbara Straka.

Due to Lenard’s job, Greg and his siblings, Chuck, Julie, Char, and Marilyn moved quite a bit. They spent time in Ann Arbor, Traverse City, Portage, and Three Rivers. It was in Three Rivers where Greg spent his high school years.

Greg was tall for his age, which made him a stand-out on the Three Rivers Wildcat basketball team. Greg was described by his teammates as a dedicated, strong, positive leader. It was these character traits that would carry Greg to many successes in his future.

After graduating high school, Greg enrolled in Glenn Oaks Community College. It was during this time that he met a young lady who would change his life forever. Her name was Cindy Barber, and Greg thought that she was in college, but in reality she was a senior in high school. This ruse was carried on until Greg asked Cindy how many credits she was taking. Cindy did not know what a credit was, so she had to confess that she was still in high school. Knowing this did not deter Greg from pursuing the new found love of his life. His steadfast dedication paid off and Cindy agreed to marry him. Greg didn’t know what he was getting into, marrying a girl who has 10 siblings. He quickly found out. The first time he met Cindy’s family, there were Cindy’s six brothers giving Greg the stink eye. After they got to know him, they opened their arms to Greg and loved him to no end.

Shortly before marriage, Greg enlisted in the Michigan National Guard in the spring of 1970. Although it was difficult for him to leave his bride-to-be, he had a strong conviction to serve. This strong conviction to serve will follow Greg throughout his life.

Greg and Cindy were married on July 10, 1970. Their marriage was the beginning of a strong relationship that would last for almost 44 years. Their family grew from 2 to 3 on October 10, 1971 with the birth of their first child. A beautiful baby girl who they name Lisa Jean. Greg loved this little girl, and protected her to no end. Greg even told Cindy’s mother, who had 11 children of her own, that she couldn’t hold Lisa because nobody knew how except for him and Cindy.

Greg had a strong work ethic and was an excellent provider for his family. He worked long hard hours at Continental Can in Three Rivers, while he waited until he was old enough to apply to be a police officer in the City of Kalamazoo.

In March of 1973, his wait was over. He was hired by the City of Kalamazoo as a police officer. He served the community of Kalamazoo with integrity and honor for 27 years.

In June of 1973, Greg’s family grew from 3 to 4 with the birth of a son who they named Gregory Allen. This son brought Greg and Cindy much joy and pride.

During his career with Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Greg’s hard work and dedication led him to many positions within the department. He saw a need to honor his fallen brothers in blue, and was a founding member of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Honor Guard. He was instrumental in reinstating motorcycle patrols in the department, which he served on proudly. He was a member of the KDPS S.W.A.T. team, as well as a dedicated member of the Special Investigations Unit.

Greg retired from his tour of duty in March of 2000 to enjoy the rest of his life with the woman he loved.

Greg’s love for motorcycles did not stop when he stopped working. Greg and Cindy became friends with many wonderful people who shared the same love for riding. Greg and Cindy would often take motorcycle trips together, spending time with each other doing something that they shared a love for. Greg convinced Cindy to get her motorcycle endorsement so she could have her own motorcycle, which she did.

Greg was a man of integrity, who always looked to do the right thing. Cindy once told the story of when Greg bought a car for $3,000. The guy that he bought the car from told Greg that he would write $100 on the title so that Greg wouldn’t have to pay a lot in taxes. Greg thanked the seller, but told him that he would appreciate it if he was honest on the title concerning the selling price. This lesson of integrity is passed to those who know him.

Greg loved his family to no ends. Greg enjoyed seeing his children and grandchildren enjoying time together. With this in mind, Cindy and Greg made a yearly tradition of taking the entire family on a camping trip. They enjoyed unwinding and reconnecting with each other in fantastic places like Traverse City and Cadillac. Greg would even try to beat his grandchildren and children while racing go-karts (though it was known that he would let them win!).

Words that people use to describe Greg include: hardworking, dedicated, protector, brother, son, loving, caring, responsible, leader, hero, dad, grandpa (poppy), great-grandpa, and loving husband.

Dad, we love you and we know that you are in an amazing place right now. You will be missed so much, but your legacy will live on for eternity.

Greg is survived by his loving wife, Cindy. His loving children Lisa (Vern) Morehouse & Greg Jr. (Angie) Straka. His grandchildren Samantha (Justin) Watts-Heidman, Steven Morehouse, Casey Straka, Andrew Morehouse, Rachel Watts, Spencer Straka, Samantha Morehouse, Matthew Watts, Nicole Morehouse, and Audrey Straka. His great-grandchildren Zoey Heidman and Lilly Heidman.

Greg Straka Sr