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Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
1830 S Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
For those wishing to send flowers, please have them delivered on Monday, January 25th between the hours of 12 noon and 1 pm to the Bethel Baptist Church, 5701 Mt. Olivet Rd, Kalamazoo MI 49009.
Life Story / Obituary
Some who knew Barry G. Meyer would call him a teddy bear, others a grizzly. Those who knew him best know that he was both. He ruthlessly demanded excellence from himself and others. He wept with empathy at the pain of others. He mourned his own deficiencies while rejoicing that he had already been forgiven by God through the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a closet romantic, a drill sergeant, and a college professor all rolled into one.
Barry was born to Gerald and Ellamaree Meyer on July 20, 1945, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When Barry was only a month old, his parents hopped into their car to join the downtown celebration of the end of World War II. Baby Boy did not appreciate the noisy fuss, and his wails of distress cut their celebration short.
Barry’s sister Paula was born in 1949. Times were tough for the family on many levels, but Barry had many happy memories. One day he ran away from home, pulling his little wagon with his sights on the horizon. A policeman found him and took him home. Barry got a stick of gum from the policeman and a solid spanking from his mother. Some of the best times for Barry were spent at his parents’ hunting cabin. He loved nature and the freedom of the woods. He spoke fondly of the one-room schoolhouse he and his sister attended in Alto. He credited that school with developing his insatiable curiosity.
When Barry was seventeen, he decided he had had enough of high school and other demands and utilized a grown-up version of running away with his little wagon; he got his GED and joined the Army. Much of his service was spent in Germany, and one of his favorite recollections was having the opportunity to travel to the home in Amsterdam where Anne Frank and her family had hidden.
The Army provided Barry with a structure and purpose that he hadn’t experienced before. His penchant for organization and procedure served him well, and he received six commendations for perfect inspections as a battalion mail clerk. He also received three Dear John letters from his girlfriend Laura Sue, but she was there when he returned stateside in 1965. They married six weeks later on September 18. Side-by-side, they endured tremendous loss as well as joys for the next fifty-five years.
Barry’s father had grown his own father’s service station in Grand Rapids into a hydraulic jack repair shop and then into a manufacturing company which he moved to Centreville, Michigan, in 1963. Barry joined the business and tried to establish a west coast division in California. Although the branch didn’t work out, he did fall in love with the west and found his happy place, Death Valley. The family traveled back regularly, and eventually he saw it as a metaphor for life; barren and beautiful at the same time.
Barry and Laura Sue’s early married life required all of their resourcefulness just to keep food on the table. They adopted their daughter Connie in April of 1969, and she put a sparkle back in Barry’s eye. One of their favorite memories was a trip they took to California by motorcycle. In 1993 Connie married Kevin Farmer, and Barry accepted him as SON, refusing to call him son-in-law.
As a young man, Barry threw all of his energies into the business. His passion was to invent the jack that would be his big break so he would never have to worry about money again. Despite a couple of successful developments, those dreams never brought him the windfall he was hoping for. At the age of thirty-seven, Barry found himself sitting at his kitchen table, head in his hands, hopeless and empty. He turned to the only thing he had left that seemed to offer some kind of resolution; the faith of his mother. He opened a Bible, desperate for help. Psalm 116 best describes what happened next: “I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘Lord, save me!’” (vv. 3b-4)
From that moment, Barry became a new man in the eyes of God. All of his flaws, vices, and indeed wickedness were forgiven in a moment, and he was given a sense of peace and purpose that he had never before experienced. Barry spent the rest of his life pursuing the Truth of God by studying the Bible fervently and sharing it with others relentlessly. The troubles of his past still haunted him, but he had hope. He consistently testified to the truth of Psalm 116:2: "Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live."
After God called him to be a follower of Jesus, Barry’s priorities shifted. Rather than only building wealth for himself, Barry wanted to use what he had to take care of his family and to echo the generosity of the Lord. He was proud of the business he had continued to build after the death of his father. It was important to him to include other family members in its operations. He loved teaching and talking about the Bible. Over the years the Lord gave him some wonderful, faithful friends who helped him grow in his faith and encouraged him and Laura through hard times.
He had varied interests, like Civil War history, psychology, and coin collecting. He and Laura raised two “sons,” Jon and Charlie, their precious golden retrievers. In 2016, they purchased a home on Big Bass Lake in Irons, Michigan. Barry found much peace sitting in his chair by the fireplace, looking out at the lake, listening to the loons, and waiting for the local eagle to soar past. Most recently he had begun online counseling courses alongside writing an autobiography. He cherished his grandchildren, calling Anna his “soul mate” and Simeon his “Little Buddy.” He wanted them to remember three things about Papa: he loved them, he loved Jesus, and he tried to be a man of the Bible. His family rests knowing that Barry’s ultimate healing has taken place and he no longer suffers in body or mind.
Psalm 116:7, 16
Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
Truly I am Your servant, Lord;
I serve You just as my mother did;
You have freed me from my chains.
Barry died on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at the age of seventy-five. Barry was preceded in death by his parents, parents-in-law, and a nephew. He is survived by his wife of fifty-five years, Laura Sue; his daughter Connie (Kevin) Farmer; his grandchildren Annalise and Simeon Farmer; his sister Paula Coomer; his sister-in-law Diane Scheidel; several nieces and nephews; and dear, faithful friends. A private memorial service will be held on Monday, January 25, 2021. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Gideons International at www.gideons.org. Please visit Barry’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you may share a favorite photo or memory, or sign the online guestbook.
Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900