Sunday, March 13, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served. The rosary will be recited at 7:30 PM.
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.
St. Vincent dePaul Society
513 Eleanor Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
It was easy to love Sam Roschek. For 73 years, and with ways all his own, he brought love and laughter to those around him. A friend of many, he was very social and could strike up a conversation with anyone. Although at times he had the demeanor of “Archie Bunker”, Sam was ever giving and helpful to those around him. Above all, his greatest joy was found in the family he loved. A special man in the hearts of those he leaves behind, Sam will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.
By 1942, World War II had captured the hearts of many as news of the day included the perils of war and the sacrifices of battle. In the U.S., young men not in uniform were often found dancing the jitterbug with their saddle-shoed sweethearts, or taking in a picture show. Women began entering the work force in droves, and rationing was commonplace on the home front. Michigan factories went from making refrigerators, automobiles and vacuum cleaners to tank engines, aircraft parts and arsenal. It was during this time of change when Norbert L. and Mary (Flera) Roschek of Kalamazoo, Michigan welcomed the birth of their son, Norbert “Sam” Roschek on August 8, 1942.
Sam’s father worked at Kelly Inc. making inks for the cereal boxes for the Kellogg Company while his mother remained at home as a homemaker and beautician. The middle child of three boys, Sam grew up alongside his brothers, Dick and Sid on Walnut Street in downtown Kalamazoo where the Roscheks made their home. As a youngster Sam loved baseball and adventure with his brothers and neighborhood friends while attending St. Joseph Elementary School. As a family they enjoyed gathering at Pine Lake for summer fun and Rex Avenue for extended family pot lucks where numerous memories were made.
During his youth, Sam and his friends loved drag racing on I-94 before the highway was built. He attended St. Augustine High School and graduated in 1960. As a senior, he met the young woman who forever changed his heart. Ann was the daughter of a Methodist minister. As the story has been told over and over, Ann was the third stand-in on a blind date he was set-up on, but something clearly clicked between them. They went to the local teen hang out, Swartz’, where Ann fell in love with Sam’s humor and gift for gab. She soon came to love the entire Roschek clan! After dating for over 4 years, they were joined in holy matrimony on October 24, 1964 at St. Joseph Church. They honeymooned at the “summer home” of the bride’s parents at Spider Lake in Traverse City which made for a romantic getaway, even though there was no heat in the little log cabin!
Although Sam wasn’t working yet, the young couple bought a home with a loan they managed to acquire on Sam’s "earning potential" as he recently graduated from Detroit Barber School. They established residence in south Portage, the middle of nowhere, as some relatives believed. Sam and Ann welcomed the addition of their two daughters in their cozy two bedroom home. Pam came along in 1966 and Christine followed in 1967. From their earliest years, Sam raised his daughters to be independent and treated them like adults, teaching them valuable life lessons. He was always there for them, and every now and then he’d surprise them by leaving a $20 bill in their car.
Sam managed the new barbershop at Meijer Thrifty Acres on South Westnedge when it opened in 1964. He worked many hours, often from 9AM until 9PM, six days a week. Ann and the girls always waited for Sam and they usually didn’t sit down for dinner as a family until 10PM. In 1977, Sam was hired on to work in maintenance at Upjohn where he remained until retiring. It wasn’t his favorite job but the hours allowed him to spend more time with family (no more late night dinners!) and the opportunity to chaperone his girl’s school trips.
Through the years Sam enjoyed great times fishing with his family at various lakes throughout the area. Having come from a very large family, they regularly visited family members who lived all over. Later, Sam came to take care of his many aging aunts and uncles. Another example of Sam’s giving and loving heart, Sam served his church with a servant’s heart. Ann worked at St. Catherine’s as the church secretary and bookkeeper for 30 years and together they were very active and social there. Sam liked a good game of pinochle, and after retiring in 2005, he enjoyed helping with funeral luncheons at St. Catherine’s for many years.
Sam and Ann were extremely social and many of their activities and friends revolved around church. Sam loved and needed to be social. Even though he complained about having to go out and do things, Ann was usually the instigator, and once she got him out and about, he was fine. Truth be told, with Sam’s gift for gab and sense of humor, he was usually the life of the party! Through the years Sam golfed in several leagues and as a couple they kept their schedules full. His wife was very organized and always knew what each day had in store for them. In the early 1980s they traveled to Florida for a few weeks each year. While Sam fished off the pier, Ann took in the sun. They were very social with friends there, often enjoying card games.
There was one thing about Sam that everyone came to know – he was extremely frugal. If Sam could save a dime, he did. While growing up his family didn’t have much and times were hard. This made an everlasting impression on Sam which remained throughout his entire life. Sometimes he saw the glass as half empty, and he could be a little stubborn and set in his ways. He didn’t care much for music, although he and Ann both liked Elvis. When the Beatles came out, Barber Sam hated them, with the long hair of the 1960s which diminished hair cut sales. He disliked the many ways the world was changing, and he never hesitated voicing his opinions! Sam often had a grumpy disposition around the holidays including all the work and clean-up involved, but in the end, he loved having his family together.
Sam enjoyed taking his granddaughter fishing. It was cheap (free!), and he loved attending her soccer and softball games, along with her music concerts. He dabbled in his tomato garden, and he liked watching the History Channel, outdoorsman programs, and the news. A creature of habit, he checked the weather no less than four times a day. Sam possessed a big sweet tooth. Quite talented with woodworking, he deemed it “justifiable spending”. He had many woodworking projects over the years, and he even made several beautiful creches for which he gave as Christmas gifts.
A heart attack in 2010 slowed Sam down some, yet he remained social and continued to enjoy much. 2014 brought many changes as Sam moved to Heritage Community and Ann to Rose Arbor-Hospice. Ann passed away shortly after their 50th wedding anniversary.
Sam was frugal yet realistic. A practical man in many respects, he was always giving of his time and talents. He held close to his faith, and even though he was short tempered, he never held a grudge and was always forgiving. Dearly devoted and dedicated, Sam was a man with whom others could depend. He considered family his greatest joy, and in Sam they found a father for which they were proud. Deeply missed, Sam will be remembered for all that he was, and more.
Norbert “Sam” Roschek, age 73, of Portage died on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at Heritage Community. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 50 years, Ann L. Roschek in 2014 and by a brother, Richard N. Roschek. Surviving are two daughters: Pam (Phil) Yelsma and Christine Roschek (John Connors); granddaughter, Alison Yelsma; brother, Sid (Debbie) Roschek; many nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Sunday, March 13, 2016 from 5–8 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 375-2900 where the Rosary will be recited at 7:30 PM. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, March 14, 2016, 11:00 AM at St. Catherine of Siena Church with viewing beginning at 10:00 AM. A luncheon will follow in the church hall. Burial will take place at Portage South Cemetery. Please visit Sam’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 St. Vincent DePaul, St. Catherine of Siena Church or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.