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.
Life Gate Baptist Church
2890 South Park Road
Eau Claire, MI 49111
Life Together Nicaragua
P.O. Box 392
Saline, MI 48176
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Honest, hardworking, and compassionate, Ron R. Simcox lived a faith-centered life rich in family and friends. With an empathetic ear and a passion for being of service, Ron selflessly gave of his time and talents. He naturally knew how to connect deeply and encourage others to be their very best, even when facing life’s greatest challenges.
1946 was a year marked by much celebration and hope. With the victorious end of World War II, families tuned into the celebratory tunes of Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and the Andrews Sisters, while children delighted in the debut of the slinky. While the nation relished in a renewed sense of peace and newfound hope, even greater promise for the future was celebrated by Oran and Maxine (Gorham) Simcox welcomed their son Ron into their hearts and home on November 25, 1946, in Alma, Michigan.
Though born in Alma, the family moved while Ron was young to Bradenton, Florida. The third of five children, Ron developed a love for baseball at a very young age. A left-handed pitcher, he played baseball for the Boys Clubs in Florida and was a batboy for the Dodgers during Spring training. Unfortunately, Ron’s baseball was cut short when he was injured in a motorcycle accident at the age of 14.
While working at a grocery store one summer, Ron had the good fortune of meeting the owner’s daughter, Sandra Barton. Instantly smitten, Ron and Sandra were soon a couple setting their eyes on a future spent together. They married on January 6, 1965, in a ceremony held at her parents’ home.
During the first years of their marriage, Ron worked at Oldsmobile. After 11 years with the company, he felt called to a vocation as a pastor and enrolled in studies at Hyles Anderson College in Crown Point, Indiana. After completing his training, Ron first became a youth pastor at Oak Field Baptist Church in Rockford, Michigan. He then became head pastor at Faith Baptist in Mattawan, Michigan, and superintendent at Faith Baptist Academy. Later, he worked as a custodian at Mattawan High School for about ten years, after which he went to Life Gate Baptist Church in Eau Claire where he served as pastor through his final days.
Ron and Sandy were blessed to welcome five children into their family. Laney, Scott, Brent, Amy, and Michael were the center of their lives. Ron took the honor of his role as a father seriously and did his best to build his home on strong family values and an undauntable faith. One of the great gifts he gave his children was a living example of how a good man treats a good woman. He believed that the way a man treats his mother is how he will treat his wife. He naturally demonstrated unconditional love and affection. It was not unusual for his children to see their parents dancing in the kitchen or lovingly embracing one another. He believed it was important to take the time to take your spouse out for a date, and that we should never publicly embarrass our beloved. Ron also encouraged his children to understand the importance of being mindful in how they treat others by frequently asserting, “Be nice to everyone because you never know what someone is going through.” And while Ron worked a lot, he was able to take a few trips with his family to Anna Maria Island in Florida over the years. Ron enjoyed family gatherings and loved his favorite pizza joint, “Pizza Sam’s” up north. Pizza Sam’s was a place he enjoyed hanging out.
A man who enjoyed the simple things in life, Ron had many interests. He loved the Bible and made it the cornerstone upon which he built his life. He began and ended each day with coffee and could watch Sports Center for hours on end. He loved all sports and was a true fan of the University of Michigan. When not watching sports on TV, you could find Ron watching a variety of crime shows. He possessed a sweet tooth that gladly welcomed any opportunity to indulge in chocolate, donuts, and candy of all sorts. He also ate Ketchup on all of his sandwiches, don’t ask why. Ron loved to ride his Harley, and even enjoyed a Route 66 trip with some of his buddies. Ron was a fan of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe and enjoyed watching classic movies they starred in. A gun enthusiast, Ron also made many great memories hunting with his boys. Ron even enjoyed debating politics.
After Sandy died in 1993, Ron leaned into his faith and family during his time of grieving. He felt most “at home” while preaching, and though he was not a perfect man, he always pushed forward and continued to learn. With each trial and tribulation, and every joy, Ron grew his capacities for preaching principles, loving people, and seeing the big picture. He embodied the principles of his faith, and in so doing, was admired by many. He was especially good at connecting and encouraging people as they entered marriage and faced the loss of loved ones. His weddings and funerals were highly respected. Ron also had the honor of performing two of his children’s weddings and several of his grandchildren’s baptisms. He was well respected in the community of Mattawan and helped, loved and comforted many people he came in contact with during his lifetime of living in Mattawan.
In time, Ron was blessed to meet and experience a close relationship with Janet Zagar. Both widowers, they found comfort in each other’s good company. For over 20 years, they enjoyed sharing their families with one another and traveling together. Ron was good to her grandkids, even taking the time to teach them how to shoot a gun. Ron and Janet enjoyed taking trips near and far. Some of their most memorable trips included going to Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, taking a Disney Cruise, and going to North Carolina to connect with some school mates.
Over the last few weeks, Ron experienced some heart problems and unexpectedly died in the comforts of his home on October 29, 2019. Clearly, the world feels less certain in the absence of Ron’s unshakeable faith and steadfast presence. May it afford deep comfort to know that with each cup of coffee we enjoy, hand we lend, gentle listening and encouraging word we give, and moments we ponder Psalms 121 and Romans 5-8, we are living Ron’s legacy in our daily lives; and, in these ways, we will continue to keep his spark shining.
Ron R. Simcox, age 72, was preceded in death by his wife, Sandra Simcox, in 1993; parents and by 5 siblings. Members of his family include 5 children: Laney Simcox, Scott (Kimberly) Simcox, Brent (Angela) Simcox, Amy (Tim) Taylor, and Michael Simcox; 12 grandchildren who adored him and he was their Papa; 4 great-grandchildren; true-friend, Janet Zagar and her son, Chad (Jill) Zagar and many nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends on Saturday (Nov. 2nd) from 5-8 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Cremation will follow with private services. Please visit Ron’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read his story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to: Life Gate Baptist Church or Life Together Nicaragua.