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.
Milwood Little League
P.O. Box 2786
Kalamazoo, MI 49003
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Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Harold “Bud” Vanderberg, words such as genuine, gregarious, and friendly come to mind, however, perhaps the word that paints the most vivid picture of his life is selfless. He was always looking for ways to give back to the community he loved. A great champion of youth, he devoted his life teaching countless young people life’s greatest values through the game of baseball. Devoted to his family as well as his greater community, Bud was a lover of all people. A longtime resident of the community, Bud was a stranger to none and a friend to all. His wonderful collection of memories will be his greatest gift to all who knew and loved him.
The Roaring Twenties was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge. Jazz music was booming, as well as the automotive industry, and the nation was seeing large scale industrial growth which brought about significant changes during this era. With the media focused on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie figures, Harold and Grace (Cheffhauser) Vanderberg welcomed home their own star, a newborn son, Harold born on April 27, 1924 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Growing up on Village Street, his birth brought his parents great joy.
Bud attended local schools and spent much of his time perfecting his natural ability with baseball. Many summer days and long into the evenings, he played the game that would define much of his life as an adult. By his high school years, Bud was known for his baseball talents. Graduating with the Class of 1942 from Kalamazoo Central High School, his name remained a part of the school’s baseball history for many years. During the war years, Bud proudly gave of his time and resources as a civilian radio communications operator for Pan American Airways. An avid fan of both the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs, it was on a train ride back home from Wrigley Field that would change his life forever. On the train, he met the love of his life, Anne Korabik. Theirs was a true love story, falling in love at first sight. After dating for some time and wanting to spend the rest of their lives together, they joined in marriage on May 12, 1945 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Kalamazoo. That day was noted as the greatest day of his life. Happily married, they raised two wonderful children; Karen and Jack. Bud taught his children many valuable life skills; including perseverance, always giving your best to everything, and being proud of your accomplishments.
Bud was a devoted husband and father and there wasn’t anything that he wouldn’t do for his family. A hard worker and provider, Bud spent his career years working as a laboratory technician with Upjohn in the research department. He genuinely enjoyed his time there and made many lasting friendships before his retirement in the mid-1990’s. When his son, Jack was old enough to play Little League baseball, Bud was eager to coach and later became president of the Milwood Little League for more than sixty years. It was here, that Bud shared his truest passion of the sport and touched the lives of countless youth over the years. He was not only known for his valuable assets and knowledge about the rules and history of the organization locally but also across the nation and globe! In 1980, Bud led the organization of hosting the first Little League Softball World Series in Kalamazoo and for more than thirty years his name was synonymous with the event.
It was not only baseball that held his interest. Bud was well known for his involvement with many community organizations. His rich connections to the community he loved earned him many awards over the years. He received the Star Award, a special tribute from the State of Michigan for his years of volunteering, the Hero Award, offered by the Kalamazoo Convention Bureau, the Kalamazoo Optimist Man of the Year Award, as well as countless Little League Awards. When Bud wasn’t involved in a meeting or helping to host a local event, he treasured his time with each and every one of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He openly shared with them his understanding that by adding positivity to other people’s lives, your own life would be richly satisfying and filled with joy. He loved to spend time with his family and shared many special memories with them over the years. Known for his forthright opinions, his infectious sense of humor, and warm personality, Bud will be deeply missed by his special family and countless others from the community who loved him.
Harold “Bud” Vanderberg Jr. passed peacefully on Thursday, January 19, 2017 while having lunch with his son and granddaughter at one of his favorite restaurants. He was a lifelong Democrat who was happy not to see the new administration take office. Members of his family include his daughter, Karen (Bill) McNulty and Jack (Patzy) Vanderberg; 5 grandchildren: Matthew (Mindy), Angela (Greg), Alex, Sarah (Broc) and Rachael; 7 great-grandchildren: Joseph, Elizabeth, Andrew, Natalie, Eli, William and Addison; and sister-in-law, Angela Korabik. Besides his wife Anne, he was preceded in death by his 4 brothers: Robert, Lawrence, William and Jack; and a grandson, Joseph McNulty. Visit with family and friends on Tuesday from 5-7 pm at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 am on Wednesday at St. Monica Catholic Church, 4408 S Westnedge. Burial will be in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Please visit Bud’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Milwood Little League or Kairos Dwelling.