Sunday, March 20, 2016
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and drinks will be served.
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.
Or, Charity of One's Choice
Galesburg Memorial Library
188 East Michigan Avenue
Galesburg, MI 49053
Life Story / Obituary
Although he was taken from his loved ones without warning, Wayne Roelof lived life to the fullest in the time he was here, making a significant impact in the lives of everyone he met along the way. He was a hardworking business owner who was also an active part of the community he called home throughout his entire life. Wayne treasured his roles as a husband and father, but he just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandfather to the ten grandchildren who were his greatest source of pride and joy. Although he will be deeply missed, Wayne leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
The first half of the 1940s were greatly defined by WWII. With the war’s end in 1945, countless young servicemen and women returned home, rationing was no longer in place, and the baby boom was underway. It was during this exciting time that Hubert and Vivian (Hart) Roelof were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Wayne on October 18, 1948, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was the third of four children in his family, raised alongside his siblings, Brian, Phil, and Janet. Wayne’s Grandpa John had a dairy farm and delivered milk, which was a business that Wayne’s father carried on. As home delivery began phasing out, they took on some large wholesale accounts like MSU. Wayne and his brothers helped shovel ice into trucks in the morning before school, and during the summer they helped with the home delivery routes. He had a love for horses and was involved in the local 4-H, and he had his own horse, Buddy. Wayne attended local schools including Galesburg Augusta High School where he played both basketball and tennis. He was even inducted in the hall of fame as a tennis player.
After graduating from high school in 1966, Wayne went on to Michigan State University with plans of becoming a teacher and a business major. It was while there that he met the young woman of his dreams during his second year of school. She was a social work major named Judi Wolf, and they had a mutual friend in common. Wayne had seen Judi around and asked their mutual friend to connect them. Judi came to his dorm, and they talked all night. Their first official date was on April 1, 1968, and the rest is history as they say. Over time they fell deeply in love, and with a desire to establish a life together Wayne and Judi were married on September 6, 1969, at the alumni chapel at Michigan State University. They drove out to Colorado on their honeymoon and returned back to campus and lived in married housing. Both Wayne and Judi went on to graduate in 1970.
Once they graduated, they lived in Charlotte for a short time, but Judi’s job transfer to the Kalamazoo Department of Human Services later brought them to Kalamazoo. They rented an old farmhouse for a few years but later built a house in 1976. It was there that they raised their three children, Lisa born in 1974, Amy born in 1975, and Scott born in 1979. In 1999, they built the home that Wayne would call home for the rest of his life.
To support his family, Wayne worked in the family dairy along with his father and his brother, Phil. From the time he and his brother came on board, his father turned the day to day operations over to Wayne and his brother. They built the business and were very successful while also being very fair to their employees. The dairy consumed Wayne’s entire day, and Judi worked in the office there for 18 years. They worked well together and never had a problem. Wayne always made sure that the work was done right, and he took great pride in everything he did. They sold the business to Prairie Farms in 1999, but he stayed on board there until April 1, 2005, since he wanted to be sure that his employees were taken care of. Wayne was always so proud of the dairy and all that they accomplished, and he took the time to archive the story.
A family man through and through, Wayne made being with his loved ones a priority. When their children were young, they did a lot of camping, often taking two weeks every summer to travel the country. Around the home Wayne wasn’t much help in the kitchen. In fact, he was no help at all as the only thing he could make is toast. The cottage on Gun Lake was also a place for family fun. They took many sunset cruises on the pontoon boat, did some fireworks, and had family gatherings as well. Later on Wayne was thrilled to become a grandfather, and he was an active part of his grandchildren’s lives. He bought a Shetland pony so they wouldn’t just be city slickers, made a playroom of toys for them in the basement, and bought a go-cart to teach the kids how to drive. Wayne took his grandchildren to the 4-H fairs, which was such a special time. He also made his grandchildren the best chocolate malts.
Throughout his life Wayne was a man of many interests. He could often be found out tinkering in the barn, and he loved riding around the property on his lawn tractor. Wayne was a gentleman farmer who collected old milk bottles and recently discovered eBay, buying a ’37 Olds. He loved his wife’s cooking, especially her spare ribs, and together Wayne and his wife enjoyed golfing and taking road trips. A sports fan, he went to all the kids sporting events at Galesburg Augusta School, was a season ticket holder for the Spartans, and also had season tickets for Western Michigan University. They took some great trips including to China, Australia, New Zeeland, Europe, Fiji, Canadian Rockies on their 40th, and Hawaii, and they went horseback riding in Gatlinburg, too. Within his community, Wayne was on the school board, was a Rotarian for years, and made friends everywhere he went.
Filled with timeless wisdom, lots of common sense, and a true teacher who was always interested in sharing a lesson, Wayne Roelof was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was a visionary who was never at a loss for words and had a willing spirit to help anyone he could. Wayne was frugal and resourceful with a zest for life that was contagious. He will never be forgotten.
Wayne Roelof died on March 15, 2016. Wayne’s family includes his wife, Judi Roelof; 3 children: Lisa (Paul) Laidler, Amy (J.J.) McKenzie and Scott (Rachel) Roelof; 10 grandchildren: Megan, Sarah, Jenna, Lauren, Drew, Paige, Morgan, Avery, Cameron and Wesley; his beloved dog, Millie, 3 siblings: Dr. Brian (Sandy) Roelof, Phil Roelof and Janet (Roy) Salisbury; mother-in-law, Joyce Wolf; in-laws: Marilyn (Bob) Kovach, Janet (John) Hollenbeck, Liz (Roger) Czap, Jim (Linda) Wolf, Lynda (Gene Masta) Wolf; and many nieces and nephews. Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, father-in-law, Henry Wolf and brother-in-law, Henry R. Wolf. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Sunday from 2-6 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 375-2900 where services will be held Monday at 11 a.m. A luncheon will follow in the Life Story Center. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Galesburg Historical Museum.