Sunday, August 30, 2015
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
A prayer service will be held at 4:00 pm with visitation to follow. Food and refreshments will be served.
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
Throughout the life of Frank Stokes, love was what mattered most. With a zest for life, Frank’s outgoing nature and personable ways found him to be a friend of many. He loved people, and with faith as his guide, he loved unconditionally. He helped others along the way, and whatever the task at hand, Frank gave it his all. Although dearly missed, gone but never to be forgotten are the numerous memories he leaves behind.
The crash of the stock market in late 1929 created havoc and financial turmoil from coast to coast, and by 1930, 1,350 banks had failed in the U.S. To regenerate the economy, the U.S. Public Works Department began construction on the Hoover Dam in an effort to employ even a fraction of unemployed Americans. While jazz took the streets by storm, the infamous cartoon character, Betty Boop made her debut to the delight of many. During these changing times, in the hard hit city of New York City, New York, Franklin R. Stokes entered the world on November 3, 1930, the son of William E. and Gertrude M. (Wirfs) Stokes.
Frank was the youngest of five in his household, joining his older siblings, Ervin, Albert, Marion, and William. For a young boy of his generation growing up in the city, Frank led a typical childhood of the times. Playing with neighborhood friends was just part of an ordinary day for Frank where he experienced much adventure. With the hustle and bustle of big city living, there was much to see and do. He attended Catholic schools and while news of the day included the travesties of World War II, at the age of 12, life as Frank knew it forever changed when his father sadly died. After that Frank went to work to help support his Mother.
With the death of his father, Frank grew up rather quickly. However, at the age of 16, and eager to be on his own, Frank left his schooling behind when he enlisted to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps. For over 20 years, Frank proudly served in the Marine Corps. During his time in the service, he went on to earn his GED and had assignments in various parts of the United States, Asia and in Europe. He especially loved the time he spent living in Spain for two years. One of his tours of duty brought him to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1957 as an instructor and inspector of recruits for the local Marine Corps Reserve unit.
It was at this time in September of 1957 when Frank was introduced to the love of his life, Beverly Waller. Having recently graduated from Western Michigan University, Beverly’s aunt oversaw the Kalamazoo County draft board with which Frank closely worked. Frank and Beverly dated for a time and with an abiding love, they were blessed in marriage on June 21, 1958 at St. Basil Church in South Haven. Together they shared a memorable honeymoon traveling to New York City so Frank could introduce his new bride to his family.
Following his retirement from the military, Frank and Bev returned to Kalamazoo where Frank completed his education at Western Michigan University. After earning his degree in Business Administration, he then embarked on his second career - real estate. He began in sales at D & D Real Estate before opening his own firm in 1972, Stokes Real Estate. Until 2002, Frank specialized in residential home counseling, sales, appraising and was certified in property management, although for the last ten years of his career he solely did appraisals.
Well respected, Frank earned the trust and favor of not only his colleagues, but that of his many clients who considered Frank a good and loyal friend. He developed many lasting friendships over the years, and counted himself blessed. Frank served on the Board of Directors and as president in 1976 on the Kalamazoo Board of Realtors, and in 1978 he was honored to be named Realtor of the Year. He also served on the state board of directors for many years and was an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University as well.
After retiring for a second time in 2002, Frank and Bev continued their love of travel. Having had no children or grandchildren pulling at their heart strings, they often traveled throughout the years, but this time afforded Frank and Bev even more time to explore and experience the world around them. They loved traveling by land and sea, and visited six continents and 85 countries over the years, as well as having enjoyed 54 cruises in their lifetime. A kind and gracious man, Frank and Bev made friends wherever they went. In all, they counted Spain and Italy as their most beautiful and favorite places.
An active and faithful member of St. Thomas More Catholic Student Parish, Frank was also a longtime member of the Westside Kiwanis Club where he served for many years as its treasurer. At home, Frank loved his canine companions. Over the course of 40 years, he treasured two Irish Setters and an English Setter, and each rarely left Frank’s side. As an avid reader, Frank enjoyed reading fiction, autobiographies, those historical in nature, and the Harry Potter novels.
Frank and Bev also enjoyed a love of cooking. Frank especially loved making his seaside taste of Spain, Paella, along with homemade soups, roasts and a variety of other meats. Simply delicious, Frank always added his own extra flair to everything he made. Together they were delightful hosts, and so enjoyed serving special recipes while entertaining friends. Frank worked alongside Bev in the kitchen. While she had a handle on wonderful salads and desserts, Frank perfected the main dishes. He loved all Spanish cuisine and anything with garlic, but international foods were by far his favorite. At day’s end, Frank and Bev usually liked a glass of red wine each night. It was good for health purposes, and much better for Frank than the martini’s he used to favor.
One of a kind, Frank Stokes relished life and had a passion for people. He loved his beloved wife dearly, and in all ways loved unconditionally. A good natured fellow, he was a genuine gentleman who lived by his faith and enjoyed the friendships of many. For all who knew and loved him, Frank will be fondly missed and remembered.
Franklin R. Stokes, aged 84, of Kalamazoo, lost his battle with cancer Tuesday evening, August 25, 2015. He died peacefully at Rose Arbor in the presence of his loving wife and dear friends. The youngest of five, brothers, Ervin, Albert, and William, and his sister, Marian Stathopulos, all preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Beverly; many nieces and nephews. He especially loved his godchildren, Barbara Plevik, Beverly Kester, Lisa, Matthew and Amanda Harrison, and Angela Lujan.
Learn more about Frank, view his Life Story film and visit with his family and friends while sharing refreshments on Sunday from 4-7 PM at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler–Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Drive (375-2900). Times for a prayer service will be announced. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, August 31, 2015, 11:00 AM at St. Thomas More Catholic Student Parish, 421 Monroe Street. Following the Mass, food and fellowship will be shared in the church hall. Burial with full military honors will be held on Tuesday, September 1, 2015, 11:00 AM at Ft. Custer National Cemetery in Augusta. Please visit Frank’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo of Frank and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Thomas More Catholic Student Parish or Rose Arbor Hospice Residence.