Friday, August 2, 2019
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and drinks will be served.
Saturday, August 3, 2019
11:00 AM EDT
Yorkville Community Church
11523 East D Ave.
Richland, MI 49083
Burial will follow the service at Riverside Cemetery, Kalamazoo. Following the burial, a luncheon will be held in the church 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
Paul Johnson was a man of integrity who greatly valued family and his faith. There was no doubt that Paul’s love language was his gift of service as there wasn’t anything that he wouldn’t do for another person in need. Although he will be deeply missed, his generosity and passionate personality will be lovingly remembered for many years to come.
The 1950s were known as the decade of the baby boomer. Exciting times indeed with the many talents of professional baseball players Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron, as well as the music and movie icons, Elvis Presley and James Dean. On August 5, 1953, Warren and Jacqueline (Calvin) Johnson welcomed home their son, Paul, in Pontiac, Michigan. The second oldest of four children, his birth brought them much joy and happiness in a promising time in our nation’s history.
Paul was born with an innate sense of responsibility. His parents modeled a strong work ethic by running the family business, Kalamazoo Reddy Mix, as well as maintaining the household. At a young age, Paul fell in love with reading, leading to his wealth of knowledge on many subjects. He and his brothers loved to attend the summer swim camps at Camp Chicopee in Ontario often arriving back just in time for school to start in the fall to show off their toned and trimmed bodies! Graduating with the Class of 1971 from Portage Northern High School, he set off for the University of Colorado where he spent a good portion of the time skiing in the mountains. After two years, he transferred to the University of Michigan and completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Anthrozoology. Wasting no time at all, he enrolled at Western Michigan University’s graduate program to earn his Master’s degree in microbiology.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of Michele Withey, a Livonia student, attending WMU at the time Paul was working as a graduate student instructor. He loved to poke fun at her during class, especially during roll call, and the two of them hit it off! They were both studious yet shared a genuine ability to put one another at ease. After dating for roughly a year, they were engaged and a year later joined in marriage on September 26, 1980, at the Western Golf and Country Club in Redford. Without much of a savings account, they delayed their honeymoon until they could enjoy some time vacationing in the Bahamas. For a brief period, they lived in Livonia before moving to Northern Virginia and then settling in Kalamazoo. He loved the small-town feel of Kalamazoo over a big city as he hated dealing with traffic. By the late 80s, he and Michele built their forever home in Comstock where they raised their two wonderful daughters: Kristin and Danielle.
Paul enjoyed the traditional role of providing for his family as well as maintaining the property. He was an excellent salesman selling high end medical equipment and research materials to science laboratories. He had a real knack for connecting with people as well as in-depth knowledge about medical research, leading to many successful years in his career. Yet, when it came time for retirement, at the age of fifty-five, he was more than ready. Together as a family, they enjoyed traveling. Once he got the travel bug and built up his sea legs, they took the kids on many vacations including Australia and New Zealand. Being an extreme tennis fan, he was able to attend Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the U.S. Open. He and his lovely bride, Michele, enjoyed dancing and took ballroom dance lessons. The two of them took many trips together, including a memorable Mediterranean cruise for their 25th wedding anniversary. They shared a beautiful life together before her unexpected passing in 2009. Michele was Paul’s everything. Losing her was devastating and he was never able to truly heal. He missed sharing life with Michele immensely and remained deeply in love with her even in her absence.
After her death and into his retirement years, Paul poured himself into his many special hobbies. Self-taught to create and design furniture, he made many beautiful wood pieces during the past several years. A lifetime reader, his entire home was filled with books and he continued his passion for historical and Christian novels, the classics, science fiction, and Marvel comics. Paul loved to grill and entertain. He never had much food in the house, but when it came to grilling, he made sure that no one went home hungry! He’d often eat fast and wash it down with a cold Killian’s, Fat Tire, or a Rusty Nail cocktail! Paul kept up his downhill skiing by joining the Grand Rapids Ski Club and taking ski trips with his buddies. Blessed to be a grandfather, he loved both Brynn and Joni dearly. Any amount of time they had together was always his favorite part of any day! Described as generous, good-hearted, and passionate, Paul leaves a wonderful collection of memories for his many special friends and loved ones to cherish.
Paul C. Johnson, age 65, of Richland, Michigan died unexpectedly at his home on July 28, 2019. He was an active member of Yorkville Community Church. Paul was preceded in death by his wife, Michele Johnson in 2009, parents; brother, Wade Johnson, and in-laws, George and Gladys Withey. Members of his family include two daughters: Kristin (Shannon) McHale-Johnson and Danielle Johnson; two grandchildren: Brynn and Joni; siblings: Jenny Johnson, Brad Johnson; mother-in-law, Allison Withey; brother-in-law: Gregg (Lauren) Withey and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Friday from 5-8 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Services will be held Saturday 11AM at Yorkville Community Church (11523 East D Ave., Richland). Burial will take place at Riverside Cemetery. A lunch will follow the burial in the church hall. Please visit Paul’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Children’s HopeChest, 300 General Palmer Drive Palmer Lake, CO 80133.