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.
To Help Cover Medical Expenses
In Care of Sharon Witt
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A hardworking, honorable, and highly respected man, Robert Witt was the heartbeat of wherever he went. He accomplished so many things of which to be proud, but nothing made him more proud than witnessing his family tree blossom to include the numerous branches of loved ones he adored more than life itself. A longtime resident of the community he treasured, there was no one who met Bob and wasn’t changed for the better as he was truly an inspiration in the way he lived his life. Although he was quiet and gentle, he loved laughing and having a good time with his family and friends. A sportsman, history buff, and meat and potatoes kind of guy, Bob was content in whatever life brought, fully embracing both the peaks and the valleys along his life’s journey. He will be forever missed.
During the first half of the 1940s the eyes of our nation and much of the world were focused overseas as WWII raged on throughout part of Europe and in the Pacific. Countless young servicemen and women were serving overseas while those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on common goods like paper, coffee, rubber, and sugar while manufacturing was focused on supporting the war effort. It was during this eventful time that Gordon and Beverly (Cole) Witt were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as spring enveloped the city of Plainwell, Michigan, in 1942. The big day finally arrived on April 24th when the baby boy they named Robert was born. He was the only child in his family and was the apple of his parents’ eye.
In many ways Bob was a typical young boy of his generation. His love for all sports began when he was just a young boy fishing on Duck Lake when visiting his Grandpa and Grandma Cole who lived right around the corner. Bob spent a lot of time with them as his parents both worked. Bob also spent a lot of time with his girl cousins, the Bradshaws, and they were the ones who taught him to dance. He loved tuning in to the Red Wings games on his transistor radio whenever he could. Bob attended local schools and was the captain of the Plainwell football team under Coach Streidl. Much later in life his son, Jeff, would also be a captain of the school football team, making the Witts the only father and son duo to do so. Bob went on to graduate from high school in 1961.
As a young man Bob followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and went right into the paper industry at Plainwell Paper. There, he worked in the maintenance department where he was well respected by everyone who knew him. Bob rotated shifts for a while, but he always gave his work his all. Over his 39 years of service, he worked his way up the ladder there becoming the maintenance manager. When the plant closed, he served the City of Kalamazoo for an additional 11 years as their maintenance manager.
While he was busy establishing his career, Bob became a family man. He married Gail in 1962, and although their marriage later ended in divorce he was forever grateful for the births of their three boys, Jeffrey, Jonathan, Jason. As a father Bob was an active part of his sons’ lives, and he was their biggest encourager, too. He regularly took them hunting and fishing including their annual trips in the fall to their cabin. He spent 23 years coaching his boys in Little League and rarely missed any of their baseball or high school football games through the years.
Bob was always one to keep busy. He never hired out what needed to be done including putting on a family room and deck. Bob enjoyed mowing the lawn and making food plots for hunting. A lifelong hunter, he loved bow hunting even more than rifle hunting. Bob also continued fishing throughout the majority of his life. He loved animals and always had dogs around both in and outside the house. His dogs loved when Bob shared his big bowl of popcorn with them. Bob enjoyed reading history, especially of WWII, and he was also a card player including at deer camp. Deer camp was quite the place as there was usually some kind of prank on opening day like the time someone put a coyote in someone elses sleeping bag! His 60th birthday party was a night to remember as everyone stayed up all night! Bob was extremely close to his mom until her death in 2011, often meeting her every week for a bite to eat.
New and exciting changes were in store for Bob when he met Sharon at an archery range. Deeply in love, they were married on October 18, 1997, in a hunting lodge in Virginia. The newlyweds then spent their honeymoon bow hunting. Bob and Sharon loved being together including taking trips to the cabin or to Wisconsin to visit family and friends. They also just loved being at home together, often watching sports since they were both sports fanatics. In fact, Bob rarely missed any time the Red Wings, Tigers, Lions, Michigan State Spartans, or Notre Dame were playing on television. He absolutely loved being a grandpa, and he cherished every moment he had to spend with his grandchildren. Bob had a special relationship with each of his five grandchildren, and he cherished sharing his passions like hunting and fishing with them. He was the one who bought them their first fishing poles.
In everything he did, Robert Witt was a blessing to those around him. Even when dealing with his own declining health, his first thought was of others, and his love for his family was easy to see. Bob will never be forgotten.
Robert Witt died on March 4, 2015. Bob’s family includes his wife, Sharon Witt; 4 sons: Jeffery Witt, Jonathan Witt (Laura Puwal), Jason (Kati) Witt and Matthew (Brooke) Rakoski; 5 grandchildren: Drake, Jack, Sophia, Parker and Claire; step-siblings: Pam (Dave) Ashley, Ron (Cathy) Rapa, Debby (Denny) Stora, Esther Rapa and Krista Rapa; brothers-in-law: Robert (Sally) Doster and Ralph (Marcia) Stafford; former wife, Gail (Dale) Parker; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Bob was preceded in death by his parents; stepfather, Robert Rapa, Sr.; step-siblings: Sharron (Bob) Sanders, Robert Rapa, Jr. and Jim Rapa; and brothers and sisters-in-law: Bill Doster, Harry Stafford, Bernard Stafford, Beverly Doxtater, and Ruth Sowers. Visit with family and friends on Friday from 4-7 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home-Betzler 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo- 375-2900 where services will be held Saturday 11:00 a.m. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center. Please visit 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 help cover his medical expenses – in care of Sharon Witt.