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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Jonathon Wiler would agree that there was no one who met him and left unchanged. He was firmly grounded in the people and things he loved. Jonathon was deeply devoted to his family, and the love he had for his daughter was easy to see. He was accepting of everyone he met and willing to help others in any way he could. Although he was taken from his loved ones much too soon, Jon leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever cherish.
The 1970s were a time unlike any other in American history. This was the decade that witnessed the turmoil of the Watergate scandal, which put a sour taste in the mouths of many Americans when it came to political matters. This was the decade that saw the rise of Donna Summer and Olivia Newton John in the music industry and when the movie Jaws opened and was considered one of the first blockbuster films. It was during this exciting time that Dr. John and Jean (Schramm) Wiler were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as summer was drawing to a close in 1974. Their wait was over when the baby boy they named Jonathon Paul made his arrival on August 30th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was the third of four children in his family and was raised in the family home alongside his sisters, Jennifer and Jill, and his brother, Jason.
Growing up, Jonathon was a very spirited boy and kept active with a variety of interest. He loved playing hockey from a young age and continued this into high school playing for a local hockey club. He loved snow skiing and spent numerous winters with his family in Northern Michigan. Their favorite places to spend time together as a family were Schuss Mountain and Shanty Creek. Jon also enjoyed being on the water and there was plenty of opportunity for this at the family cottage on Matteson Lake in Bronson. Here, Jonathon did all sorts of water sports including slalom skiing, knee-boarding, jet skiing, tubing and wakeboarding. Jon also loved camping and just being outdoors enjoying nature whether hiking through the woods or telling stories and laughing around the campfire. He loved animals and always enjoyed the companionship of their family dog, Buster. Jonathon attended Portage Northern high school. As a student he had Dyslexia, but he persevered and went on to graduate in 1992. He went to Southern Illinois University and received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Psychology. During graduate school, Jon worked as a behavioral therapist with teens at the Illinois Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center at SIU.
After graduating, Jon was poised for a rewarding career. He was a director and therapist at the Janet Waddles Outpatient Mental Health Clinic in Rockford, IL. Jonathon was a great people person, and his work was a natural fit. He was well respected for his work with abused children, and since he could relate to people from all walks of life, he truly had such a gift when it came to working with them. Many of Jonathon’s patients stayed in contact with him for years. He also did amazing work with the Boys and Girls Club of Kalamazoo for two years as a summer camp counselor for inner-city youth in Kalamazoo, a job that he considered to be very challenging, but extremely rewarding. Jon spent the past six years living in St. Louis, and this was a great environment for him.
Jonathon was definitely a man who celebrated his life through music. He loved going to outdoor concerts, and his musical interests were as diverse as they come. Phish and The Grateful Dead were among his favorite bands, but he also liked smaller bands like Moe, String Cheese Incident and Cake. Jon loved music festivals and made yearly visits to the Bonnaroo Festival, Lollapalooza, Blues festivals in Memphis and JazzFest in New Orleans. He loved going with close friends and family and truly loved the community experienced at these events as well as the music. He loved to play cards with friends especially Poker and would often make it to the casinos, where his favorite game was roulette. He also started a tradition of river rafting and tubing in West Virginia, which he did for a number of years with a big group of close friends. Jonathon loved all professional sports, but he was always loyal to the Lions and the Red Wings.
What made Jonathon’s life even better was being with the ones he loved. It was such a blessing in his life when he became a father to his daughter, Paige Elizabeth, and it was easy to see that he deeply loved her. It never took very long after meeting Jon to end up feeling like you had been friends for years. He had such a deep love for his family, and the stories he told were usually about being proud of someone in his family.
When reflecting on the life on Jonathon Wiler, it is clear to see the impact he made in the lives of those around him. He was extremely kind and compassionate of everyone he met regardless of who they were or where they came from. There was no greater gift in Jon’s life than his family, but his friends were a close second. Truly inspiring, he will be forever missed.
Jonathon Paul Wiler, of St. Louis, MO, formerly of Kalamazoo, died November 10, 2015 in St. Louis, MO. Jonathan’s family includes his daughter, Paige Elizabeth; parents, Dr. John and Jean Wiler; 2 sisters: Jennifer (Gary) Myers and Jill Maxwell; brother, Jason (Kim) Wiler; nieces and nephews: Kolton and Kaylee, Starla, Taylor and Ryan, Nicholas, Ella and Sophia; aunts: Janice Faulk and Jane (Michael) Stevenson; and Billie Patton(Paige’s Mom); several cousins; special friends: David Lustenburger (college roommate) and Rick Kalina (mentor and guide); and many others who helped Jonathon in his darkest hours and those who were touched by Jon’s life. Jonathon was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Alvin and Marie (Fenner) Wiler and maternal grandparents, George and Josephine (Stevens) Schramm.
A memorial service was held in St. Louis, MO. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler – Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Drive (375-2900). Food and refreshments will be shared following the service in the Life Story Center. Private interment will take place in Matteson Lake Cemetery near Bronson, MI. Please visit Jonathon’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 Boys and Girls Club of Kalamazoo or Kalamazoo Alano Club Chapter of AA.