Monday, February 9, 2015
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
11:00 AM EST
Second Christian Reformed Church
3015 Nichols Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49004
A luncheon will follow in the church hall.
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.
Children's Education Fund c/o Elizabeth Gibbs
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
There was no one who met Kristopher Gibbs and wasn’t changed for the better. He was genuine and hard working with an outstanding personality and a contagious zest for life that was easy to see. A man of his word, Kris kept the promises and commitments he made no matter the personal sacrifice to do so. He and his wife shared a love that most can only dream of, and out of that love came the daughters who were his greatest source of pride and joy. With unwavering strength and courage, Kris faced whatever came his way while never losing sight of who he wanted to be. Although a man of many talents, Kris was humble and generous in the way he approached everyone he met. A loving husband, devoted father, and loyal friend, he will be deeply missed and forever cherished by all who were blessed to know and love him.
The 1970s were an eventful time in American history when Watergate, disco, and the digital revolution colored the cultural fabric of our nation. It was as this decade was drawing to a close that Bob and Karen Gibbs were anxiously anticipating the birth of their first baby in 1978 as winter loomed on the horizon in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Their wait was over on December 1st when the baby boy they named Kristopher Michael made his arrival. He was two and a half years older than his brother, Ryan, and most of his childhood was spent in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The two brothers were best buds, and later on he also became an outstanding older brother to both Dave and Eric. Kris just handled things when it came to his brothers, and he modeled strong ethics and morals.
Kris was a bustle of activity right from the start. He was very artistic early on and could draw in perspective when he was only four. Kris became interested in Marvel comic books and later drew many of his favorite characters. He loved Batman and Spiderman, and for a time he even thought he was Batman, making his own costume. Kris was very athletic and enjoyed rollerblading, basketball, baseball, and street hockey. All boy, he broke his arm in kindergarten and never cried, demonstrating a strength that would follow him throughout his entire life. Kris attended local schools including Hackett Catholic Central for a year and Kalamazoo Central High School for the remainder of his high school days.
After graduating from high school in 1997, Kris was ready for all that life had in store. He worked at some local body shops while earning his associate’s degree at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. From there he got his foot in the door at Triad working as a service technician, but he later moved his way up the ladder as he then became the assistant service manager and then the parts manager. Kris was well loved by his coworkers and quickly recognized for his effectiveness as he seemed to be a natural. He constantly kept breaking performance based records, too.
It was when Kris was eleven that he suffered liver failure. Shortly thereafter, he underwent transplant surgery that was considered a success for 18 years until he experienced rejection. This made Kris very sick, and he was never quite the same. He received a transplant again, however, it wasn’t nearly as effective.
New and exciting days were on the horizon for Kris when he became reacquainted with a young girl whom he had known since he was in the sixth grade and she was in the second grade. Her name was Elizabeth Nichols, and he remembered her when he saw her working as a pharmacy technician at Meijer where he went to pick up his medications, but it was at a Bible study movie night that they actually reconnected. Kris got her phone number that night, and the rest is history as they say. They dated here and there for a couple of years, and on February 9, 2008, he proposed to his sweetheart on bended knee. Kris and Elizabeth were married in an intimate outdoor ceremony at her grandparents’ old house in Mesick on June 6, 2009, and they had a full reception at Fr. Bart Hall at St. Mary’s the following November.
The newlyweds initially rented a duplex, and it was the following April when they learned they were expecting a baby. The following September they bought a house, and in January of 2011 they welcomed their daughter, Natalie, into their hearts and home, joining their Rottweiler, Baby, in the family. Kris was an amazing father who jumped right into caring for Natalie from the first night she was born. He kept a close eye on Natalie even while they were still in the hospital allowing Elizabeth to get some much-needed rest.
The arrival of “baby Nora” completed their family two years later. Even when battling his sickness Kris was happy to get up to care for his girls, and he loved doing things like taking them out for ice cream in his beloved 1977 Grand Prix. They also took rides to the Gilmore Car Museum or to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. Kris was always patient with his girls which he frequently demonstrated as he taught Natalie to work with Legos step by step as he was all about making memories even in the little things together.
A man of many interests, Kris lived every moment to the fullest. He had a very eclectic taste in music including classic rock and bands like Green Day, but with his short attention span he rarely listened to an entire song. As someone who appreciated special effects, Kris enjoyed action movies and Star Wars, and he also loved the special effects on his x-box games. An avid sports fan, he loved going to see the Pistons or Notre Dame basketball games. Kris loved Big Burrito and his mom’s chicken and dumplings as well as going to Coney Island downtown.
With a strong and unwavering faith, Kristopher Gibbs exemplified what it means to live like Christ in the way he loved his family, in the way he embraced both the peaks and valleys equally, and in the way he genuinely cared for everyone he met. He had a quick wit and a great sense of humor, although people certainly had to work to get him to laugh. Kris could take everything in stride, never sweating the small stuff, and he was a straight shooter who told it like it was. He treasured his roles as a husband and father, and his devotion to his extended family was easy to see as well. Taken from his loved ones much too soon, Kris will be deeply missed but never forgotten.
Kristopher Gibbs, of Otsego, died on February 5, 2015, in Chicago. Kristopher’s family includes his wife, Elizabeth Gibbs; 2 daughters: Natalie and Nora; mother and step-father, Karen and Al Burkholder; father, Bob Gibbs; 2 brothers: Dave Burkholder and his son, Dillon, and Eric Burkholder; grandparents: Nancee Cyr and Diane Gibbs; 2 nieces: Grace and Tyler, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Kris was preceded in death by his brother, Ryan Gibbs in 2002. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Monday from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 375-2900. Services will be held Tuesday 11:00 a.m. at the Second Christian Reformed Church (3015 Nichols Rd.) followed by a luncheon in the church hall. Burial at Mt. EverRest Cemetery. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to his children’s education fund c/o Elizabeth Gibbs.