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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Dick Havener was a dedicated, supportive and encouraging family man. His love of his family and friends is a common thread woven throughout his amazing journey. His rich memories and loving ways will endure in the hearts of all who loved him and he will be deeply missed.
With the economy still suffering as a result of the Great Depression, and the promise of a newly elected president who pledged to make Americans’ lives better, Charles and Estie (Dobbins) Havener welcomed the arrival of their third son, Richard on February 18, 1934. Born in Detroit, Michigan on one the coldest days on record, he brought promise into an era of tough economic times.
Dick’s upbringing in Dearborn was considered typical of the times. His dad was employed at Detroit Edison while his mother was a homemaker. He enjoyed cars, ran track and high jumped in high school. Dick was a proud owner of a 1946 Ford hot rod with a flat-head V/8 engine, during those days and was an active member of the “Lead Footer Hot Rod Club” which included sporting a leather jacket with the club’s emblem on it. Prior to his love of cars in high school however, Dick often rode his bike through the neighborhood passing by his favorite girl’s home in Dearborn. At the tender age of 15 years old, Dick met his lovely wife of 62 years! Dating on and off for a few years and attending separate high schools, he and Ruth were joined in marriage on June 22, 1953. They honeymooned in beautiful Niagara Falls, New York.
Carrying on the family tradition, Dick enlisted in the United States Navy in November of 1952 and was later discharged in 1956. His years of dedicated service with the VF 143 included stations at San Diego, Japan and also Korea. Mostly working with radio repair, he called home to two aircraft carriers, the USS Essex and the USS Philippine Sea. Returning to Detroit after his military service, Dick took on various jobs including welding on train cars, and a Kirby vacuum salesman. A majority of his adult life though he worked as an automotive supplier and at Diamond International. Dick’s adherence to a strong work ethic helped he and Ruth raise four wonderful sons; Rick, David, Michael and Todd. He loved to watch the boys play little league and later coached their soccer teams, too. He fondly committed his vacation time, sometimes up to a month of time off to take the family on extended camping trips. They toured out West frequenting their favorite KOA sites and outlasting three different camper trailers over the years.
Dick was not much of a sports fan, but dabbled in some fishing and golf in his later years. He was an avid reader of mostly history and studied genealogy. He also enjoyed 1950’s music. But mostly he loved the 1966 GTO that Rick had restored for him that was just like the original one he had owned. It was even the same color, Night watch Blue! When he wasn’t playing cards with neighbors or at family gatherings, he was a devoted husband to Ruth and loved to wait on her almost to a fault at times. His passion for her did not go unnoticed. In 1999, they moved to the Kalamazoo area to be closer to family. Sadly, Dick passed away after a lifetime of being his family’s number one fan.
Richard J. Havener, age 82, died April 14, 2016, in Kalamazoo. Dick was born February 18, 1934 in Detroit, the son of Charles and Estie (Dobbins) Havener. He was a Navy Veteran of the Korean War and worked in the electronics industry. Dick was preceded in death by 2 brothers, Clarence “Ken” and Chuck Havener. Surviving are his wife of 62 years, Ruth Havener; 4 sons: Rick (Ann) Havener, David (Donna) Havener, Michael (Carol) Havener and Todd Havener; 5 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Services will be held Tuesday 11AM at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive; 375-2900 with visitation beginning at 10AM. A luncheon will follow in the Life Story Center and burial will take place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Dick’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to SPF (Spastic Paraplegia Foundation).