Wednesday, November 18, 2015
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
10:30 AM EST
St. Augustine Cathedral
542 West Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
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.
St. Augustine Cathedral
542 West Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Erwin Slesdet lived a life of purpose each and every day. He was hardworking and driven to succeed with a keen eye for detail when it came to numbers. Blessed to spend nearly 60 years with the love of his life, Erwin experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer. As his family and friends can attest, he was deeply devoted to the Catholic faith throughout his entire life, and it was a vibrant part of his life as well. Although he will be deeply missed, the memories he leaves behind will be forever cherished.
The 1920s brought us some of the most vibrant days we have faced as a nation as innovation was taking us places we had never been. This was the decade that witnessed the end of the silent film era, cars that were mass produced on assembly lines, and legends Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb bring renewed excitement to the game of baseball. Amidst this exciting time was a time of excitement in the lives of Erwin M. and Emma M. (Weller) Slesdet as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Erwin A. on March 12, 1921, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was the older of two children in his family and was raised alongside his younger sister.
In many ways, Erwin experienced a typical upbringing for the youth of his generation. His father was very talented and primarily worked as a heating plant engineer, running the plant at Lincoln School and later running the heating plant at Nazareth College. Erwin’s mother was a homemaker and also worked some in the cafeteria at Lincoln Elementary School and sold Larkin products. He attended St. Augustine School High School. In addition to holding down his studies, Erwin also had various jobs including cleaning, working at Rosebaum Shoe Store, and selling newspapers just to name a few. These were the hard days of the Great Depression when every penny counted. Erwin went on to graduate from high school in 1939.
From there, Erwin took a job at Sutherland Paper Company. His work soon came to a halt when WWII became a reality in America with the vicious attack on our naval base in Pearl Harbor. Erwin was drafted in 1942 and honorably served in the United States Army as military police. Stationed just outside of Chicago, Erwin’s primary responsibilities were administrative as he was an administrative officer for his company while in general his unit was responsible for providing security to the University of Chicago during the development of the Manhattan Project (A Bomb).
Not to be forgotten during his years in the military was his blossoming romance with the love of his life. Her name was Patricia Hope Phillips, and it wasn’t too long after meeting that the couple found themselves deeply in love. Their love deepened despite being separated while Erwin was serving. With a desire to establish a life together, the sweethearts were married on June 23, 1945, at St. Augustine and then took a honeymoon in Northern Michigan before Erwin needed to report back for duty. Throughout his life it was easy to see just how much Erwin adored his beloved wife.
After WWII, Erwin returned home and resumed employment at Sutherland Paper Company in accounting, audit and finance. He worked for SPC and its successors for 43 years and 9 months until retiring in 1983. In 1948, Erwin and Pat had their only child, Erwin David Slesdet.
As someone who liked to keep busy, Erwin was a man of many interests. From the time he was a young boy, he loved hunting rabbits, pheasant, and he never missed a deer season. A true outdoorsman, Erwin was also a dedicated trout fisherman, which was something he learned from his father. He then shared this love with his own son, and together they went to places such as Silver Creek near Parchment, up North at Kalkaska. It was because of his love for the outdoors that Erwin bought some land on the Leelanau Peninsula right on Lake Michigan in 1959. His family all helped him build a cottage there, and it became the backdrop for many family gatherings. Erwin loved being surrounded by nature there and loved feeding the birds and squirrels all his life. He was a lifelong member of St. Augustine where he actively served beginning from the time he was an altar boy while growing up. Over the years he also served as an usher, member of the finance committee, and volunteer accountant after his retirement. Erwin enjoyed big band music and swing with Glenn Miller being his favorite. Although he wasn’t one to tinker, he was handy around the house. Erwin and Pat loved to travel, and over the years they made it to Europe three times, Alaska, Hawaii, Austria, and New Zealand. Together he and his wife went to shows at the Barn Theater and Miller Auditorium. They had a Steinway player piano, and they loved going downstairs to listen to the music. Over the years they collected over 300 piano rolls. Erwin was a lifelong Republican who read the Kalamazoo Gazette from cover to cover daily, and as a Tigers fan he loved listening to them up until last year.
All who knew Erwin Slesdet would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was very honest and dignified with a love for having things in order including his perfectly organized shoes. Although he enjoyed traveling and heading out for a night on the town with his wife, he also loved just being at home. Erwin will be dearly missed but never forgotten.
Erwin A. Slesdet, of Kalamazoo, died on November 15, 2015, in Kalamazoo, and is survived by his son, Erwin David Slesdet. Friends and family will visit on Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler – Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Drive (375-2900). Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral. Burial will take place in Mt. Ever-Rest Memorial Park, North. Please visit Erwin’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. Memorial contributions may be made to the West Michigan Cancer Center or St. Augustine Cathedral.