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Life Story / Obituary
A lifelong member of the community he loved, David Delor was known and loved by many. He was hardworking and generous in everything he did, and it has been said that he didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He treasured the time spent with his family, and a friend of Dave’s was a friend for life. Nothing made him happier than being out in the beauty of the outdoors, and everyone knew he had a soft spot for farm equipment and all things John Deere. Life will never be the same without Dave here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever treasure.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. While countless young servicemen and women were serving overseas, those who remained stateside became all too familiar with rationing on several common goods. Amidst this eventful time was the year 1943 when Raymond Alfred and Harriet Elizabeth (Betty) Keeler Delor were pleased to announce the birth of their son, David, on June 16th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Raised in the family home on Academy Street in downtown Kalamazoo during his earliest years, he joined his older brother, Richard. In 1953, the family moved to Q Avenue in Mattawan, which became the community he called home for the rest of his life. Dave’s father was a chemist/PhD for the Upjohn Company and was responsible for inventing the Unicap vitamin. Dave’s mother was an officer for the Kalamazoo County Fair Board as well as an office manager for a local business.
In many ways Dave was a young boy of his generation. He was a 4-H member in Kalamazoo County, showing pigs and cattle at the local fair. Dave also exhibited at the state fair in Detroit following in his brother’s footsteps. He enjoyed farming corn and hay, raising livestock, and was awarded with many top honors for his livestock at both local and state level competitions. Dave attended St. Augustine’s grade school and graduated from Mattawan High School in 1961, and from there he took one year of college.
As a young man, Dave served his country as a member of the Michigan Army National Guard. from 1962 through 1968. During his time in the service, he was called to guard the telephone company in downtown Detroit during the riots in the late 1960s. Dave’s shifts were at night when the majority of the conflicts were taking place, and he was stationed outside the building while all the commotion was going on. Dave gave it his all during summer camps at Grayling and Battle Creek focusing on doing his best for marksmanship practice.
There was never anything of greater significance in Dave’s life than his family. He looked forward to visiting family in the St. Clair area and Cleveland for vacations and holidays. David really enjoyed his cousins since coming from a smaller immediate family he was drawn to the kinship he felt while visiting his cousins on the Delor side in St Clair and the Keeler/Sweet side in the Cleveland area. He was more than willing to help out wherever was needed as he simply enjoying the time spent together. Dave also enjoyed visiting Grandmother Keeler in Holland during Tulip Time, and after graduating from high school his parents took him on a memorable trip to Washington, D.C. When family came to visit Dave, he was a gracious host who entertained his guests by showing them how to operate farm equipment, offering to take pictures around the lake, or preparing a relaxing picnic among so many other things.
Anyone who knew Dave knew of his love for the outdoors. He especially loved John Deere tractors, Landini tractors, and farm equipment. He loved talking about farming and grape growing with anyone, and he liked sharing his own knowledge but also remained open for information from those who shared the same passions. David liked going to tractor pulls and car races when his work schedule allowed. He also had a unique way of expressing himself when he was trying to get his point across as he would say the word and then spell it aloud to the other person in the conversation. David was especially fond of talking about the pair of swans he raised and would go into great detail to others about their habits as well as the care and raising of swans. He raised many pairs over the years and loved how graceful they looked gliding across the water at Duck Lake. David was perfectly happy to spend his time planting crops in the spring, baling hay in the summer, harvesting corn in the fall, and plowing snow around Crooked Lake in the winter. He also spent many years working in grape vineyards for Guiysbert Vanden Bogerd.
Throughout his life Dave was one to keep busy. Deeply devoted to the community of Mattawan and the people who lived there, he wasn’t ever interested in traveling much. David was a member of St John Bosco Church in Mattawan. When it came to music, he enjoyed listening to music with friends and playing pool in the basement of the house as a young adult. As he got older he enjoyed listening to the oldies stations and had a number of favorite bands. Dave was not a man of many vices, and his beverage of choice was milk, which was made even better if it came with cookies. In the summer months he usually chose iced tea with a meal, and he always had a Gatorade on hand in case it was needed on hot days. Candy was another favorite of Dave’s, or really, anything sweet whether it was dessert or a treat. David wouldn't fuss when he was at someone’s house as a guest for supper, but he did always looked forward to the sweet ending of a meal most.
All who knew David Delor would agree that he was truly one of a kind. Honest, generous, and kindhearted, he was always offering to help others. Dave believed in the best of everyone and avoided any confrontational situation. Losing his parents when he was just in his twenties was a difficult time for him, and the death of his brother left a hole in his heart that was difficult to fill. The family would like to express their gratitude to the Vanden Bogerd family, the Knowlton family, Cozy Hill AFC, Francis Ryan and anyone else who showed kindness to David through his life. We appreciate you opening your hearts and homes to him through the years, please remember his passion for agriculture and that you all held a special place in his heart. Deeply loved, Dave will be forever missed.
David Edward Delor died on January 4, 2018 in Bloomingdale at the age of 74. David was preceded in death by parents; and by a brother, Richard Delor. He is survived by his, nephew, William (Jill) Delor; niece, Anne (Dave) Webster; and their children: Emily and David; sister-in-law, Sharon (Whitey) Myrkle; several cousins and close friend and employer, Gijs VandenBogerd. Services will be held Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 11am at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 with visitation beginning at 10am. Burial will take place at Hope Cemetery. Please visit David’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can read his story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to St. John Bosco Church.