Life Story Visitation
Friday, January 21, 2022
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Please join us for a Life Story Visitation where food, refreshments, and stories will be shared.
Life Story Service
Saturday, January 22, 2022
11:00 AM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
A reception with food and refreshments will follow in the Life Story Center.
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a whole heart, a warm smile, and a terrific sense of humor, Larry Freemire lived a life rich in family and friends. Larry was generous, supportive, and kind. He welcomed every moment and person as a gift, always finding a way to celebrate life’s joys and to lighten hardships. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend, Larry proved a powerful role model for living life to the fullest. An inspiration to all who were blessed to know him, Larry will long be remembered and ever so missed.
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 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, George and Darlene (Forrester) Freemire celebrated their own hopes for the future as they welcomed their son, Larry, into their hearts and home on September 14, 1944, in Cheboygan, Michigan.
Growing up in Portage, Michigan, the oldest of the three Freemire kids, Larry was well known for his mischievousness. Once, he even put a snake on the clothesline to scare his mom. From a young age, Larry enjoyed hanging out at the local roller rink; skating became a love he enjoyed his entire life. Larry began working at 13, delivering newspapers in his neighborhood. Even as an adult, he could remember every detail of his route.
A graduate of Gull Lake High School, Larry was a natural craftsman. He was good with his hands and possessed a robust work ethic, working two jobs most of the time. His love of roller skating inspired him to run the roller rink in Richland for a time, and he worked at Durametallic, now Flowserve, for over 30 years. Never one to be still for long, after retiring, Larry found himself looking for something to get him outside. He started Freemire Lawn Care, a business he proudly operated for seven years. Though quite different from his previous career, he found great joy in the service he provided to his clients. He also worked part time at the Schoolcraft Auto Auction.
Larry was blessed to meet the love of his life, through his sister-in-law, Mary, who introduced him to her sister, Evelyn Vickers. She had two daughters from a previous marriage, and Larry quickly welcomed them into his heart as his own, along with his three daughters. Larry and Evelyn married on April 14, 1979, at the house they built together on Plainfield Ave. Their home became a sanctuary for their family and the place where they made many lovely memories.
As a father, Larry was unwavering in his love and support. He showed his girls how to do practical, often mechanical things and encouraged all of their endeavors. He listened with compassion and faith, offering encouragement, wisdom, and confidence. While he held his children to clear expectations, his discipline was lovingly firm. While he rarely yelled, his kids learned that when he did raise his voice, it was a serious call to listen. Larry enjoyed sharing his passions with his kids, especially teaching them to roller skate. Vacations to Gatlinburg and Cedar Point, exploring Lake Michigan on his boat, “The Elf,” and cruising in his red Corvette, were always sources of delight for Larry and his family.
One of the many gifts Larry gave his family was the example of his marriage with Evelyn. His loving care was evident in the many ways he supported her. In their early years together, they enjoyed dancing to Country and Elvis tunes on the weekends. Larry always looked for ways to show his love. Evelyn remembers a special time when he surprised her with a weekend getaway. Not only did he arrange every detail of the trip, but he also made arrangements to have the house cleaned. He even had one of her favorite outfits dry cleaned for the weekend. Larry and Evelyn built their lives together on the firm foundation of their faith. They enjoyed fellowship and worship at their home church, Disciples of Christ Church on Winchell Ave, and became more active with the church community during their retirement years.
While Larry always embodied his faith and the value of hard work, he also understood the importance of enjoying life's simple pleasures. He relished sharing time with loved ones, good humor, and delicious food and drink. He liked to cook Mexican food, especially his signature bean dip and loved his beer. He even ventured into making his own beer with his friend, Tom. His home was a safe haven for friends and neighbors alike; his thoughtfulness and compassion always made him easy to talk to. To simplify their lives, Larry and Evelyn moved to Oakbrook Estates in 2020. Larry was so much looking forward to getting on his bicycle and riding the Portage bike path.
Without a doubt, life feels far less certain in the absence of Larry’s steadfast, reliable, loving support. As we grieve, may we find deep comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying Larry’s legacy forward. With each challenge we confidently meet, bike or boat ride we take, laugh we share, project we complete, and turn on the dance floor with our beloved, we celebrate the many ways Larry gifted our lives. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Larry Freemire of Portage, age 77, died on January 15, 2022. Larry was preceded in death by his brother, Robert Freemire. Surviving are his wife, Evelyn; children: Cheri (Mike) Lyster, Terri (Tom) Augustine, Tammi (Don) Boven, Vicky Skidmore, and Lisa (Marty) Hoover; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; his brother, Jerry (Mary) Freemire; and several nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place. Please join us for a Life Story Visitation where food, refreshments, and stories will be shared on Friday (JAN 21) 5-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. A Life Story Service will be held Saturday (JAN 22) 11 AM also at the funeral home with a reception following in the Life Story Center. Visit Larry’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Centrica Care Navigators (formerly Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan) or Vibrant Life Senior Living.