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Life Story / Obituary
Larry Briggs was a man who never had to look far to see the beauty of life. He had the ability to see what many spend a lifetime only dreaming of. Larry didn’t live in the past and he didn’t live in the future. Instead, he lived in the present moment—something many people strive for a lifetime to achieve. By living in the present moment Larry lived surrounded by the everyday splendor of life as it unfolded each and every day. Larry was a remarkable man who knew who he was and knew, too, what made him happy and content in life.
Think back for a minute to the late 1940’s. It was a pretty good time to be born and to grow up in America. WWII was ending and a new, exciting spirit was growing fast all across the country. January 29, 1943, a Friday, was by far the most exciting day of the year for Clyde and Melba (Marshall) Briggs when their precious newborn son, Larry, came into this world. The Briggs’ truly became a family on that day. And eventually, young Larry was joined by two beautiful sisters, Shirley and Susan. Growing up and life, in general, wasn’t always easy at that time but Larry’s parents worked hard to make ends meet and to provide well for him and his sisters. All in all, Larry had a pretty typical childhood for that day and time and graduated with pride in 1962 from Portage High School.
Then one very special night Larry’s life took an exciting turn and changed forever. It was the night he met the girl of his dreams, an absolutely lovely gal by the name of Regina Brooks. Larry was with a buddy of his at Blue Crystal Lanes, a well-known and popular bowling alley on Bank Street in Kalamazoo. Little did Larry know as he walked into the place that evening that this would be a night to remember forever. Larry and Regina were attracted to each right away, they fell quickly in love and, well, you know the rest of the story. Six months later, on Saturday, September 14, 1968, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the excited young couple declared their love for each other and were pronounced Man and Wife before a Justice of the Peace. As the story goes, Larry was more practical than romantic, meaning the proposal and the acceptance were pretty much straight to the point. Larry said, “I love you. Will you marry me?” And Regina said, “I guess so!” And it worked! As time went on, Larry and Regina’s family grew to include six beautiful children named Angela, Jamie, Lisa, Daniel, Matthew, and Ashley.
Being practical was Larry’s nature. It was a beautiful thing in its own special way, and it came from deep within him. It is what gave him the power to just do things. That was Larry, he was always free to be practical and to enjoy being so on a daily basis. He was a casual, everyday guy who didn’t see any reason to dress up. The need to buy the latest of this or that was not important in his life. But to fix and figure out and repair things because they were still usable, that was important and is the very thing that made Larry standout from the crowd.
To say Larry Briggs was a hard worker is an understatement for sure. Why? Because he worked 43 years (that’s a lot of years!) as a garbage man in the Kalamazoo area for Republic Waste (formerly Allied Waste and Michigan Disposal before that), retiring finally in 2009. When the kids were young he would take them with him sometimes on the rides and they remember those rides to this very day. Some people might wonder if Larry enjoyed his job. He did indeed! He liked the freedom the job gave him in the truck. Yes, it was long, hard work, especially in the winter months with snow and freezing temperatures. But Larry was committed to the job and rarely missed a day of work. And then, at the end of a long work day, the boys fondly remember their dad coming home and playing ball with them well into the evening. Family was important to Larry. He was always there for his children and was supportive of them in all their endeavors.
Larry wasn’t all work and no play, however, especially in his retirement. Although this sounds like work to most people, Larry liked to pass the time by washing and waxing the car. He also loved following the Detroit Tigers and the Lions. More than that, though, he loved watching movies, particularly action films and SciFi movies, which, by the way, made it easy for the family to choose Christmas presents for him! Christmas and all the joy, and food , and celebrating that came with it was special to Larry and to the whole family.
Larry Briggs leaves all of us a marvelous legacy showing how life can be extremely fulfilling, meaningful, and rewarding. Throughout his life he shared the value of hard work with his children and all others who knew him. He lived a life that that demonstrated the goodness of treating others the way you would want to be treated, and he showed the importance of being devoted to his family. Perhaps most of all Larry adored his six grandchildren and two great-grandsons. He loved nothing more than just hanging out with them. Larry will be remembered forever in the hearts and minds of his family and all who knew him.
Larry Briggs, age 73, of Portage passed away on Wednesday November 16, 2016 at Rose Arbor Hospice with his loving family by his side. He was born on January 29, 1943 the son of Clyde and Melba (Marshall) Briggs and has lived in the Kalamazoo/Portage area his entire life. Members of his family include his wife Regina of 48 years, children: Jamie (Pam) Briggs, Lisa (Chris) Campbell, Daniel Briggs, Matthew (Melissa) Briggs and Ashley (Sandy) Briggs. Other members of his family include his 6 grandchildren: Austin, Keegan, Tyler, Dylan, Andrea, Cassandra and 2 great grandsons: Ryder and Owen and 2 sisters: Shirley Riggs and Susan McNutt. He was preceded in death by his daughter Angela. Visit with Larry’s family and friends on Friday from 5-8 pm at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 . Funeral Services will be held on Saturday at 11am at the same location. Burial will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Please visit Larry’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 a charity of your choice.