Saturday, June 19, 2021
12:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
WMU Bernhard Center
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
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.
Make A Wish Foundation
Entertainment & Sport Action Group
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
On May 21, 2021 at 1:25 pm Roosevelt Clark Jr. took his last breath. Roosevelt was a man who encompassed all that greatness in a man should be. He was proceeded in death by Linda Sandford Clark. He was born May 13, 1947 to sharecropping parents, Roosevelt Clark Sr. and Farrow Trader-Clark. His parents moved from Canton, Mississippi to Chicago, Illinois and his father worked in the steel mills on the rivers of East Chicago, Indiana. His mother was a homemaker who always dreamed of teaching. Roosevelt Sr. and Farrow brought Mr. Roosevelt Clark Jr. (Butch) into existence.
Butch grew up in a loving home with his older sisters Freedonia Clark and Hazel Clark. A baby sister, Marlene Clark, rounded out the loving family of six. The home where Roosevelt spent his formative years was so filled with love. When he went away to college, he was determined to use his education to improve his economic status.
Butch, like most boys of his era, played every sport and loved the comradery that competition brings. Roosevelt Sr. always wanted his son to play baseball. He didn’t realize that Butch’s size and agility would serve him better as a football player. Butch gained recognition as a leading athlete at East Chicago Washington High School. While there, his football team outscored their opponents by an average of four touchdowns to one. Butch also played high school baseball. At the time, he could not make the East Chicago Washington HS “Senators” basketball team.
Due to the racial climate of the 1960’s, young Butch was advised to work at the steel mills where his father worked even though he had been offered a full sports scholarship to Western Michigan University. It took just one hot summer of labor at Inland Steel for him to realize there had to be a better way. He discovered that something better was a football scholarship at Western Michigan University. During his time at WMU, Butch’s discipline enabled him to transform into a conditioned, strong, tall, sports illustrated premier wide receiver on the football team. He stood at 6’2” and weighed in at 225 pounds. Simultaneously, he was a premier power forward on the basketball team. He was a player that excelled at two extremely physical sports at the same time. Before “Bo knows,” Butch knew. Mr. Clark would affectionately be dubbed Rose or Rosie by local Kalamazoo Gazette sportswriter, Jack Moss. The nickname stuck as his new moniker. As an athlete and founding father of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Upsilon Gamma Chapter, at WMU, Rosie remained a sports hero and a legend to many.
While at WMU, Rosie met and married fellow student Barbara Angebrandt of Southgate, Michigan. They were married 15 years and had two sons, Troy and Travis, rounding out and carrying on his lineage. In addition, he is survived by Troy’s sons: Etreyu, Jovaan, Traveon, Trejohn, and Chawn, and Travis with his wife Michelle, and son Donovan. Roosevelt remarried Linda Sanford and gained a stepdaughter, Christian, followed by her children: Ella, and Jack. In later years, he was always surrounded by his loving brotherhood of friends and family which he treasured immensely.
Roosevelt earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in history. He began his career in social work at the Douglas Community Center in Kalamazoo, later branching into human resources at the City of Kalamazoo. He was the Director of Human Resources at Three Rivers Hospital and then recruited to join Upjohn Company, which later became Pfizer. As a top minority executive for a Fortune 500 Company and to commemorate his 19 years of service at Pfizer, Roosevelt was featured in an article in the Kalamazoo Gazette entitled, “Being Ready, Loving Change, Creates Success.” He remained a feature in Kalamazoo life.
As a man there was nothing he took on with more pride and joy than that of fatherhood. He knew he would improve his lot and carry on the family name with the wisdom and unspoken love he gave to all that knew him. He welcomed all who loved what he loved most, and with a life span so vast and ties to community and purpose, there are far too many to mention. In his final days, his two sons remained with him until the end. They had a chance to say their final goodbyes and see him off into a vast, new realm of pain free existence with his ancestors.
Rosie’s surrogate brothers and partners, remained dear to him until the end. Roosevelt Clark was a father and friend to many whom he met along the way. His connection to people and purpose was a theme of his personal home life and his career.
Our father would often say, “Never underestimate anyone, especially yourself.” Allow this endearing message to inspire those he touched as well as generations of Clarks to follow. Allow the spirit and legacy of this great man to dwell in your hearts and memories forever, just, as the path he blazed and the wisdom he imparted will remain with us always.
Roosevelt Clark Jr., age 74, died peacefully on May 21, 2021.Visit Roosevelt’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may read his Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Entertainment and Sport Action Group, Make A Wish Foundation, or a charity of your choice. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900.