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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Jon Steenholdt would agree that he lived his life out loud. He was the heartbeat of wherever he was, and his zest for life was contagious to all who were near. There was no doubt in Jon’s mind that he was married to the love of his life, and together they witnessed their family grow to include the children and grandchildren he adored. He was a man of many interests, but aside from his family Jon’s biggest passion was found in playing the drums and motorcycles. Life will never be the same without Jon here, but he leaves behind a vibrant collection of memories that his family and friends will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
It seems only fitting that Jon’s journey began during a time that was as vibrant as he was. It was the 1950s when James Dean and Marilyn Monroe were big shots on the big screen and Elvis Presley transformed the music industry forever with his rock ’n roll music. Televisions were becoming part of our homes in record numbers, and shows like I Love Lucy entertained us. Amidst this exciting time was even greater excitement in the lives of Clarence Harold and Prudence Electra (Keeler) Steenholdt as they were thrilled to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Jon on Christmas, December 25, 1957. Raised in Oshtemo, Michigan, he was one of seven as he was joined in his family by his siblings, Roxie, Jeff, Becky, Joel, Jake, and Betsy.
From the time he was young, Jon was a bustle of activity. He started playing the drums, and it has been said that he drove his siblings nuts with all his playing. Always a free spirit, Jon also had a Kawasaki dirt bike. He attended local schools including Kalamazoo Central, but in the 12th grade he found school wasn’t the thing for him so he left school to work instead.
Not to be forgotten during his years as a young man was Jon’s introduction to the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Wendie, and they met when he was 18 and she was just 16. They were at a party together when they met, and Jon later went to where she was working, at Sweden House on Portage Road. It was after closing when the employees, including Wendie, were sitting around a table. Soon people started leaving, which gave Jon and Wendie the chance to talk. The rest is history as they say. Wendie was attracted to his kind heart - and his Triumph motorcycle! On one occasion there was a terrible snowstorm, and since he wanted to see her he put screws as studs in the rear tire of his Kawasaki dirt bike and rode through the deep snow to get to her house. To this day, his son, Justin, still has that dirt bike. Jon and Wendie had their first official date at a drive-in movie, but Wendie’s mom sent her brothers and a neighbor along so that she and Jon wouldn’t be alone! They continued dating for three years, and with a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Jon and Wendie were married on June 23, 1979, at 12th Street Baptist Church, just two weeks after she graduated from high school.
There was nothing that Jon treasured more than his family. Together he and Wendie were blessed with the births of two sons, Jordan and Justin, and he was an active part of his children’s lives. Jon never let his kids be rude to their mother, and he always made sure they had things to ride like dirt bikes, quads, and other fun toys. Jon also got them BB guns. He was the one who taught his kids to ride dirt bikes and mountain bikes by holding onto the backside and then letting go without them knowing. They often went to Michigan Adventure and Six Flags, and although he didn’t like roller coaters he rode them with his kids.
To support their family, Jon worked hard as a glass glazier, installing house windows. This was something that he got into when Wendie’s father asked Jon to work for him. Even though knew nothing about glass at the time, her dad soon taught him everything he needed to know. Jon made his entire career in this line of work and even opened his own shop, JW Glass, for a while. He later worked for J&J Glass before retiring in 2012.
Always one to be busy doing something, Jon was a man of many interests. He was a drummer and was in bands for several years including Hang ‘Em High and Intruder. Jon was entirely self-taught and loved playing music. Rock & roll was his passion, and Led Zeppelin and Rush were his favorite bands. Jon loved the outdoors, motorcycles, cars, and even unicycles, and he also enjoyed Saturday morning Hot Rod TV and Counting Cars. Jon liked shooting guns behind his property and never passed on a Chicago hot dog. He grew up eating egg foo young, which Wendie also later learned to enjoy. He didn’t always talk about religion, but somehow, he always found just the right time to talk about it. His family always knew they could come to Jon for the answers they were looking for. Although he had numerous prized possessions, he would sell any of them in a heartbeat to take care of his family if needed.
When reflecting on the life of Jon Steenholdt, it is easy to see the unwavering devotion he had for his family. He was a laid back and easy going guy who was game to try anything once. Jon could see the positive side of anything, and even if he got angry he never stayed that way. Always willing to help others, he instilled within his children the need to work hard and that it is important to finish what they start. Fearless and fun-loving, Jon was so much fun to be around. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
Jon Steenholdt, of Alamo Twp., died on Sunday, September 9, 2018. Members of his family include his wife, Wendie; 2 sons: Jordan (Brooke) and Justin (Cassie); 3 grandchildren: Nova, Shelby and Jayden; brothers and sisters: Jeff (Barb) Steenholdt, Becky Steenholdt, Joel (Debbie) Steenholdt, Jake (Loretta) Steenholdt, Betsy (Dan) Brandt and several nieces and nephews. Jon was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Roxie Watson. Visit with family and friends on Thursday (Sep. 13) from 5-7 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where services will be held Friday at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Alamo Center Cemetery. Please visit Jon’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.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 American Diabetes Association.