Thursday, June 9, 2016
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Epic Life Church
915 Round Lake Road
White Lake, MI 48383
Larry wanted a Colorful Celebration of Life, please come dressed in colorful clothing. Also come prepared to share how Larry impacted your life. The sharing will begin at 7:30PM.
Food and refreshments will be served.
Friday, June 10, 2016
10:00 AM EDT
Epic Life Church
915 Round Lake Road
White Lake, MI 48383
Colorful Celebration of Life, colorful attire is encouraged.
A luncheon will follow the services at Edgewood Country Club (8399 Commerce Road, Commerce, MI 48382).
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.
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
This memorial fund was started by the Betzler family in honor of Larry's twin brother Gary, when he passed away. The Beagle Open benefits local Boy Scouts in southeast Michigan to attend camp. Gary and his boys are life long scouts.
Covenant House of Michigan
2959 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Detroit, MI 48208
This was one of Larry's favorite charities. Covenant House provides shelter and guidance for homeless teenagers and kids throughout the Detroit area. Larry was considered an "Innkeeper" for his dedication to supporting this cause.
Epic Life Church
915 Round Lake Road
White Lake, MI 48386
As one of the church's earliest members and close friends of the founding pastors Dave and Jill Dryer, Larry came to Epic Life each week to reconnect with his friends and God.
PO Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208
Known for their success in providing aid in times of crisis throughout the world. Deeply moved by the traumatic experiences Syrian refugees have been facing daily for the past 5 years, Larry recently discovered Mercy Corps because of their efforts to help bring aid to this large body of refugees and specifically asked that they be considered for future donations in his honor.
532 Highland Road
Highland, MI 48357
When Larry fell quite ill during his time at Boot Camp after being drafted into service, a volunteer from the Salvation Army came and sat by his side day in and day out while he recovered. With no family nearby, this volunteer gave him the encouragement to get well and since then Larry always felt touched by the work of this organization.
Life Story / Obituary
Through the life he lived each day, Larry Betzler brightened the lives of so many around him. He was a hardworking man of honor and integrity with a spirit of generosity that was beyond compare. Completely devoted to his family, Larry was a loving husband, father, grandpa, brother, uncle, and friend who loved preserving his family’s past to make connections to the future. He accomplished so much of which to be proud, yet he was humble and compassionate in everything he did. Life was not without times of trial for Larry, but his courage and strength were truly inspiring. Deeply loved, he will never be forgotten.
During the first half of the 1940s America’s attention was focused overseas as WWII raged on. With the end of the war in 1945, manufacturing was no longer focused on supporting the war effort and rationing was no longer in place. It was during this time of change that Roy, Sr. and Edna (Gable) Betzler were pleased to announce the birth of their twin boys, Larry and Gary, on January 19, 1947, in Providence Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Gary was technically older by ten minutes, and the boys were always very close. Raised in the family home at 11377 Mark Twain in Detroit, Larry was one of six children in the Betzler home as he joined not only his twin brother in the family, but also his older brother, Roy, and his younger siblings, Ralph, Tommy, and Dennis “Bucky.” He was close to his parents and also to his siblings.
In many ways, Larry experienced a typical upbringing. Theirs was a traditional family where Larry’s father worked selling batteries and tires at Montgomery Wards while his mother was a homemaker. As a family they enjoyed annual vacations at Houghton Lake every August, and at times various cousins came, too. Larry and his brothers all had a paper route at one point, he enjoyed playing pickup ball at the green belt, and all the boys loved sliders from White Castle. Larry was always a thinker who thought things through, and he could also be serious and precise. He graduated from Our Lady Gate of Heaven Grade School in 1961 and Detroit Cathedral High School in 1965 where he lettered as a fullback on the football team. Even as a young man Larry was the sort of guy who knew what he wanted and was willing to work toward that goal. This was illustrated when he was pumping gas at the station where he worked and noticed a woman in her 1959 Ford Skyliner convertible. He told her to let him know if she wanted to sell it, and she ended up selling it to him! In 1963, Larry’s dad died of a massive heart attack, which greatly influenced Larry. He did a lot of medical research, and this helped him later on with his sales and application of much of the equipment he sold.
