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Life Story / Obituary
Someone who brought the world around him to life, Mitch Warren was truly one of a kind. He was a unique character who loved making others laugh with a zest for life that was truly contagious. Although Mitch accomplished so much of which to be proud, he was a humble man who focused his life on the people and things he loved. Life was not always easy for Mitch, but he faced whatever came his way with strength, courage, and a positive outlook. Life will never be the same without Mitch here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
It was great to be an American during the 1950s. James Dean and Marilyn Monroe were big names on the sliver screen while Elvis Presley took the music world by storm with his rock ’n roll music. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great anticipation in the lives of G. Robert and Helen (Chumley) Warren as they were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as July dawned in Pasadena, California, in 1952. The big day finally arrived on July 18th when the baby boy they named Mitch drew his first breath. He was the only child in his family until his sister, Marsha, was born when he was six years old. Although he was born in California, Mitch was raised in Winchester, Indiana.
As a young boy Mitch was a bustle of activity. He played Little League and was always into music. Mitch was big influence on his little sister, and they were great friends. Mitch loved monster movies like Godzilla as well as anything outer space, and he built models in his free time. In 1966 he moved to the Kalamazoo, Michigan, area where he remained ever since. Mitch was a student at local schools, and his high school years found him at Portage Northern High School where he played clarinet in the marching band. He was naturally a smart kid, but didn’t always apply himself.
After graduating from high school in 1970, Mitch went on to Western Michigan University. He was a talented writer and majored in journalism. Later on, Mitch combined his love for music and his writing skills by writing record reviews. He graduated from Western with a bachelors degree.
Music was always a major part of Mitch’s life. In the early 80’s, Mitch and a buddy opened the Music Exchange Record Store in the Vine Street Neighborhood in Kalamazoo. Mitch also played the keyboard and sang in various bands – but “The Edge” was his favorite band. He even talked his little sister into being their lead vocalist. This proved to be quite fateful as the band’s lead guitarist, Ken, ended up marrying Marsha. In fact, Marsha’s last gig was her wedding. Mitch had a great sense of harmony and was talented at putting harmony together. He loved groups like the Eagles, Mamas and the Papas and the Beach Boys for teaching him so much about it through their music. The Beach Boys was his favorite band, and he was so honored to have met Brian Wilson on one occasion and treasured his autographed picture of him. Later in life, Mitch worked for several years in the beverage industry.
In addition to music, Mitch had many other interests that kept him busy. He was an avid reader, and especially enjoyed reading biographies about famous musicians. He liked taking road trips- -always making sure to take the back roads. Usually they weren’t going anyplace specific, just looking at old buildings and other cool landmarks. He also liked to play golf and tennis.
Although Mitch enjoyed pursuing his hobbies, it was the people in his life that really brought him such joy. He spent 15 years with his girlfriend, Judy, and together they experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer. He and Judy especially enjoyed going to flea markets at Shipshewana and then going out to eat afterwards. He was very social, and over the years he had many lifelong friends to whom he was very loyal. A cat lover, he had funny nicknames for his cats including the beloved cat he adopted from his neighbor, “Dagough.” Mitch was always very close to his sister and her husband, and he deeply loved his niece, Taylor. He spoiled her and would jokingly say, “She takes after her uncle getting all A’s” or taking credit for something else she did well. Mitch was very protective and proud of Taylor and enjoyed talking to her about her life. He loved hosting the holiday gatherings and took great pride in his home.
Funny and even goofy at times, Mitch Warren was an extraordinary man to know and love. He did the best impressions and loved making people laugh. Talented and witty, Mitch also didn’t hesitate to let his sensitive side show. There was no greater treasure in his life than his loved ones, and he was a stranger to none. Deeply loved, Mitch will be forever missed.
Mitch Warren, of Kalamazoo, died October 11, 2017, in Grand Rapids. Mitch’s family includes his sister, Marsha (Ken) Hunter and their daughter, Taylor Hunter, and his longtime girlfriend, Judy Turuta. Mitch was preceded in death by his parents. Cremation will take place. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Sunday, October 22, 2017, from 3-6 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Please visit Mitch’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to SPCA.