Life Story Service
Monday, November 27, 2023
4:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
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.
Pine Lake Association
Funds to go toward the annual 4th of July fireworks.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Loving, generous, and kind, John Birdsall lived a life rich in family and friends. Always willing to help those in need, John never hesitated to share his gifts and talents. John welcomed each day as a gift, relishing every moment he shared with those he so dearly loved. Whether casting his line in Pine Lake, encouraging his sons, tending to his grandchildren, or sharing quiet time with his wife, John was grateful for his blessings. A treasured husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend, John will long be remembered and ever so missed.
1951 proved a year of increased comforts and exciting new possibilities. While unemployment dropped to 3.3%, the nation additionally celebrated the first direct-dial trans-coastal phone call, easier travel in more comfortable cars and on newly paved interstates, and the premieres of "I Love Lucy," "The Day The Earth Stood Still," and "An American in Paris." Nowhere was the sense of hope for the future more celebrated than in the hearts of Albert and Joyce (Roe) Birdsall as they welcomed their son John to their lives on November 16, 1951.
After John's parents divorced when he was young, his mother raised him and his four siblings as a single parent with help from her parents. His mom worked at Bronson Hospital, and the family lived with her parents on the west side of Kalamazoo. From the last day of school to the first day of the next school year, they lived in the family cottage on Pine Lake. John enjoyed lake life and liked to water ski.
John took some classes at Kalamazoo Valley Community College after graduating from high school, and he soon realized he would much rather work than go to school. While working at Ridgeview Manor Nursing Home, John was blessed to meet the love of his life, Pauline Schiavone. Though John always believed they'd first met in high school, Pauline never recalled doing so and insisted they first met as coworkers. Nevertheless, as they grew to know one another, they began dating and recognized they were right for each other. Five years later, the couple happily married on November 16, 1974.
In 1977, John and Pauline were thrilled to become parents when their son, David, was born. Nine years later, in 1986, their son, Joseph, completed their family. John provided for his family by working as a truck driver. He mainly drove local routes to ensure he would be home in the evening. While it was hard to make a living as a truck driver in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he stayed home to care for his son David while Pauline worked. This gave him some special bonding time and the freedom to be a fun parent while Pauline carried the disciplinary responsibilities in the home.
As in his childhood, many summer days were spent with Pauline and the boys at the family cottage on Pine Lake. Pauline enjoyed hosting parties and get-togethers at the lake. His boys fondly remember the times spent with him out on the lake, where he taught them how to water ski and the basics of fishing. They also hunted with him down at their aunt's farm in Homer, Michigan.
A huge NASCAR fan, John's favorite driver was Dale Earnhardt. John liked his downtime and relaxing with a nice long nap. He preferred watching the History Channel and shows like Survivor, in which he and his niece competed to predict the winners. Christmas time brought wonderful times decorating the tree. John had a photographic mind and knew where everything was on the tree and instantly knew if someone had moved something out of place.
Though it proved difficult to accept needing to be medically retired, John eventually embraced the blessings of having more time with Pauline and getting to play daycare for his grandchildren. With a signature "How do" and an "I'm okay," John found much to enjoy. Always a family man with a napkin in his hand, he showed his sons how to be a good father and enjoyed a healthy imagination. He collected many things, and though Pine Lake remained his favorite destination away from home, he did go to Mexico a few times and enjoyed staying at the resorts.
Very much in love with and devoted to Pauline, John was devastated when she died in March of 2022. In the face of such tremendous loss, he found much comfort in seeing her reflection in their children and grandchildren. As we celebrate John's life, may we find much comfort in knowing he has been reunited with his beloved. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying John's legacy of generosity and kindness forward.
John Birdsall, age 71, of Kalamazoo, died on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. Members of his family include his 2 children: David (Anna) Birdsall and Joseph Birdsall; 2 grandchildren: Roman and Maisie; brothers and sisters: Marian Birdsall, Martha Moore, Jamie Birdsall, and Joe (Rose) Birdsall.
Cremation has taken place, and a Life Story service will be held at 3 pm on Monday, November 27, 2023, at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A reception where food, drinks, and stories will be shared will follow in the Life Story Center. Visit John's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the Pine Lake Association to support the 4th of July fireworks.