Friday, February 13, 2015
11:00 AM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Following the service, food and fellowship will be shared in the Life Story Center.
Burial with full Military Honors at Ft. Custer National Cemetery.
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
The heartbeat of wherever he was, there was no one who met Richard Boothe and left unchanged. He was honorable, trustworthy, and vibrant with an outgoing personality that drew others near with ease. Dick treasured his roles as a husband and father, but he just may have argued that being a grandfather and great-grandfather was his richest reward. He was easygoing and took one day at a time, and as a jack of all trades he always seemed to have something in the works. He could be opinionated and direct at times, yet he was truly passionate about the things he believed in. Dick leaves behind a timeless legacy that will be proudly carried on by those who follow in his footsteps.
The 1930s were greatly defined by the Great Depression that blanketed our nation and much of the world throughout the entire decade. Jobs were scarce, and things only went from bad to worse when a drought crippled our nation’s heartland for nearly two years during this time. It was also during this time that George Forrest and Laura Marie Tye Boothe were blessed with the births of their twin sons on August 7, 1938, at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Richard and his brother joined their older siblings, David, George, Donnie, Gladys and Barbara in the family, but sadly his twin died when he was only 11 days old. His younger brother, Larry, later completed their bustling clan. Because the Boothes worked for county fairs, they traveled a lot as a family, and Richard’s formative years were spent in both Michigan and Missouri.
In many ways Richard was a young boy of his generation. He attended local schools where he became part of the track team in high school. The high jump was his specialty, and he often ran home jumping fences along the way to practice. Dick also used his father’s plumbing pipe to practice at home. His hard work paid off as he ended up winning a trophy. With a strong work ethic as his lifelong companion, Dick started working in the oil fields in New Mexico. He worked hard even as a teen and made his own way.
As a young man of 18, Dick enlisted in the United States Army. He received his high school diploma while serving, and he put in a total of five years during the days of the Korean Conflict before being honorably discharged on February 28, 1963. His hard work and drive to succeed followed him into the workplace at General Motors in Kalamazoo. Dick established many friendships there and had great times with countless coworkers. After 27 years, Dick retired from General Motors in 1993.
Although his work was important to him, Dick’s family was first and foremost in his life. He was filled with unspeakable joy to become a father to five amazing children including Steven, Jeannie, Richard Jr., Forrest, and Wendell “Wink” Runyon Jr. Not only did his children hold a special place in his heart, but so did his wife, Donna. They had met at one time, but it wasn’t until Dick knocked on Donna’s door and asked her for a date that their relationship really took root. After falling in love, they were married at the United Methodist Church in Dowagiac. Together they traveled throughout the United States in their motorhome during their retirement years. Their three schnauzers, Mickey, Minnie, and Charlie, came along for the ride, too. They also bought a winter vacation home in Texas, and the hotter the better according to Dick. He and Donna enjoyed many cruises including to South America, and the Mexican Rivera was also a favorite destination. Dick, or Paw Paw as he was called, loved doting over his grandchildren and especially his great-grandchildren.
Throughout his life Dick was a man of many interests. He was a talented bowler who had a 300 game in December of 2001, and he loved his bowling leagues for years. As his family and friends can attest, Dick was a gifted jack of all trades who could build or fix anything without ever breaking a sweat. He kept his golf carts up and running for the grandchildren to drive around the property, and during his younger years Dick raced at the Galesburg Speedway. Despite working for GM, Dick was a Ford man, and he loved both country western music and classic John Wayne westerns. He religiously had his morning coffee and donut holes, and he also liked his Southern Comfort and Pepsi. When it came to his favorite foods Dick was easy to please as instant mashed potatoes and chicken strips, stove top stuffing, lemon heads, and fried green tomatoes were among the things he loved most. He did play cards and also enjoyed his hand-held gambling game. Dick liked the NBA and wasn’t partial to any one team, but if there wasn’t a game on he was often watching Fox News, which usually led to complaining about both parties! He and Donna danced together, and they also went looking for treasures at garage sales.
All who knew Richard Boothe would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He could strike up a conversation with anyone, and he was the sort of person whom everyone seemed to know. Dick was funny with a distinctive laugh, and his quick wit was only part of what made him so much fun to be around. The patriarch of his family, it was easy to see that his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were the center of his world. Deeply loved, Dick will be forever missed.
Richard L. Boothe, of Kalamazoo, died February 10, 2015. Dick’s family includes his wife, Donna Boothe; 5 children: Steven, Jeannie, Richard Jr., Forrest, and Wendell “Wink” Runyon Jr.; 7 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren; sister, Barbara; and many nieces and nephews. Dick was preceded in death by 4 brothers and 1 sister. Services will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler – Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Drive (375-2900) with visitation beginning at 10 a.m. Following the service, a luncheon will be shared in the Life Story Center. Burial with military honors at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Dick’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo of him and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Special thanks to all of the wonderful caregivers and hospice. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.