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Life Story / Obituary
In ways both great and small, George “Butch” Lounsbery made such an impact in the lives of everyone he met. He was a hardworking man who believed in giving everything his best with traditional values and morals at his core. Butch lived for his family, and he was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandfather later in life. He was a social and outgoing member of his community, and he was the sort of person everyone seemed to know. Although he will be deeply missed, Butch leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of the nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. Countless young Americans were deeply entrenched in the fighting, and those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on common goods such as paper, sugar, coffee, and rubber. It was just prior to the war’s end in 1945 that Kenneth “Bud” and Dorothy (Wright) Lounsbery were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as June unfolded that same year. The big day finally arrived when the baby boy they named George drew his first breath on June 19th in Paw Paw, Michigan. He was the middle of three children as he was raised in the family home in Mattawan alongside his siblings, Sharon and Dick. Butch’s parents were fruit farmers in Mattawan, and all of the Lounsbery children also helped on the farm.
In many ways Butch was a young boy of his generation. He enjoyed spending time at their cottage on Paw Paw Lake in Mattawan where he loved fishing, waterskiing and even barefooting! He attended local schools including Mattawan High School where he was an active part of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). Butch worked at Spikes Garage and the IGA as well. After graduating from high school in 1963, he enlisted in the Marine Reserves.
New and exciting changes were in store for Butch when he met the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Barb Kimble, and she was two years older than he was. They met through mutual friends and soon began dating. About two years later, Butch and Barb were married on April 9, 1966, at Congregational Church in Mattawan with a reception at the local VFW. The newlyweds then spent their honeymoon in the Smokey Mountains where she had to buy the beer!
The couple returned to Southwest Michigan where they were eager to begin their new lives together. They started their family right away with the births of their twins, Larry and Laurie with Larry being born five minutes before his sister. They spent a few years living on Paw Paw Lake and then moved to a farm just down from his parents. A few years later, Butch and Barb bought 60 acres on 66th Street where he farmed grapes, asparagus, fruit, and potatoes. They also had chickens. Just as it had been while Butch was growing up, working on the farm was a family affair. They later sold all but 10 acres where they built their current home. Butch spent many years working as a public works foreman for the Village of Mattawan. He later worked at Nieuwenhuis Excavating, but the bulk of Butch’s career was spent working for Balkama Excavating, retiring when he was 64. Butch was also a volunteer fireman with the Mattawan Fire Department for several years. He taught his kids how to work hard through the example he set, but he also taught them how to play hard as well.
Throughout his life Butch was a man of many interests. He and Barb were very social in the Mattawan community and were regulars at the Rush Inn and Black Ram as these were Butch’s “social clubs.” They were also know to visit the local casinos to make sure the slot machines still worked. He loved fishing, usually at Paw Paw Lake. There was also plenty of card playing, especially rummy, and there were several fun-filled family gatherings in the Airstream at the family place on Paw Paw Lake. Butch and his wife also traveled to Florida to see his parents and his sister. Later on they visited their son in Florida. In everything he did, Butch usually had a Bud Light and a Winston cigarette in his hand. When it came to relaxing in front of the television he wasn’t known for being too willing to share the remote with Barb. Butch just loved watching shows like Gunsmoke and American Pickers. Classic country was his favorite kind of music as he enjoyed Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, John Denver, Freddy Fender, and Porter Wagoner.
Later in life Butch continued to treasure the time he spent with his loved ones. It became a tradition that he often cooked pancakes every Sunday for his mother-in-law and grandchildren before church. Butch absolutely loved being a grandfather, and from the moment his grandchildren were born they became his life. In turn, it was easy to see that Butch was their hero. There were so many family gatherings at their house and at the lake, and there were numerous memories made that have become so precious to the entire family. Butch made a good chicken, ham, and noodles for holiday meals, and everyone knew that when he was in the kitchen no one else was allowed in! Everything Butch made was always seasoned with plenty of butter, salt, and pepper. He also didn’t shy away from the sweets as he loved his pastries and his candies.
All who knew George “Butch” Lounsbery would agree that he was truly extraordinary. He was a true gentleman who was both generous and genuine without an unkind word to say about anyone. Butch was more than willing to lend a hand to anyone, and his zest for life was contagious. Patriotic and hardworking, he was such an inspiration to all who were near. Life will never be the same without Butch here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
George “Butch” Lounsbery, of Mattawan, died September 24, 2016 at his home. Butch’s family includes his wife, Barb Lounsbery; twin-children, Larry (Mary) Lounsbery and Laurie (Rob) Brooks; 11 grandchildren: Ashley Boyer (Jason Erickson), Dustin (Kaitlyn) Lounsbery, Ryan Lounsbery, Gabrielle (Rob) Pouch, Haley Dixon, Mackenzie Lounsbery, Jacob Dixon, Caleb Lounsbery, Nolan Lounsbery, Lexi Brooks and William Brooks; 6 great-grandchildren: Aubrey Boyer, Ben Boyer, Cole Boyer, Kenzley Pouch, Krue Pouch and Jaisey Erickson; 2 siblings: Sharon (Jim) Forden and Dick (Kathy) Lounsbery and many nieces and nephews. Butch was preceded in death by his parents. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Tuesday from 5-8PM at Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40, Paw Paw (269) 657-3870. Please visit Butch’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read his life story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or Calvary Reformed Church.