Monday, October 17, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
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.
Gilman Go Fund Me Account
Click on Link Below
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Larger than life, John Gilman was an open and loving man whose heart knew no bounds. Always willing to lend a helping hand, he did for others without ever expecting anything in return. John was also a hard working man who placed the needs of his family first in his life. He enjoyed the friendships of many, and his fun-loving ways drew many to his side. Although he will be deeply missed, John leaves the hearts of everyone who came to know and love him filled with countless memories.
The decade of the 1970s was an important time for America and the rest of the world. A sure stepping stone in the world we know today, it was also riddled with anti-war demonstrations during the Vietnam War as the culture of America took on new ways of thinking. The decade held much promise, especially for the parents of John Gilman as they celebrated his welcoming birth on August 23, 1970.
John spent his formative years growing up in Parchment, Michigan. All boy, he found his share of mischief and he could climb nearly any tree as he spent endless hours playing outside with neighborhood friends. He was also very protective of his eventually five siblings, and even though they may not always have gotten along as siblings often do, John always had their back. As a kid, John discovered his love for cars from his stepfather, especially fast cars. Throughout his life, cars served as a focal point in nearly everything he said and did. During his youth John was also involved in sports, especially after his family moved to the Galesburg area where he attended junior and senior high school before graduating from Galesburg-Augusta High School in 1988. From there he went on to attend Kalamazoo Valley Community College for a time.
Over the next several years, John worked at various places searching for his niche. One night, while cruising down Westnedge Avenue with several of his friends he noticed a pretty girl in her beautiful, 1981 “Super-Hugger” Z28 Chevy Camaro. Considerably a better cruising car than the one he was driving, his mother’s Buick, John always admitted he noticed her car first! Yet once John laid eyes on Nikki Zimmer that night in 1993, his heart was never the same. After meeting and getting to know one another, Nikki was attracted to John’s smart aleck nature and his ability to crack a joke. They dated for several years, and on August 17, 1997, they were happily married in a romantic ceremony at one of their favorite parks.
John and Nikki began their new life together and in addition to their daughter Alexis their son Brodyx was born in 1998. They enjoyed working on cars together, and although they never did a lot of traveling, they did spend special family time attending car shows. John loved sharing his knowledge about cars with his kids, and he was always there to guide them when it came to their own cars. Family always came first in John’s life. As a family, they did make a memorable trip to Comic-Con in Baltimore in 2010 where they met up with friends from the Netherlands they had gotten to know through the internet.
Since 2001, John worked at Flowserve where he was known as a hard, dependable worker who often put in his share of overtime. He forged many friendships through his work there and it just won’t seem the same without him walking through the door each day or taking in his great sense of humor. John had the capacity to be freely accepting of others. He may have been a big smart aleck, but he shared his giving heart just the same. He’d do anything for anyone, and many times he’d just show up to lend a helping hand. John was admired by his kids' friends as a mentor and someone they could count on. He helped them out whenever he could by fixing their cars or letting them stay at their house if they needed a place to stay.
John was simply a big kid at heart. He liked playing video games, and he was even known to start a cake fight a time or two! He followed the Detroit Lions and Michigan State, and as a gun enthusiast, he liked shooting on his dad’s property in Richland. John was an animal lover and he always had a soft spot for the numerous cats Nikki brought into their home over the years. His favorite meal was homemade lasagna, and on TV he liked Street Outlaws and Game of Thrones. He also liked playing the game, Cards Against Humanity. John’s love of cars continued. He enjoyed fast cars, and he was definitely a Chevy man. When it came to being handy around the house, John felt duct tape and WD-40 was a good fix for practically everything!
There were many special moments in John’s life that he treasured; however, the birth of his granddaughter, Aurora, made a lasting mark on John’s heart. His open heart and loving ways were evident every moment he spent with her. He worked hard not only to provide for his family but each and every day he worked on the virtue of patience in his life. His granddaughter truly taught him the importance of slowing down and enjoying every moment life has to offer.
In the lives of those who knew him best, there wasn’t a fake bone in John’s body. He carried himself in such a way that everyone knew who he genuinely was. John believed in standing up for yourself and the importance of family and friends. Safety in many regards was important to him, and to live one’s dreams fulfills a need each of us holds close. Although it is so very difficult to understand now, John was truly convinced that everything happens for a reason. With fond memories and great times to recall, the memory of John Gilman will forever hold a special place in the hearts of everyone who came to call him son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
John Gilman, age 46, of Mattawan, died on Wednesday, October 12, 2016. Visit with his family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Monday, October 17, 2016, from 5-8pm at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where services will be held Tuesday, October 18, 2016, at 3:00pm. A luncheon reception will follow in the Life Story Center and cremation will follow the service. Members of John’s family include his wife, Nicole; parents: Johnny (Karole) Gilman and Mary Slater; three children: Amanda Dooley, Alexis Gilman (fiancé Cameron Slagle), and Brodyx Gilman; a granddaughter, Aurora; brothers and sisters: Tammi (Kevin) Franke, Michael (Amber) Slater, Katelynn (Jeffrey) Blanzy, Michelle (Marshall) Arbuckle and Melissa (Erich) Leach. John was preceded in death by his stepfather, Robert Slater and numerous friends. Please visit John’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 his John’s gofundme account.