Wednesday, August 30, 2017
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Refreshments will be served at the visitation.
Private Graveside services will be held at Ft. Custer National Cemetery.
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.
Romence Road Food Pantry
7028 Romence Road
Portage, MI 49024
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Although more quiet and reserved by nature, everyone knew that John DeCrocker was an honest man of integrity whose word was as good as gold. He was hardworking and accomplished with the ability to tinker around and fix just about anything. John was a loving and devoted husband if ever there was one, but it could be argued that there was no greater gift in his life than his children and grandchildren. A longtime resident of the community he loved, he was also a giving and gracious host who lived to enrich the lives of everyone around him. John will be deeply missed by those too numerous to count.
The 1930s were largely defined by the Great Depression. Times were tough and the effects were felt nationwide. The American spirit could still be witnessed, however, as cities, communities, and families came together to weather the storm as best they could throughout our great land. Amidst this eventful time was a time of great joy in the lives of William and Helen (Hoadley) DeCrocker as they announced the birth of their youngest child, John, on November 8, 1931, in Bloomingdale, Michigan. His father was a local businessman and machinist who could fabricate and create just about anything. In fact, John’s father once put skis on a car so the local doctor could still get out to make his house calls! His mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home.
For the rest of his adult life, John always fondly recalled his childhood. He loved being with his family and absolutely idolized his father. Summer nights often found him sleeping out on their porch, surrounded by the love and safety of his family. John attended local schools and graduated from Bloomingdale High School in 1949.
As a young man, John volunteered in the United States Air Force. In 1952, he completed his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. While serving in the Korean Conflict, John was a machinist and stationed at Itazuki Air Force Base in Japan. Known as a man of honor throughout his life, he was always proud of his military service.
With his military duties fulfilled, John returned to Bloomingdale to live and work, but it was soon his personal life that became quite interesting. It was during this time that he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Joyce Meshkin, and his heart skipped a beat as soon as he noticed her walking by. He knew he would have to meet her no matter what it took. A bit later, they went out on a double date. With a desire to build a life together, John and Joyce were married in a simple ceremony on January 27, 1962. When they became husband and wife, John also welcomed her son, Rick, into his heart. Rick was eight years old at the time, and John soon officially adopted him. In addition, John and Joyce were blessed to become parents to their daughter, Laura, in 1963. Laura’s birth was certainly one to remember as the doctor was out and the midwife needed John’s assistance during the birth. When it was time to come home from the hospital, John and his wife stopped by the school to show Rick his new baby sister.
Throughout his life John was known for working hard. As a young husband with a son to support, he first became a sales representative for Fuller Manufacturing in 1962. His job took them to Allentown, Pennsylvania, and in 1967 there was the groundbreaking of the Eastern District Branch for Fuller. This launched John into the position of branch manager. In 1974 they moved back to Kalamazoo and when Fuller Manufacturing split, John was forced to decide between staying with Fuller or going with Eaton. He chose Eaton, which turned out to be a wise decision. John remained there until retiring in 1992.
As a sales rep, John was frequently on the road. Sometimes when the kids were young, he combined a trip to the South with a family vacation. As he neared the end of his career, John would travel to Asia and South America. Over the years, he and Joyce graciously hosted many out of country guests with his work. John was always well liked by the foreign guests, and many times they asked for him by name when they traveled in the area again.
In everything he did, John’s family was first and foremost As a father, he was patient and genuine. Although work often took him away from home, John always made the most of the time when he was home. With a love for flying, he was in a flying club and had his private pilot’s license while living in Pennsylvania. John loved being in the air, and the kids made amazing memories while flying with their Dad. There were also fun memories made while John was pulling the kids on a toboggan behind the car. He was so proud of his kids, and later in life he was thrilled to become a grandfather. One of his favorite activities became doting on his grandchildren. Because John and Joyce liked to travel, they were blessed to take family vacations with children and grandchildren. Among the timeless lessons John taught others was how to manage money and the importance of sticking to a budget. Through the wise investments he made over the years, John and his wife were able to live comfortably during their golden years. Once they were retired, they traveled some including to one of his favorite places - New Smyrna Beach, Florida. In 2016, John was thrilled to travel there for one last time with his daughter, Laura, and her husband, Galen.
One of the things John was best known for was his love for life. He had many interests over the years and was known for always being busy. John loved tinkering and was always trying to figure out how things worked. He was never one to hire out for things - he just figured out how to fix whatever it was or just to make it from scratch. John was proud to be the condo association president when he and Joyce were living at Woodsong Valley. His attention to detail and take charge personality made this a perfect fit. In 2015, John and Joyce moved to Covenant Village in Grand Rapids, and after Joyce’s death John moved into assisted living there. In 2017, he moved into the memory care unit.
Highly admired by so many, John DeCrocker was a blessing in the lives of so many others. He was wise and often the voice of reason with a deep commitment to the duties placed before him. Deeply devoted to his family, John cherished every moment his loved ones were near. He will never be forgotten.
John DeCrocker, formerly of Kalamazoo, died on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. Members of his family include son, Rick DeCrocker and a daughter Laura (Galen) Callahan; 5 grandsons: Christopher, Andrew, Nick (Kelsey), Dan (Shannon Przygocki) and Joey. John was preceded in death by his wife Joyce in 2015, a sister Jane Ullom and a sister and brother-in-law Christine and George Simpson. Learn more about John and visit with his family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (375-2900). Private graveside services will take place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Please visit John’s personal memory 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 contributions may be made to the Romence Road Food Pantry.