Wednesday, March 11, 2015
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
An "Irish Wake" will be celebrated.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
10:30 AM EDT
St. Augustine Cathedral
542 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
A luncheon will follow the burial in the Cathedral Center.
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.
Hackett Catholic Prep
1000 West Kilgore Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Louis and Lillian McGuire Shamrock Education Fund
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A Kalamazoo original, Louis McGuire made a significant difference in the world around him. He was the heartbeat of any gathering. As someone who was abundantly generous with his time, talents, and resources, his impact will reach beyond the people and places he touched in person. He was a natural salesman, who was innately warm and genuine. Louis had a deep commitment to the Catholic Church throughout his life and will be deeply missed while his memory is forever cherished.
Louie’s story began during a time that was as vibrant as he was. It was the Roaring Twenties when ballroom dancing, radios, and motion pictures in both color and sound were signs of the time. Cars were more affordable thanks to the assembly line while Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh took the world of flight to new heights. This was an exciting time in the lives of Louis and Lillian (Crane) McGuire as well as they were anticipating the birth of their new baby as the beauty of spring unfolded in the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1927. The baby boy they named Louis John was born on April 12th, joining his six-year-old sister, Patricia. Lou’s father, who worked as a salesman, died when Lou was just thirteen. This sent his mom into the workforce as the office manager for the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund in Kalamazoo.
In many ways Louis, or Louie or Lou as he was also known, experienced a typical childhood. He attended St. Augustine’s school where he played both basketball and football during his high school years. He was a key player on the St. A’s basketball team that went all of the way to the state semifinals in 1944. Throughout his life Lou remained an avid booster of St. A’s (and later Hackett’s) sports program.
In April of 1945, Lou graduated a few months before the rest of his high school class and enlisted in the Navy. Lou was sent to Hawaii, hitchhiking back to Michigan from San Diego when he was discharged at the end of the war. Upon his return to Kalamazoo, he continued his education, earning his BA from Western Michigan University in 1950.
Not to be forgotten during Louie’s years as a young man was his introduction to the woman of his dreams. Her name was Betty Lowry, and they met at the ice cream shop in Oakland Pharmacy. Although Betty already had a date with Lou’s cousin, Lou was completely smitten by her and invited her to accompany him to a formal party. She was more than happy to oblige, and the rest is history as they say. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Louis and Betty were married on February 11, 1950, at St. Augustine Church.
After enjoying a honeymoon in Chicago at the Palmer House, the newlyweds moved to Ludington where their daughter, Connie, was born in December of 1951. To support his family, Lou made a career in sales. He started as an assistant manager at Montgomery Ward, but in 1954 he found his niche when he went to work at KVP, a paper products company in Kalamazoo. Lou loved his work, which sometimes included sales trips to visit customers across the country. He was a natural salesman, as he was personable and had a way of easily connecting with people. Although he began his career in Kalamazoo, Lou’s job later took the family to Connecticut for four years, to Texas for three years, and then to Chicago for eleven years. Finally, in 1970 he was transferred back to Kalamazoo where he remained for the rest of his career until retiring in 1989 after 37 years of dedicated service.
Lou was forever a bustle of activity with numerous interests and a large circle of friends. He was a lifelong member of St. Augustine, volunteered with Loaves and Fishes, and regularly donated blood at the American Red Cross. Together, he and Betty enjoyed traveling and made several trips to Ireland as he was an Irishman to his core. An avid and competitive golfer, Lou had two documented holes in one. He was a huge fan of Notre Dame sports and was a member of the Notre Dame Club of Kalamazoo. In addition, Lou was a member of the Irish American Club and a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus. In 2001, Lou shared his enthusiasm for his Irish heritage with the community by co-founding Kalamazoo’s St. Patrick's Day Parade and was named grand marshal of the event in 2005. Lou loved dressing up for St. Patrick’s Day and enjoyed traditional Irish food including lamb and Jameson Irish Whiskey.
There was nothing that made Lou prouder than becoming a grandfather to Elizabeth and Alice (aka A & E). He was an active part of his granddaughters’ lives and loved doting over them and spoiling them whenever he could. A kid at heart, he enjoyed joking around with his granddaughters and was known to wear plastic glasses with a fake nose attached to get their attention. The girls often stayed with Lou and Betty (aka G & G) for a week or two in the summer and sometimes during winter break as well. In fact, Louie took them on the adventure of a lifetime on a trip to Ireland in 1998. Every Christmas he had a car full of presents for his granddaughters, and he was always taking pictures to remember these special times. Although Lou was deeply saddened by Betty’s death in 2010, he did find comfort in the love of his family.
Described as engaging, thoughtful, enthusiastic, and friendly, there was no one quite like Louis McGuire. He enjoyed a good joke and even during his sunset years, when dealing with declining health, he could find the humor in things. Lou could be stubborn, but it was only because he was also passionate, and his zest for life was contagious. He will never be forgotten.
Louis J. McGuire died on March 9, 2015, in Kalamazoo. Lou’s family includes his daughter, Connie McGuire (Tim Richards); 2 granddaughters: Elizabeth (Matthew) Ugarph and Alice Richards and numerous nieces and nephews. Louis was preceded in death by his wife, Betty, and by his sister, Patricia Hammer. An “Irish Wake” will be held Wednesday from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive; 375-2900 Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday 10:30 a.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral. Burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery followed by a luncheon in the church hall. Please visit Louis’ 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 the Louis and Lillian McGuire Shamrock Education Fund c/o Hackett Catholic Prep.