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Life Story / Obituary
One of a kind, Niles McCullough was a wonderful man to know and love. With his outgoing, social and fun-loving nature, Niles shared the friendships of many. He enjoyed a wonderful sense of adventure in everything he did, and all life had to offer along the way. Niles loved his family and with quiet faith, he was a spiritual man who held fast to his values. For those who knew him best, Niles leaves a lasting legacy of friendship and love to all he encountered.
Although conservative in nature, the 1950s was a time when the American dream was alive and well. An all-time high, the minimum wage was $1.00 per hour, young radio listeners tuned in to Elvis, and drive-in theaters made for great summertime fun. In the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, business and industry was booming. Yet on January 9, 1958, nothing brightened the New Year more for George and Wanda (Gardner) McCullough than the birth of their little boy, Niles.
The youngest of six children, young Niles joined his older siblings, Karren, Dianne, Michael, Kevin, and Linda in their family home. His father was a hard working truck driver while his mother was a busy homemaker and later worked at a Christian book store.
Niles attended the local schools and had to repeat kindergarten as he always refused to go into class. He went on to graduate from Kalamazoo Central High School with the Class of 1976 where he was a great friend of many. Always social, there was always someone by Niles side. In his youth and beyond he loved music and dancing, and it was always a sight to see him ride his unicycle in downtown Kalamazoo. Through the years he also enjoyed his motorcycle and absolutely loved the open road before him.
In 1982, Niles met the young woman who came to be his life companion, soul mate and best friend, Deborah A. Lee. They met through her sister, and he got to know Deborah over a few drinks. That was all it took for the two to begin dating, and after falling deeply in love, they were happily joined in marriage on June 9, 1984 before a congregation of family and friends at Westwood Baptist Church. Niles was one that liked to be without a shirt or in flannel, so even at the wedding he got rid of the stuffy tuxedo shirt and went au naturel under the coat. After a memorable honeymoon at Niagara Falls, Niles and Deborah began their new lives together as husband and wife.
When it came to being a father, Niles was an example of Godly love, integrity, and honor. He was always there for his three children, Harrison, Spencer, and Leah, and he never ceased in letting them know how much he loved them. He also encouraged them to pray. Niles took an active role in the lives of his children. At times he could be kind of a goofball, but he was firm with the kids and wanted them to be the best that they could be. He was involved and there for his kids when it came to their many sporting events and other activities. And always with an encouraging word, he taught his children well and supported them in each of their endeavors. Whatever path that the children took after high school, Niles supported their decisions and was still there for them as they transitioned into adulthood.
Niles worked best with his hands. For most of his life he worked as a laborer, and most recently he took a job on the pipeline. He was quite handy, too. Niles enjoyed using his metal detector for prospecting, and he even remodeled his home and built a deck with the help of a few friends. He was also talented at fixing cars and with things around the house.
Along with his family, Niles valued and kept close to his heart good friends. He liked being around his friends where there was sure to be a good time. With his sense of adventure, it was truly a joy to share Niles’ company. Niles enjoyed life and all it had to offer. He took it in at every opportunity, never taking it for granted.
Niles loved to eat and by far his favorite included pumpkin pie and anything his wife made. He had a wonderful sense of humor, and he liked all types of rap music, especially cutting and scratching. He also liked NASCAR and attended a few races with his brother, and he enjoyed antiquing with Deborah. With his love for fishing, Niles even liked fishing programs on TV. Niles possessed a rugged sense about him. Never one for fancy hotels or the high life, he loved riding and working on his motorcycles. He traveled out west, and prospected in Arizona and Alaska which were some of the best times of his life. When it came to other TV programs, Niles’ sense of adventure was clear as he liked living-off-the-land types of shows, and the Discovery Channel. He also enjoyed watching Bob Vila’s, This Old House.
Playing the lottery using his kid’s birthdays was also something Niles enjoyed. He liked dreaming of what he could do with all that money, but then again, Niles always had a DREAM.
Niles McCullough had the biggest heart. He would help anyone, at any time, and was a faithful and dedicated husband, father, son, brother, and friend. Ever faithful, Niles was a spiritual man who relied on his faith in many ways. Always one to give, giving brought joy to his heart, and it was more important to him than receiving. Although Niles suffered from diabetes and other health issues, he kept his faith close. He will be forever remembered with joy as he is now enjoying a new journey in the arms of his Lord.
Niles R. McCullough, age 58, of Kalamazoo, died on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at home with hospice. Members of his family include his wife of 32 years, Deborah McCullough; three children: Harrison, Spencer and Leah McCullough; two granddaughters: Londyn and SaNovea; five siblings: Karren (Luppo “Dan”) Toren, Dianne (Michael) Moyer, Michael (Diana) McCullough, Kevin McCullough and Linda McCullough; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Visit with Niles’ family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Monday, January 18, 2016, 1-4 PM at Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 375-2900. Please visit Niles’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to American Diabetes Association or Youth for Christ.