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Bronson Health Foundation
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Life Story / Obituary
As family and friends can surely attest, Robert Fults understood the secret to a life well lived. He was a constant source of strength and encouragement for his loved ones, even in the most difficult of times. Nothing brought Bob greater joy than surrounding himself with his family. He was always willing to go above and beyond to serve others, and his solid work ethic formed the foundation of all that he did. Forever loved, Bob will be dearly missed by those who knew him best.
The late 1930s was a tumultuous time in United States History. The country was still deeply entrenched in the devastation of the Great Depression, and tensions were only rising as WWII loomed on the horizon. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Fults couple was eagerly anticipating the arrival of their child. On October 10, 1939, their wait was over, and they welcomed their son, Robert, into the world.
Growing up, Bob was a typical young man of his generation in many ways. He was raised in the family home on Lake Street. From a young age, Bob was very energetic and loved playing sports of all kinds, including baseball and football. He also enjoyed shooting marbles and playing Army. Throughout his childhood, Bob formed priceless friendships with Ron and Gene Sager and Dick, Bob, and May VanFulpen. It has been said that he was inseparable from his closest friends. Bob loved a good thrill and could often be found hopping trains, racing dirt bikes, and street racing with cars he and his buddies modified. He attended local schools, including Thomas Edison Elementary School, Kalamazoo Central High School, and Richland High School.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Bob as he met the woman who would soon become the love of his life. Her name was Dianne Marie Okeley, and the two went to Dianne’s senior prom together as their first date. There was an instant spark between them. Bob and Dianne continued to date for the next year, often going bowling together. It didn’t take the couple long to realize that they were truly made for each other and began to discuss getting married. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Bob and Dianne were married by the Justice of the Peace in Parchment on November 23, 1962.
As a young man, Bob left home to serve his country. He was in the United States Army from May of 1963 to April of 1965. Bob then spent two years in the Army Reserves. He was stationed in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Following his time in the Army, Bob earned his GED and went on to pursue further education. He attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College and earned his associate degree in Middle Management and Marketing.
All who knew Bob can certainly agree that, of all the things he loved in life, he treasured his family above all else. Together, he and Dianne were overjoyed to welcome their three children, Kim, Sharla, and Paul, into their hearts and home. Bob thrived in his role as a father and instilled in his children the value of kindness and hard work. He also worked very hard to provide for his family by working as a truck driver for 24 years. Later in life, Bob was thrilled to become a grandfather to Alex, Gavin, and Jacob as well. He adored his grandchildren and was very involved in their activities and lives, and he always made time for them. Bob considered himself blessed to watch his family grow to include so many loved ones.
Never one to sit still for long, Bob pursued many hobbies to stay busy in his free time. He enjoyed playing golf, shooting pool, and bowling. Bob stayed very active throughout his entire life, even slalom skiing into his 70s. He liked riding his motorcycle and took many road trips with Dianne on the back. Bob and Dianne loved to travel all over the country. Their favorite trip was to Maui, Hawaii. They owned a travel trailer and visited several national parks, spending two months in Alaska. He and Dianne enjoyed lake life and lived on Eagle Lake in Mattawan, Pine Lake in Delton, and Eagle Lake in Paw Paw before settling down in a condo. It didn’t take Bob long to work his way into the board of directors for the condo association. He served as president of bowling leagues, and he was a member of the Southern Michigan Gun Club. After some years of condo living, he and Dianne felt the need to move back to Eagle Lake in Paw Paw to spend their sunset years. There, they enjoyed boating and watching their grandkids go tubing. Bob loved Italian foods, such as pasta and lasagna, and had a giant sweet tooth.
When reflecting on the life of Robert Fults, it is easy to see both his unwavering strength and his unconditional love for his family. He faced challenges head-on with a spirit of determination. A dedicated husband, father, and grandfather, Bob was a friend to many and beloved by all. He exemplified a life of generosity and service to others. Though he will be deeply missed, Bob leaves behind a priceless legacy that his loved ones will be proud to carry on in his footsteps.
Robert Fults died unexpectedly at Bronson Hospital on Wednesday, January 17, 2024. Cremation has taken place and private services were held. Visit Bob’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Bronson Health Foundation. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009 (269) 375-2900