After graduating from high school, Larry was ready for all that life had in store. He spent a couple of years working odd jobs before being drafted in the Army on October 27, 1967. Larry did two tours of duty in Vietnam from June of 1968 through August of 1970. He was an SP 5 Communication Specialist assigned to the 4th Infantry installing forward communications. He served in Pleiku and Quin Ohon, Vietnam, and there were only a handful of these specialists. Larry’s work there was very dangerous, but in an effort to keep his younger brother, Ralph, from getting drafted and sent to Vietnam, Larry reenlisted for a second tour. Ralph did end up getting drafted but was only required to serve in Korea during the Vietnam period because of Larry’s selfless act. Larry was a proud veteran, but he opposed the war. His experience of war taught him to preach peace, and later in life during the George W. Bush presidency, he went to Washington D.C. to help propose a Department of Peace to spread the message of peace to various senators.
Although his work provided him with so much of which to be proud, there was nothing that was of greater significance in Larry’s life than the people he loved. For a time he mentored an 11 year old boy named Jake, and the difference Larry made in his journey was significant. Life was forever changed for him when he met a woman named April Berlinski, they met through a mutual friend. They got to know one another over time and were married on April 29, 1979. Larry legally adopted April's daughter, Bri, and together they had a second daughter, Bethany. These girls were such a blessing in Larry’s life as he had also been a father to three sons, Brandon, Benjamin, and Bernard, who sadly died shortly after birth. Although he and April divorced in October of 2000, they remained friends.
Eager to learn, Larry earned his Bachelors of Science at Northwood University of Midland, Michigan. Since he was working full-time at St. Jude Medical, he took classes part-time. At St. Jude he hired the sales representatives and the clinicians who were in the surgical rooms. Throughout his career he worked in sales for Lynn Medical, Roche Medical, Medical Incorporated and St. Jude Medical. In 2009, Larry retired as regional sales clinical manager for all states East of the Mississippi River.
Larry met Colleen Kilpatrick while she was looking at homes in his neighborhood. As fate would have it, she ended up purchasing his next door neighbor’s home. Even his neighbor thought she would be good for Larry as he told Larry that he did him a huge favor by selling his home to a pretty single lady. After falling in love, Larry and Colleen were married in a garden in Ann Arbor on December 21, 2015, several years after they met. During recent years they were lighthouse curators in the Ludington area, and Larry loved this experience. Although he was diagnosed with glioblastoma this past September, he was so proud to walk Bri down the aisle this past April.
Throughout his life Larry was one to keep busy. Within his community he was president of West Bloomfield Toastmaster for a time, and he also started the adult pickle ball program at the Muir School and YMCA in addition to being an active player. He spent time with his daughter Bethany cleaning up neighborhoods and alleys of Detroit and would participate in community meetings sharing ideas of how to make improvements. Larry was also a member of Epic Life Church in White Lake. He was the family historian who spent countless hours preserving the family archive of photos, letters, and films, tracing the Betzler family back to when they arrived in Philadelphia in 1850 from Oberkochen, Germany. He made contact with people all over the country to help piece everything together. Larry had a deep love for nature, natural foods and vitamins and appreciated all of God’s creation whether he was hiking, bird-watching, or just enjoying time outside. He was into recycling and reusing before it was popular.
Selfless, humble, and giving, Larry Betzler was a blessing in the lives of everyone he met. He was a man of faith who was content to give to others completely behind the scenes. Truly extraordinary, Larry will be forever missed.
Larry Betzler died June 5, 2016. Larry is survived by his wife, Colleen Kilpatrick; 2 daughters: Bri (Mike) Ryan and Bethany Betzler (Kumar Raj); 2 grandchildren: Avery and Braden; brothers: Roy Jr. (Rose) Betzler and Dennis “Bucky” (Jo) Betzler; sisters-in-law: Betty and Julie Betzler; and several cousins, nieces and nephews. Larry was preceded in death by 3 brothers: his twin, Gary, Ralph and Thomas. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Thursday for Larry’s Colorful Celebration of Life (colorful attire encouraged) from 4-8 p.m. at the Epic Life Church, 915 Round Lake Rd; White Lake, time of sharing will take place at 7:30 p.m. Colorful Celebration Services will be held on Friday 10 a.m. at the church (colorful attire encouraged). Following the service, food and fellowship will be shared at Edgewood Country Club (8399 Commerce Road, Commerce, MI 48382). Cremation will take place following the service. Please visit Larry’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo of him and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the Beagle Open, Covenant House of Michigan, Epic Life Church, Mercy Corps or Salvation Army. Arrangements by Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler – Kalamazoo (800) 822-7594.