Sunday, July 26, 2015
3:00 PM to 5:00 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.
The ALS Association
PO Box 6051
Albert Lea, MN 56007
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Larry Kline would agree that he was larger than life. He was a man who knew what he liked and although he could be stubborn at times, he was passionate about the people and things he loved. Larry liked fast cars and anything that seemed like an adventure, and it has been said that he was a kid at heart who never wanted to grow up. When it came to his family his love was endless, and it was easy to see that his daughter and grandchildren, were the light of his life. He had the most beautiful blue puppy dog eyes, and he was known to manipulate a few things using his amazing eyes. Fun-loving, courageous, and strong, Larry will be deeply missed.
It seems only fitting that Larry’s story began during a time that was as colorful as he was. It was the 1950s when blue jeans became part of our wardrobe, James Dean made young girls swoon on the silver screen, and Elvis was king. It was just as this decade was getting started that Andrew and Jennie (Karman) Kline were filled with joy when they adopted their three week old bundle of joy. Born Larry Wayne on December 22nd, he was joined in his family by his older sister, Pamela, who was also adopted. She was four years older, and although he was a bundle of energy he was quiet by nature. His father worked as a machinist while his mother worked in the cafeteria at Loy Norrix High School. Larry loved golf and played Little League baseball for a time. He also bowled throughout his entire life. He attended local schools, although school wasn’t his thing. In fact, he skipped school - a lot - but they finally gave him a passing grade just to be rid of him! Larry did graduate from Loy Norrix High School in 1971.
Life was forever changed for Larry when he met a young woman named Bonnie at a local gas station in June of 1969. He was driving his dad’s truck at the time, but he ended up having to drive Bonnie’s sister Pat’s car when he dropped the transmission on his dad’s truck. They started dating, and since she was one year his senior at Parchment, they were married on May 14, 1971, the same year he graduated. For their honeymoon, the newlyweds went up to Hart and went horseback riding. Together they were thrilled with the birth of their daughter, Jenifer, in 1974. As a father Larry was an active part of his daughter’s life, and one of their favorite things to do was to play Atari games together. He was fiercely protective of his girl, and they shared the same sense of humor that was quick witted, silly, and off the wall. It was common for them to play off one another, bantering back and forth. Larry passed his love for cars on to her to some extent, and he taught Jenifer how to drive go-carts and a stick shift. He also saw to it that she knew how to properly clean a car. Larry, Bonnie, and Jenifer played progressive rummy for hours on end, and he also played cards with friends regularly. When Larry was mad, he only had to give Jenifer “the look,” and interestingly, she also mastered giving the same look to her own kids later in life! As a family they enjoyed going to car shows, and although he was very frugal when it came to his money, Larry loved to spoil his daughter at Christmas. Although he and Bonnie divorced in 2004, they remained best friends.
To support his family, Larry did a variety of things. He was primarily self-employed including as a co-owner of a go-cart track, “Sprinkle Road Grand Prix.” Together he and his friend operated the track for two years, beginning in 1982. The pair also worked on go-carts during this time. Larry later established Custom Car Care, painting cars and doing bodywork. He was very talented in his work, and this was a business he operated for many years. Larry came to his most recent job as the service manager at Wal-Mart on Gull Road in 2004. Although he greatly preferred being self-employed, it was easier to have a “regular” job in some ways.
As his family and friends can attest, Larry was a car guy through and through. He was a charter member of the Rod Benders - Street Rod Club. Some of Larry’s favorite cars included the 1937 black Ford that he built himself, his1955 Chevy Delivery, his 1929 Ford, his 1996 Dodge pickup, which he only recently got rid of as well as his first love, his 1959 Chevy Impala and his ultimate dream car, his 1932 Vicky. These were only some of the cars that Larry owned. Although he wasn’t one for traveling, he did travel to car events. Larry watched car races on television and really, racing was just part of who he was. He raced up at Martin Speedway and also watched races at Galesburg and Kalamazoo. Larry taught Jarrett, who just turned 16, how to drive and also let him drive his 1969 Chevelle home from school on his 16th birthday.
Throughout his life, Larry was a man of many interests. He was not much of a cook, although he did like meatballs, baked beans, strawberry shortcake, and Chips Ahoy cookies. Larry also drank at least a quart of chocolate milk a day and liked his coffee. Although he didn’t have pets of his own, he did like animals. His favorite song was “Last Kiss” by J Frank Wilson, and his favorite movie was American Graffiti.
Described as spirited, full of life, and adventurous, Larry Kline was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was laid back and cool as a cucumber, yet he could also be quietly stubborn. Larry was a charmer who used these skills to their full advantage, and he was selfless when it came to helping others at the drop of a hat. He will never be forgotten.
Larry W. Kline, of Kalamazoo, died on July 21, 2015 in Kalamazoo. Larry’s family includes his daughter, Jenifer (Andy) Junde; 4 grandchildren: Amy (Jeremy) Knapp, Jarrett Eaton, Jaden Eaton and Austin Junde; 3 great-grandchildren: Hayden, Bailey and Kaylynn; best friends and mother of Jenifer, Bonnie Kline and sister-in-law, Pat Hubbard. Larry was preceded in death by his parents and by his sister, Pamela Graham. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Sunday from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home-Betzler, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo- 375-2900 where services will be held Monday 1:00 p.m. Burial at Riverside Cemetery (all are encouraged to drive their hotrod). Please visit Larry’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.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 ALS.