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Go Fund Me
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Life Story / Obituary
Taken from his loved ones much too soon, Sam Bierlein was a free-spirited, energetic, and fun-loving man who wasn’t afraid to do things his own way. He lived life to the fullest, and loved sharing his joys and passions with the ones he loved. Deeply devoted to his family and friends, Sam was a family man through and through who was continually putting the needs others ahead of his own. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
The 1970s were an exciting time in American history. Disco, classic rock from Pink Floyd, The Doors, and Van Halen and shows like the Brady Bunch and Dallas were all part of the cultural fabric of our nation at the time. Amidst this eventful time was the year 1976 when Randy and Leslie Bierlein were pleased to announce the birth of their twin baby boys on September 25, 1976, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Samuel Ray was the second of six children as he was joined in his family by his older brother, Jonah, and his younger siblings, Lauren, Alex, and Riese, along with his twin brother, Peter, in the family. His father is a business owner while his mother works in administration. In many ways Sam was a young boy of his generation. He attended local schools including Loy Norrix High School before transferring to Mattawan High School when his family moved to Mattawan. After graduating from high school in 1995, Sam started working as a delivery man, first for Budweiser Distributor before moving to Paw Paw Wine Distributor.
Throughout his life there was never anything of greater importance in Sam’s life than his loved ones. A kid at heart himself, he was so happy to be a father to his two sons, Jacob and Joey, whom he had with his first wife, Kelli Skillman (Ingraham). Sam was also a fun-loving uncle who was forever playing with the kids. It was about five years ago that Sam met Nicole Lash at a friend’s party, and it didn’t take them long to discover that they were meant to be as they noticed that they had similar tattoos on their wrists as they went to shake hands. Nicole was equally smitten by the fact that Sam had some other tattoos, a mohawk, and a pretty sweet motorcycle. After falling in love, Sam and Nicole were married on June 13, 2015, while in Jamaica for a two week stay. Although it was just the two of them there, they celebrated their marriage with their families during a reception after they got home. Sam and Nicole often went out on motorcycle rides, both long and short, and their longest ride together was to Niagara Falls. Although that was quite a lengthy trip, his longest ride was when he went to New Jersey to see him mom by himself. Presently, Sam had five motorcycles, and they took up so much room in the garage that Nicole was only able to park in there during the winter! He also loved the companionship of his dog, Neo.
His love of motorcycles also extended to the motocross track. He started riding when he was in his mid-twenties and was hooked for the rest of his life. For Sam, riding dirt bikes (or as he called them, “dirt scooters”) reflected his passion for life. It wasn’t just about riding the bike around the track; it was a way for him to live his life with admirable abandon. It was a trait that rubbed off on all those around him. As he rode with other bikers, he always pushed everyone around him to keep up. As his friend Brian put it, “He wanted everyone else to enjoy the ride as much as he did.” It also gave him a chance to work on something because he loved fixing up his bikes and other mechanical devices, sometimes in his garage and sometimes in his living room.
Sam was a good cook as it has been said that he made the best eggs. Actually, pretty much anything he made was fantastic. He liked rock ’n roll, and during his Budweiser days he collected Bud memorabilia. Sam had a pop machine in his garage, thanks to his brother Peter since he was the one who talked Sam into buying it. Interestingly, it is a Pepsi machine that has mostly Coke products.
Vibrant, adventurous, and oh so funny, Samuel Bierlein was a blessing to everyone he met. He was generous, even selfless, and his devotion to his friends and loved ones was unmatched. Sam was never one to get wrapped up in the hard times that came his way, rather, his mission in life was to live in each and every moment he was given. Although he will be forever missed, Sam will never be forgotten.
Samuel Ray Bierlein, of Portage passed away on Friday, September 16, 2016. Sam’s family includes his wife, Nicole; two sons: Jacob and Joey Bierlein, of Portage; mother: Leslie (Bernard) Diffin, of NJ; father: Randy (Sue) Bierlein, of Caledonia; siblings: Jonah (Melissa) Bierlein, CA; twin brother: Peter (Cecily) Bierlein, of Portage; Lauren Apperley (Mason Sugden), of Kalamazoo; Alex (Christie) Bierlein, of Kalamazoo; Riese Bierlein, of Grand Rapids; grandma: Sharon Mathiasson, of Three Rivers, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles. He is also survived by his mother and father-in-laws: Bill and Mattie Lash; sister-in-laws: Megan (Jesse) Muma, grandparent-in-laws: Gary and Shirley McGruder; The family will receive friends on Tuesday, from 4-7 p.m. at Life Story Funeral Home, 5975 Lovers Lane, Portage (269-344-5600). The memorial service will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Please visit Sam’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign the guestbook, share a memory and/or photo. Those who wish may make contributions to a Go Fund Me account that has been started by the family (https://www.gofundme.com/slammysfund).