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Rotary Club of Oshtemo
P.O. Box 241
Oshtemo, MI 49077
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Life Story / Obituary
Although he accomplished so much of which to be proud, John A. “Slick” Schlukebir was a humble man whose greatest source of pride and joy was found in sharing his life with the ones he loved. He was the heartbeat of wherever he went, and he had an unmistakable laugh that was contagious to all who were near. A loving husband and father, John was filled with unspeakable joy to witness his family tree blossom to include the four grandchildren who made his heart sing. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
The first half of the 1940s was primarily defined by our nation’s involvement in WWII. By the dawn of 1947, our nation was in the midst of becoming a nation at peace once again while rationing had become a thing of the past. The baby boom was underway, and it was during this same year that Garrett and Pauline (Osswald) Schlukebir celebrated the growth of their own family when they welcomed their son, John A., on April 8, 1947, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. John was 20 years younger than his brother, and he was raised in the family home in Kalamazoo. His father was the first generation to come to America from Germany while his mother was the first generation from the Netherlands. To support their family, John’s father worked in the greenhouse business. He was a talented athlete who played all sports, but he was particularly gifted in both baseball and basketball.
Known as “Slick” to many, John was eager for all that life had in store after graduating from high school. He went to Western Michigan University, earning his bachelor’s and later his master’s in education. For the rest of his life, John was a very strong supporter of WMU. He spent a few years working as a teacher at Otsego High School, but he was soon recruited by State Farm to become an agent. This was a great fit for Slick, and he owned operated Schlukebir State Farm Insurance Agency for over 35 years. Over the years he experienced much success in his work. John was also married and blessed with the births of three daughters, Karie, Katie, and Kristen. John was very actively involved in the lives of his daughters and was there to support them in all their activities. They were all tennis players, and he was often the designated driver to get them where they needed to go for all their matches that required travel.
Later on, new and exciting changes were in store for Slick when he met a woman named Sandy. They met online and hit it off right away. Always meticulous, John was almost interview-like when they were getting to know one another as he was asking her all kinds of questions and writing down her answers on a napkin! It didn’t take them long to fall in love, and with a desire to spend the rest of their lives together they were married on September 16, 2010, in Las Vegas. John learned to become a skilled carpenter and had many rental properties that kept him busy. He loved remodeling and working outdoors using the amazing landscaping skills he had learned from his parents. Together he and Sandy were often entertaining, but after only being married for just over a year he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.
Throughout his life, John was one to keep busy when he was in good health. He was a member of the Oshtemo Rotary for many years and was successful in many fundraising efforts. John regularly supported both WMU hockey and WMU basketball, and as an avid golfer he golfed all over. Slick did also enjoy fishing, although he didn’t have much time to devote to it. He was a Cubs fan and loved his baseball hats, too. John treasured his home on Pretty Lake in Texas Township, and he also enjoyed trips to Florida including to Amelia Island. As his family and friends can attest, John loved his sweets, and he also enjoyed microbrews and rarely met a food he didn’t like. He enjoyed country music, and with his big, booming voice he could sing loud whether he was singing at the rotary or doing karaoke at a bar. Slick collected old games and liked antiques as well.
Life was not always easy for John. He faced a trying time when his daughter, Karie, contracted melanoma and died. John then inherited her Rottweiler, Faith, which was so special to him since this was a way he could remain connected to Kerrie. His battle with Lewy Body Dementia was also a challenge as he had a hard-fought battle for five years. Sandy tenderly cared for him, always making sure he had everything he needed. It was so difficult as the disease took progressively more from him as the years went by.
A strong, courageous, and hardworking man, John A. “Slick” Schlukebir was such a gift to all who knew him. He was full of energy, and with his kind and generous personality he was the sort of person everyone seemed to know. John had a savvy business mind, could remember all the details of everything he had going on, and he has also been called a professional delegator with knack for fundraising, too. A lover of life, he will be deeply missed.
John A. “Slick” Schlukebir, of Pretty Lake, died September 26, 2017, in Grand Rapids. John’s family includes his wife of 7 years, Sandy Schlukebir; 2 daughters: Katie (Harold) Shock and Kristen Schlukebir; and 4 grandchildren: Drew, Karlie, Audrie and Siblie. John was preceded in death by his daughter, Karie Pennock, and by a brother. Cremation will take place. Services will be held Tuesday 2 p.m. at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 followed by a reception in the Life Story Center. Please visit John’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhom.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made in his name Rotary Club of Oshtemo or Melanoma Research Foundation.