Life Story Visitation
Thursday, January 26, 2023
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
The Rosary will be recited at 6:30pm.
Mass of Christian Burial
Friday, January 27, 2023
10:00 AM EST
St. Mary's Catholic Church
939 Charlotte Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
A luncheon will follow in Fr. Bart Hall.
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
When reflecting on the life of Larry Janssen, it is easy to see both his unwavering strength and his unconditional love for his family. He was a shining example of kindness and generosity, and his serving spirit allowed him to touch the hearts of countless others. Nothing brought Larry greater joy than spending time with his loved ones, even in the simplest of moments. He was tirelessly dedicated to both his family and his faith. Deeply loved, Larry will be forever missed by those who knew him best.
Although the 1930s were primarily defined by the dark days of the Great Depression, there was much to celebrate and look forward to. The tunes of Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald filled the radio waves while Spencer Tracy and Luise Rainer entertained us on the Silver Screen. The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in ‘36 and ‘37, and Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies started their rise to fame. Closer to home, Francis and Dorothy (Walsh) Janssen announced the birth of the baby boy they named Larry on June 18, 1937, in Dowagiac, Michigan.
Growing up, Larry was a typical young man of his generation in many ways. He was raised in the family home alongside his older brother, Bob, and was later joined by his younger siblings, Pat, Maryann, Tim, Kate, Barb, Anne, and Mike. The Janssen family settled in Kalamazoo, Michigan, when Larry was a toddler. He grew up on Paterson Street on the North side. Throughout his childhood Larry enjoyed playing baseball and going to the movies. He had a paper route as well, forming the foundation for the strong work ethic that would serve him well for his entire life. Larry went on to graduate from St. Augustine High School in 1955, ready to move on to bigger and better things.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Larry as he met the woman who would quickly become the love of his life. Her name was Beverly Wayne, and the two first met when she transferred from the school she had been attending, St. Joseph, to Larry’s school, St. Augustine. Bev spotted Larry in the library and decided to give him a call the very next day. The two felt an instant connection, and it didn’t take them long to realize they were made for each other. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Larry and Bev were married in the presence of family and friends on August 27, 1955. The newlyweds then settled into an apartment in the Lake Street area.
All who knew Larry would agree that, of all the things he loved in life, he treasured his family above all else. He and Bev were overjoyed to welcome their first child, Christine, in 1956, followed by Ronald, Denise, Daniel, Gregory, Kurt, Kelly, Brian, and Kevin. Larry thrived in his role as a father and instilled in his children the value of hard work and determination. He taught them to treat others with kindness and face their challenges head-on. Larry and Bev made the decision to give all of their children a Catholic education. They were so proud to watch all nine of them graduate from Hackett Catholic Central. Later in life, Larry was thrilled to become a grandfather and even a great-grandfather. He adored his grandchildren and doted on them whenever he could, and he enjoyed hosting family events so that he could have all of his loved ones in one place. Larry always considered himself blessed to be surrounded by his family.
Larry entered the workforce soon after high school. He started at Fuller Manufacturing before transitioning to Eaton Corporation, working as a machinist for many years before retiring from his position as a custodian for Comstock Public Schools. His work allowed him to form several lasting friendships, and he was always willing to work hard. He never took a sick day, and he often took second and third shifts so he could spend more time with his children.
As a serving member of his community, Larry poured his heart and soul into his community. He was a Boy Scout leader and was also involved with Parchment Little League for nearly 40 years. Larry was an active Red Cross blood donor earning recognition for his generous blood donations over the years. He was a Rose Arbor Hospice volunteer for 20 years. He was also a 3rd Degree Knight of Columbus and volunteered with the K of C. Larry’s volunteer efforts earned him the President’s Volunteer Service Award several years in a row. Larry was active in his Catholic faith, and through the way he lived his life his faith was easy to see. He forever put others before himself and devoted himself to his family and his community. Larry was truly a humble servant to all those around him.
Never one to sit still for long, Larry pursued many hobbies to stay busy in his free time. He loved all kinds of sports, including softball, bowling, and golf. There was nothing Larry enjoyed more than watching his children and grandchildren play sports as well, and it has been said that he never missed a game. Larry’s favorite college sports teams were anything associated with Notre Dame and the Western Michigan University Broncos, and as a native Michigander he also followed the Detroit Pistons, Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings. He loved attending the coaching clinics at Notre Dame and staying overnight in Knute Rockne’s house in South Bend. Larry enjoyed staying active himself by walking all over the Parchment and Richland areas. He was a Bingo caller at St. Mary’s every Sunday for many years. Larry liked camping all over Michigan in an old army tent and later a pop-up trailer. He especially loved camping in Ludington and Pentwater. He was an avid reader of the newspaper while puffing on his corncob pipe to relax.
As his family and friends can surely attest, Larry truly understood the secret to a life well lived. He was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times, and he was never without an encouraging word to say. A friend to all he met, Larry was well known for his sense of humor and one-liners. He was always willing to go above and beyond to serve others. Though he will be dearly missed, Larry leaves behind a priceless legacy that his loved ones will be proud to carry on in his footsteps.
Larry Janssen of Kalamazoo, age 85, died on January 22, 2023. He was predeceased by his grandson, Andrew; parents, Francis and Dorothy; and brother, Bob. Larry is survived by his wife, Beverly; 9 children: Chris (Larry) Peake, Ron (Marylou) Janssen, Denise (Bryan) Farnsworth, Dan (Pam) Janssen, Greg (Brandice) Janssen, Kurt (Jane) Janssen, Kelly (Rick) McCormick, Brian (Lori) Janssen, and Kevin (Krista) Janssen; 22 grandchildren: Brent, Brian, Brad, Troy, Robin (Dan), Holly (Randall), Andrea (Geoff), Kristina, Cameron, Marissa, Kara, Lindsay, Karter, Nic (Olivia), A.J., Nate, Connor, Ryan, Jake, Shay, and Kate, Drew; 11 great-grandchildren and one on the way; brothers and sisters: Pat (Sue) Janssen, Maryann Vernia, Tim (Dianne) Janssen, Kate (Fred) Mast, Barb Vernia, Anne Hopkins, and Mike ( Mary) Janssen; sister-in-law, Marie Janssen; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Thursday (JAN 26) from 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. The Rosary will be recited at 6:30 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 AM Friday (JAN 27) at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Kalamazoo with a luncheon to follow. Special thanks to the staff at Centrica Care Navigators and Meilland Square. 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.