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.
6995 West KL Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Faith Baptist Church of Mattawan
56070 Murray St
Mattawan, MI 49071
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Life Story / Obituary
Lester Sirk was a proud family man and a gregarious person. He was very supportive of his children and grandchildren and was thrilled to spend time with them and his beloved wife. He loved people and never met a stranger who didn’t soon become a friend. Larger than life in his personality and deeply compassionate in his character, Les lived out his principles with joy and integrity. In a word, his family describe him as “fantastic.”
Lester was born July 5, 1937 in Wabash, Indiana as American families were struggling to make a life for their children amid the hardships of the Depression and political unrest was stirring in Europe. The middle child of Charles Sirk and Alberta Bailey’s five children, Lester was just four years old when he sustained a head injury from being struck by a laundry truck. Eventually the state removed him from his family, and he attended a state school in Ft. Wayne until the age of 16 when his sister Barbara became his guardian. At age 17, Lester took a job but was soon let go because he wasn’t legally old enough to work at a factory. At age 19, he met the young woman who would become his wife, Grace Futrell.
Playing ball at a local park in Wabash, Les and his friends spotted a group of girls riding in a car and decided to follow them. When the two groups met up, Lester happened to get paired with Grace, and from there a friendship developed. The two went on a first date to church, and six months later they married at Pilgrim Holiness Church in Wabash on March 9, 1957. Church played an important role in the couple’s life, and in time, they were living out their faith in front of children.
Possibly the happiest day of Lester’s life was when he became a father—not only of one child but two on the same day. Les and Grace adopted John (age 5) and Carol (age 3) in 1968 and became very involved in the children’s lives as they grew and thrived. In addition to having fun—shooting hoops or playing tennis and baseball—Les helped shape their lives with values and devotion. He always encouraged their efforts, showed pride in their accomplishments and disciplined out of love. He made sure the family attended church on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. Though strong in his beliefs, Les was not pushy. Rather, he lived his faith as an example of his convictions. He offered his gifts on many church boards and committees and served as a deacon. Oddly enough, even though the family lived near the church, they were routinely late for services and often the last ones to arrive.
In his 52-year career in shipping and receiving, Les worked diligently right up to his retirement in 2004 from Wells Aluminum in Parchment, where he had spent the last 20 years. For recreation, he was a long-time motorcycle enthusiast and a fan of Notre Dame football, Kentucky basketball and St. Louis Cardinal baseball. In his free time he enjoyed sewing, woodworking and baking. Frequently tuned into the game on radio or TV, Les followed such favorite players as Lou Brock and Bob Gibson. He even vacationed to St. Louis to see the Cardinals and to Wrigley Field in Chicago to watch the Cubs play the Cards. Fortunate for Grace, he also liked riding his Honda Goldwing, and the two of them made memorable trips to California, Mt. Rushmore and Niagara Falls.
When he became a grandfather, Les was eager to invest in his grandchildren’s lives as he had with his children. He played with them and spent vacations at Lake Michigan with their families. Like a kid himself, Les indulged his sweet tooth (teeth) with pie, ice cream, donuts, chocolate covered cherries and his Coca Cola; his cravings for meat lovers pan pizza and his dream of winning the scratch-off lottery. He liked telling stories, and even though he repeated them often, Les was an entertaining storyteller. Perhaps that’s why he enjoyed the ballad-style storytelling in country music and such artists as Johnny Cash singing Les’ favorite song, Ring of Fire.
Les lived his life in the same way that he taught his children and grandchildren: Be true to yourself.
Lester Sirk, age 78, of Mattawan, Michigan since 1962, went to be with the Lord on Friday, June 10, 2016. Visit with Les’ family and friends on Wednesday from 5-8 pm at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler, 6080 Stadium Drive (269-375-2900) and services will be held at 11 am on Thursday at the same location. Members of his family include his wife of 59 years, Grace; his daughter, Carol Burza; 2 grandchildren: Justin (Bethany) Burza and Brittany Burza (Fiancé Stephen Papierz); 2 great grandchildren: Alexander and Amelia; and a sister Leslie Arnold. He was preceded in death by his son John Sirk and 3 siblings. Please visit Les’ personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read his life story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Faith Baptist Church in Mattawan or the SPCA.