At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Hardworking, fun-loving, and generous, Robert Berish, Sr. was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was proud to be an American, and although he accomplished so much of which to be proud of he was humble and deeply proud of his family. A friend of Bob’s was a friend for life, and he enjoyed making sure that those around him enjoyed life as much as he did. A loving husband and devoted father, he was filled with unspeakable joy to witness his family tree blossom to include the children and granddaughters he adored. Life will never be the same without Bob here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever cherish.
During the first half of the 1940s the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as countless young servicemen and women were deeply entrenched in WWII. Those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on common goods such as paper, sugar, and coffee while manufacturing was focused on supporting the war effort as well. Amidst this eventful time was the year 1942 when George and Doris (Speshock) Berish were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Robert S. on October 17, 1942, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He was five years older than his younger brother, James, and together they were raised in the family home in Wilmington, Delaware, during Bob’s youngest years. His father worked as a purchasing agent while his mother was a busy homemaker. Bob attended local schools including De-la-warr High School where he was active in all sports as he was a gifted athlete. He was especially good at football, basketball, and baseball. His father was transferred to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Bob attended Western Michigan University where he played both shortstop and second base on the school’s baseball team. As a young man Bob was drafted into the Army where he spent three years serving as the major general’s aid at the headquarters in Vietnam from 1965 through 1967. He then returned to Kalamazoo in May of 1967.
Life was forever changed for Bob when he met the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Sharon Simon, and they met through mutual friends at a Christmas party. Sparks flew right from the start, and they were engaged that February. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together they were married on July 13, 1968, at St. Monica in Kalamazoo. The newlyweds enjoyed a honeymoon out East to Cape May, New Jersey. The young couple started a home in Kalamazoo, and while still a student he started working part-time at UPS. This job later turned into full-time work. Bob worked delivering packages in his little brown truck and enjoyed a 31 year career there until retiring in 1994. It was in 1973 that Bob and Sharon welcomed their son, Rob, into their hearts and home, and in 1977 their family was completed with Lee’s birth. Bob was active in the lives of his sons, especially when it came to soccer and his involvement with the KISS tournament and Soccer complex on Drake. Over the years he was very involved with the AYSO.
Over the years Bob was a man of many interests. He loved cars and was meticulous when it came to washing them. Bob loved sports cars like Jaguar and Porsche among others. He never drove them fast except the time he went to Martin Dragway. They traveled all over to places like the Grand Canyon and other national parks. It was his love for the mountains in Colorado that brought them out there to live in 2004. Both Bob and his wife loved volunteering at Rocky Mountain National Park while out there as they shared a passion for the outdoors. With a desire to be close to their twin granddaughters, they moved back in 2010. Both social people, Bob and Sharon enjoyed dinner and a movie with their close friends, Phil and Aminta Wilson of 20 years, and they always tried new places to eat. One of Bob’s favorite places was Chin Chin’s. An avid golfer, he was up for playing anywhere, and he also loved shooting his guns for target practice and skeet shooting. Bob had quite an extensive gun collection as well as a collection of Southwestern art. Although they enjoyed eating out, he and Sharon also enjoyed eating in as they both loved Slovakian food, which was part of Bob’s heritage. He was also a meat and potatoes guy. During his retirement years he had some part-time jobs including at Meijer and Golf Services with his friend, Joel Pinkham. Bob enjoyed top 40s music as well as classics from bands like the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, and Santana. For years dogs were an important part of Bob’s life, especially terriers. When living in Colorado he had a motorcycle. Bob always enjoyed shopping, and he liked having nice things although he was always casual and laid back.
All who knew Robert Berish was blessed to have known him. He was so proud of his family and generous beyond compare as he was the sort of person who would do anything for anyone. Bob was proud of his country and the places he had called home over the years, and he was rather passionate when it came to things he was passionate about. There was no greater gift in his life than the gift of his family, and he was happiest when surrounded by their love. Obsessive to a fault when it came to cleaning and organizing, Bob was a man who knew what he liked. Deeply loved, he will never be forgotten.
Robert S. Berish, Sr., of Kalamazoo, died on September 21, 2016, in Kalamazoo. Bob’s family includes his wife, Sharon Berish; 2 sons: Rob Jr. (Nikki) Berish and Lee Berish (Michelle Clark); twin-granddaughters, Avery and Natalie; nieces and nephews including: George (Renee) Berish and Gena (Rhys) Strasia; 2 brothers-in-law: Dennis (Diane) Simon and Charles (Marcia) Simon; and many nieces, nephews and friends in the area. Bob was preceded in death by his parents; brother, James Berish and sister-in-law, Marilyn Costales-Marsley. Cremation will take place. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Please visit Bob’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Rocky Mountain National Parks.