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Life Story / Obituary
With a heart of gold, Jon Young met each day with determination and resiliency. A hard worker, Jon was also kind and generous. He enjoyed people and was very sociable. Though his directness could result in a bit of awkwardness, those who knew him best learned to value his honesty and lack of pretenses. Revered by many, Jon’s legacy will long be remembered.
1944 marked a time when all American lives were directly impacted by the war effort in Europe. While countless young people actively served in the trenches of WWII, those who remained stateside poured their energies into supporting the war effort in any way they could. As Americans welcomed the end of meat rationing and began planting Victory Gardens, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill and soon became the only U.S. president to be elected to a fourth term. As the nation looked toward peace, Harold and Beryl (Hewitt) Young welcomed their son, Jon, into their family on July 7, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Growing up in Kalamazoo during the 40s and 50s, Jon faced many challenges. Childhood proved complicated and often difficult for Jon and his older sister Jill. Playing outside became a refuge, and Jon welcomed any chance to play a game of baseball or other sport with neighborhood friends. To help support his family, Jon began working at a young age.
Jon attended Kalamazoo Central High School, where he took drafting classes and generally enjoyed school. He proudly graduated with the class of 1962 and began his career as a draftsman. Over his 30-year career, Jon worked for several local companies, including National Water Lift, Clarage Fan, and Hydreco.
It was during his high school years that Jon met his wife, Julia Mochmer. The young couple, Jon 20 years old and Julia just 16, married in a simple wedding on May 18, 1964. After honeymooning in Niagara Falls, the newlyweds returned to Kalamazoo. Jon and Julia began their family right away with the birth of their son, Brian, in 1965. Son Brad was born in 1977 and daughter Traci in 1981. The Youngs worked hard to provide for their family. While Julia drove a bus for Parchment Schools and worked as a clerk for the Dykema's law firm, Jon worked as a draftsman.
Jon lived a humble life and found delight in simple things like coaching his children’s baseball teams, assisting with scouting, and dancing. A frugal man, Jon liked puttering around the house. He liked things to be in order and enjoyed working on home improvement projects. He collected coins, sketched, and enjoyed reading books that were educational, mostly biographies and technical books. A lifelong learner, Jon took several courses at KVCC, earning several certificates later in life. He preferred the classic, soulful sounds of Roy Orbison, Frankie Valley, and Jim Croce, and liked watching documentaries. Jon loved to cook and learning tips from the show, Louisiana Cookin’. A loyal Detroit Lions fan, Jon also enjoyed the loyal companionship of his dogs, Charlie 1st then some years later Mika. An avid walker and talker, Jon enjoyed his regular walks and communing with others along the way.
As the grandchildren grew older, Jon's relationship with them grew closer. He really came to enjoy his grandkids when they were a little order. Jon’s family and friends knew that getting through to him was often a challenge as he was firm in his perspectives and blunt when sharing them. Despite the challenge, they knew his heart and appreciated his honesty. Jon taught his children and grandchildren to value education and the importance of hard work. The way he welcomed others and always had time to engage in lively conversation proved an inspiration. For Jon knew no stranger, everyone was indeed a friend with a story worthy of being heard.
While Jon will be missed, his legacy of kindness and generosity will proudly be carried forward by those he loved. With each warm smile greet another, story we share, and respectful debate we engage in, we celebrate the best gifts of Jon’s life. And, in this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Jon A Young, of Kalamazoo, age 75, died April 30, 2020, at his home. He worked as a draftsman for over 30 years. Jon was preceded in death by his former wife, Julia Young, in 2011. Surviving are 3 children: Brian Young, Brad Young, and Traci (Zach) Hansen; 2 grandchildren: Tyler (Adrienne) Young and Kristan (Max) Fortney; great-grandchildren: Mason, Olivia and Laine; and a sister, Jill Branham. Private services took place with burial at Riverside Cemetery. Please visit Jon’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read his life story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Disabled American Veterans. Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.