Life Story Funeral Homes®
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Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience

Rudolph W. "Rudy" Held

August 16, 2023
Kalamazoo, MI




Rudolph W. Held

Master Brewer Rudy Held passed away quietly on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 after a short illness. Rudy was born in Bavaria, Germany on August 12, 1936.

As a child, he survived World War II, with a drive to succeed. He attended brewing school and soon set out for America in 1965, originally selling brewing equipment for a German firm to American Brewers. In 1968, he fell deeply in love with a beautiful "southern bell" model named Juanita in San Francisco. With her, all things were possible, and he soon returned to his second passion-brewing!-moving to Milwaukee as an associate brewer for Schlitz. By 1980, Rudy was director of brewing at Stroh's in Detroit. The early 90s brought Rudy and "Nita" to Kalamazoo working for Paul Todd at Kalsec. Inc. Paul had just revolutionized the brewing industry by extracting the essential oil from the hop flower. This process allowed Kalsec to fractionate out the impurities in hops that make beer susceptible to heat and light contamination. With Rudy's remarkable sales ability, technical knowledge, and worldwide brewing contacts, the rest was history. Rudy (often with his Nita) traveled the world selling hop extract. Rudy retired in 2007 to take care of Nita. He lost his love in 2017 to Alzheimer's, taking care of her every day. No nursing home for his Juanita.

Rudy was loved (and will be missed) by family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers well beyond his passing. He is survived by 5 stepchildren.

His funeral service will be Wednesday, August 23, 2023 at 10:30 AM at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial and Cremation Services, 3926 S 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. He will be laid to rest that day at 2:00 PM at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Rudy's Catholic faith was very important, and donations in his name can be made to St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Portage.

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