//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/016/107065/107065-life-panel.jpg

Frank Karl

October 30, 1944 - April 17, 2015
Kalamazoo, MI

//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/016/107065/107065-01.jpg

Visitations


Tuesday, April 21, 2015
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
St. Catherine of Siena Church
1150 W. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49024
Web Site

Services


Tuesday, April 21, 2015
11:00 AM EDT
St. Catherine of Siena Church
1150 West Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49024

A luncheon will follow in Marion Hall.

Web Site

Contributions


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. Catherine of Siena Church
1150 W. Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49024
Web Site

Portage Community Center
325 E. Centre Avenue
Portage, MI 49002
Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ambati
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


//cdn.lifestorynet.com/fh/view-life-story-video.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/016/107065/107065-02.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/016/107065/107065-03.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/016/107065/107065-04.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/016/107065/107065-05.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/fh/download-memory-folder.jpg
Print

All who knew Frank Karl would agree that he was the heartbeat of wherever he was. His strength, courage, and determination were inspiring, and since he overcame countless challenges it has been said that he had nine lives. A more devoted family man would be hard to find, and together he and the love of his life experienced so many of the most amazing things that life has to offer. An active part of his community, he was the sort of person whom everyone seemed to know as he was a stranger to none and a friend to all. Known for his amazing cooking, Frank was an Italian through and through who was proud of the roots that anchored him. Although life will never be the same without him here, Frank’s timeless legacy will be proudly carried on by those who follow in his footsteps.

During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of the nation were focused overseas as countless young servicemen and women were deeply entrenched in the throes of WWII. Those who remained stateside became all too familiar with rationing on common goods while manufacturing was focused on supporting the war effort. Amidst this eventful time was a time of great anticipation in the lives of Vernon and Grace Karl as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as the cool fall breezes began to settle on the city of Akron, Ohio. The big day finally arrived on October 11th when the baby boy they named Francis Josef drew his first breath. He was the oldest of six children in his family and was raised in the family home alongside his siblings, Jan, Sharon, Irene, Mike, and Mary Ann. Frank’s father worked as a chemist and engineer while his mother was an RN. He attended St Vincent’s School until the eighth grade and then went on to Buchtel High School, graduating in 1962. Frank then attended the University of Akron where he was part of the TKE fraternity. In addition, he spent two years with the ROTC.

Not to be forgotten during his college years was Frank’s introduction to the young woman with whom he would write a love story that would span nearly 50 years. Her name was Kathleen, and sparks flew right from the start. They began dating, and it wasn’t long before Frank and Kathleen found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, the sweethearts were married on September 23, 1967, at St. Vincent's in Akron. After a honeymoon in Quebec City, the newlyweds returned home. Frank transferred to Kent State University where he earned his BBA. Kathleen worked as an RN in Akron while he finished up his schooling.

With his education behind him, Frank was poised for a rewarding career. He spent his working days as an executive sales representative for Swagelock. He was promoted and transferred around quite a bit including to Schenectady, New York, Grand Rapids, and to Kalamazoo in 1977.

While he was busy establishing his career, Frank and his wife were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Kelly Ann. He treasured his role as a father, and his daughter was his greatest source of pride and joy. As she got older Frank always had timeless words of wisdom for her, and she knew that she could count on her father for whatever she needed. Frank was very much the patriarch of his family who kept everything and everyone together. As a family they enjoyed trips to Sanibel Island over spring break for years, and they also went to Akron to visit family. Since Frank was 50 percent Italian, he exemplified the Italian phrase, “prima la famiglia,” which means, “family first.” After coming to Kalamazoo in 1977, the family moved around to various homes.

Throughout his life Frank was one to keep busy. He was an accomplished gourmet cook who loved making Italian dishes. Frank raced various cars and was a member of a sports car club for years and became a Safety-Stewart and then Senior-Steward, which took him all over the Midwest to different road courses. He was active throughout his community including as an active member of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church for 30 years, as president of the Lions Club with whom he received several awards, a member of Sports Car Club of America and became Senior Safety Steward and Grand Marshall, as a Kalamazoo school crossing guard, and also as a member of the board of directors of Portage Community Center. Frank always had Fox News on, enjoyed reading car and food magazines, and won the first holiday cook book contest with the Kalamazoo Gazette. He won numerous other awards as well. Frank was a card player who enjoyed playing hearts and euchre with his friends, and of course there was a bit of cigar smoking during these games as well. He treasured the companionship of his dogs including Willie, his most recent German shepherd. When it came to music, Frank enjoyed a mix including some country, popular music from the sixties, and rock ’n roll. He would have loved to take their planned trip to Italy, but several health issues had finally taken their toll. Frank was a fighter, though, and has been called a tough old bird as he kept going for so many years despite his declining health. It was truly amazing how he overcame numerous things that would have destroyed others.

Devoted, strong, and hardworking are just a few of the words that describe the extraordinary man who Francis “Frank” Karl was each and every day. He had a dry sense of humor and could be a jokester at times such as when he enjoyed stumping his servers when he ordered weird drinks. Frank treasured his family, and there was nothing he loved more than being surrounded by their love. He will be deeply missed but never forgotten.

Francis “Frank” J. Karl, of Kalamazoo, died on April 17, 2015, in Kalamazoo. Frank’s family includes his wife, Kathleen; daughter, Kelly Ann (Kevin Stanfill); and beloved grandson, Sebastian Max; five brothers and sisters: Jan Karl Royer, Sharon Karl Casey (Chuck), Irene Karl Vorndran, Mike Karl (Olivia) and Mary Ann Karl Cochran (Chris;) and many nieces and nephews. Frank was preceded in death by his best friends, Willie and Jack. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church on Tuesday 11:00 a.m., with visitation at 10:00 a.m. Please visit Frank’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo of him and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church or Portage Community Center. Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler – Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Drive (375-2900).

//cdn.lifestorynet.com/fh/view-life-story-video.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/016/107065/107065-02.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/016/107065/107065-03.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/016/107065/107065-04.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/016/107065/107065-05.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/fh/download-memory-folder.jpg