Life Story Celebration
Tuesday, December 12, 2023
11:30 AM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
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.
Navy Seal Foundation
1619 D Street
Virginian Beach, VA 23459
Trauma Recovery Associates
1608 Lake Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Integrated Services of Kalamazoo (Behavioral Health)
440 West Kalamazoo Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Life Story / Obituary
Eric Montoya was an outgoing and charismatic individual who lived a full life which was taken too quickly. Eric was known for his outgoing personality and his ability to make friends wherever he went. Eric was born in Southern California, was a lifelong L.A. Dodgers baseball fan, and always considered himself a Californian. His early years were spent enjoying many family camping and boating trips as well as spending time each summer on his grandparents ranch in Colorado.
Eric’s Dad’s job took them from California to Colorado for four years and then to Portage, Michigan when he was in middle school. He graduated from Portage Northern High School where he made many lifelong friends. He was a natural athlete who loved all sports and played football, baseball, and basketball for the Portage Northern Huskies. Although he had opportunities to play college baseball and football, he decided after so many years of playing sports to just be a fan and enjoy all the aspects of college life at the University of Michigan where he was a member of PsiU fraternity. He remained a loyal U of M fan and if you asked him what was his favorite past time, he would reply, "University of Michigan football…..Go Blue!” He loved music from many genres but especially Jimmy Buffet music. He was an official “Parrot Head” and attended over twenty Jimmy Buffet concerts. He even took his mom to one of the concerts.
Eric loved adventure and travel and his first venture outside the U.S. was when he took a semester off of college and spent three months traveling through Europe with two friends. He was hooked after that. He also spent two summers during college selling books, door to door, for Southwestern Book Co. Here, he made a group of lifelong friends from all over the country and it is where he learned many aspects of owning your own business and valuable sales and marketing strategies and techniques.
His next venture in the workforce after college took him overseas where he started his own website business with a college friend. This was just the beginning of many countries that he both visited and worked in. He embraced all cultures, formed connections with people from all walks of life, and learned to speak three other languages.
His sudden and untimely passing on December 4, 2023 at his mother’s home in Florida has left a huge void in the lives of those who knew and loved him. His spirit will live on through the memories he created and the impact he had on others. May his memory be a forever guiding light inspiring us to live each day to the fullest and to always treat everyone you meet with a smile regardless of age, race, gender, culture, or religion.
Eric was preceded in death by his father, John Montoya in 1998, and his brother Michael in 2021. Surviving are his mother, Kim Montoya (Paul Reiff); siblings: John II (Katie) Montoya, Michelle Montoya (Aaron VandeVen; Eric Mayes (his brother from another mother); step-siblings: Lauren (Tom Drennen) and Dan Reiff (Marissa); nieces and nephews: Ryan, Ella, Aleah, Liam and Miles; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
A Life Story Celebration will be held Tuesday, December 12 at 10:30 AM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo, MI 49009 (269) 375-2900. A reception in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories will be shared will follow after the service.
Visit Eric’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Navy Seal Foundation, Trauma Recovery Associates, or Integrated Service of Kalamazoo