Life Story Visitation
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food, drinks, and stories will be shared. At 6:30 pm the family will have a special toast for Mike.
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.
Contributions may be made directly to the family
Please make checks payable to Cheryl Anderson.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Mike Anderson, words such as kind and fun-loving come to mind. Known for his loyal friendships and always having an open door to his home, Mike was a gentle spirit who enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. A lover of nature and the outdoors, he found solace in spending time at the Kalamazoo Nature Center and taking walks on the trails with his growing family. Gone too soon, Mike will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
The 1960s were characterized by great social changes. Midway through this decade in our nation’s history, The Vietnam War continued to worsen and there was great civil unrest, yet there was still promise. Exciting things were on the horizon; the St. Louis Arch was completed and The Beatles released four new albums. On March 24, 1964, Mike was born the oldest child to a set of loving parents, Dennis and Susan (Rodeheaver) Anderson, at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His parents instilled in him a strong work ethic that served Mike well throughout his life and a trait that he helped pass on to his own children.
Growing up in Parchment, Mike lived a typical childhood. His parents valued the summer camp programs at the nature center where Mike fell in love with the great outdoors. Supported by a mentor, Mark Janess, he later started working there. Mike also fell in love with playing sports and played on the tennis team with Parchment schools. He was excited to start a soccer club at the school and even talked his mother into being the coach! When they wouldn’t allow for the club to be recognized as a varsity sport, Mike left to attend Hackett Catholic High School. He enjoyed the soccer program there as well as taking the tennis team to the state tournament and winning during his senior year. After graduating with the Class of 1982, he set off for Adrian College. Social by nature, Mike became a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity where he made lifelong friends. His SAE brothers were always a special part of his life for years to come. To make a little extra money, he loved to work as a DJ as well as being the host of the M and M show on the campus radio station. He loved to be a part of campus life. Graduating in 1986, he returned to the area to begin a long career in retail management.
Mike took great pride in his years of working with the public. He had a real knack for treating other employees with respect and dignity which made him well-liked among his co-workers. During one of his first jobs working at the Little Chick Shoe Shop, he often visited the nearby Harding’s Market during his lunch hour. By chance, he seemed to always end up in the checkout line of the same friendly cashier, Cheryl Walley. Over time, he worked up the courage to ask her out on a date. His way of asking her out was a little unique and romantic. He tied a big balloon to her car with an invitation to the Battle Creek Balloon Festival. She agreed so Mike prepared Shish Kabobs for dinner before they caught the sunset flight. Cheryl saw him as a romantic, gentle, and trustworthy gentleman. Mike’s two best buddies, Mike Gelbke and Coung Nguyen, approved. They dated for two years before he romantically proposed. Cheryl was studying for college finals and to help her with the stress he brought her a TCBY cone. He had planted her engagement ring right in the yogurt for her to discover! Kanley Memorial Chapel on Western Michigan University’s campus was the perfect setting for their October 6, 1990, wedding ceremony. Joined by their closest friends and family, they committed their lives to one another. Together they raised two wonderful children; Madi and Connor.
Mike’s family always came first. As a father, he loved unconditionally and was very supportive of his children. He instilled in them a love of nature and the outdoors by signing them up for some of the same camps at the Kalamazoo Nature Center that he remembered as a kid. They took countless vacations together that focused on exploration of nature and family bonding. He wanted nothing but the best for them and gave them encouragement to tackle the many challenges in life. Mike taught them to finish what they started and to never take anything for granted. He felt blessed when his two grandchildren, Bennett and Cadence arrived. Mike loved to treat them to special outings and treats and especially enjoyed taking them on outdoor adventures and spending the night. The last memorable trip he took with them was to his favorite kids’ shoe shop in town, Little Chick Shoe Shop, to buy them both new shoes! Mike was an exceptionally loving husband, father, and grandfather.
Sadly, he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015. His optimism during his time of treatments and doctor appointments was inspiring. He was a very strong and determined man. Mike learned to slow down in life and spent less time at work. His last job was a very special position at the V&A Bootery / Okun Brothers Shoes in Kalamazoo. It was not just a job, but a second family. He loved the people he grew to know as friends, along with the service he performed. Mike truly enjoyed his last job and it was a “Love what you do” job as he came full circle from his first job out of college. After experiencing remission for 5 years, the cancer came back. Mike continued his fight with a new perspective of enjoying more time with this family. Though the return of his cancer was devastating, he was grateful for the extra time that was granted from his first diagnosis. The extra time allowed him the opportunity to walk his daughter Madi down the aisle at her marriage to his loving son-in-law, Shane, and watch his beautiful grandchildren grow. He was ever so grateful for these special family events and so many other special times over the last few years. Mike was granted the time and ability to watch his son Connor enjoy college, eventually graduating as a Doctor of Pharmacy and begin a Hospital Residency program.
Mike was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son and friend, who accepted others for who they were. He took one day at a time and only wanted the best for the ones he cared for. His love of family, friends and nature will be a lasting legacy to the ones he leaves behind.
Mike Anderson, age 58, of Kalamazoo died peacefully at home with his family by his side, on Thursday, April 21, 2022. Members of his family include his wife Cheryl; his 2 children: Madi (Shane) Chapman and Connor Anderson (Abbey Moreno-Gaft); 2 grandchildren: Bennett and Cadence; his parents: Dennis and Susan Anderson; a brother: Erik (Shawna) Anderson and many other relatives and friends.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, from 4 - 7 pm at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. There will be a couple of speakers and toast to Mike at 6:30. Visit Mike’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Centrica Care Navigators or directly to the family to assist with expenses.