Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Bob Allen

September 24, 1928 - November 28, 2020
Plainwell, MI



Wednesday, December 2, 2020
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Rosary at 7 PM

Driving Directions


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.

American Heart Association / American Stroke Association Memorial or Tribute Donation
PO Box 840692
Dallas, TX 75284-0692
(800) 242-8721
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


A hug spoke volumes in the life of Bob Allen, and with his jovial personality and unending smiles, he brought great joy to those around him. He always had a good prank up his sleeve, and some would even say he was often up to no good, yet truth be told, it was all in playful fun. Bob possessed a strong work ethic and through his devotion and dedication to the family he held most dear, he was a loving provider and example. For these things and so much more, Bob will be fondly remembered.

On the heels of the Great Depression, the year 1928 was a time of liveliness as the Roaring Twenties defined the era, and Prohibition was law of the land. While the discovery of penicillin forever changed the field of medicine, the infamous Mickey Mouse made his debut to the delight of children everywhere. Nestled in the Upper Peninsula city of Sault St. Marie, Michigan, Melvin and Delphine (Tromblay) Allen found much to be thankful for when on September 24, 1928, they lovingly welcomed the birth of their little boy, Robert Allen into their hearts and home.

Bob’s father worked at the local power plant while his mother remained at home with Bob and his younger siblings, Francis, James, and Melva. As the Great Depression weighed heavy on the hearts and lives of people everywhere, Bob’s family was no exception. Despite these trying times, young Bob enjoyed a childhood typical of his generation and found his share of mischief, too! Known as a troublemaker, Bob loved nothing more than playing practical jokes and pranks to pass the time. This trait no less carried over into his adulthood and he was quite good at it!

Having attended the area schools, Bob was a friend of many. He graduated from Sault Ste. Marie High School and went on to join the U.S. Coast Guard where he served as a cook. Stationed in Juno, Alaska, he loved watching the boats anywhere he was, particularly back home in Sault Ste. Marie.

Bob met the love of his life, Carol Vallier in St. Ignace, Michigan as a young man working the car ferries. It was love at first sight for Bob, and although he had the good fortune of meeting Carol, it took some convincing on Carol’s part! Before long, the two began dating and were happily married on June 23, 1951. They eventually made their way south to West Michigan, making the Kalamazoo area their home.

Bob and Carol were blessed with the births of five children. Ronald, Kathleen, Cynthia, Daniel, and Thomas filled their lives and home abundantly. Even though he often worked long hours, Bob was a good, loving father and never ceased being there for his kids. Laughter filled their days and over the years numerous memories were made and enjoyed together as a family.

Throughout his life, Bob was always putting on a wonderful spread for all to enjoy. The quintessential couple, Carol was the neighborhood mom, and Bob held the title of neighborhood chef. They regularly entertained and invited people over. Bob was the one who made the meals for any gathering or holiday, and it was just as important to him that his kids were all at the dinner table together each night.

Bob held several jobs throughout his life which offered him great experiences and adventure. A talented luthier, he worked for the Gibson Guitar Company, having even made guitars for Elvis Presley and several other famous artists. When Gibson moved their company to Nashville, Tennessee, Bob went on to land a position working for the Shakespeare Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a manufacturer of fishing equipment. Although he made many fishing rods and reels over the years working there, Bob never took up the sport of fishing. Even after retiring from Shakespeare, Bob always had a job. After retiring he worked for West Ottawa High School as a maintenance man, and well into his 70s he worked tirelessly for the Zeigler Automotive Group in Plainwell. A hard worker from his earliest years, Bob held fast to his motto, “Do the job, and do it well.”

Grandchildren were the delight of Bob and Carol’s life and together they were “voted” the very best of grandparents! Bob loved them dearly and made it a point to never miss his grandkid’s games and other events. As a grandfather he was supportive and encouraging, and he especially loved having them over for overnight visits. Bob cherished his special relationship with each of them as they brought great joy to his life when they visited.

In his free time, Bob enjoyed playing softball on an adult league and was a pretty good first baseman in his younger years. He also took in bowling and a good game of pool whenever he could. With his time working at Shakespeare, he always had several good pool cues. An avid Detroit sports fan, Bob loved Red Wings hockey the most, but he liked the Lions and Tigers, as well. In fact, Bob even had a University of Michigan game on the afternoon of his death. Through the years he often attended Griffins and K-Wings games with family, and he was one of the first season ticket holders when the K-Wings first started. Anyone who knew Bob, or in proximity, knew he was a very enthusiastic fan! Perhaps his favorite pastime though was a good crossword puzzle, very few of which left him stumped for answers.

With his witty and jovial personality, Bob’s charm and good nature gained him many friends. He had a great, lighthearted laugh that brought smiles to those around him. Always up to something, he was a jokester who liked to cheat playing cards, cribbage or 31, of which his friends can attest. He could pull the best practical jokes. He once made a spectacle of measuring his neighbor’s car, joking with her that it was parked an inch just over his property line! And even though Carol would begin her ironing duties by plugging in the iron, there was Bob, right behind her unplugging it when she wasn’t looking. When she’d call out to him that it wasn’t working, he’d simply say, “Well, if you’d plug the darn thing in!”

Bob Allen was one of a kind and he never let things get him down. He once fell through the side of his above ground pool and just laughed it off as all the water gushed through the yard. Known for his hugs, Bob displayed his affection for those that he loved without fail, and when Bob hugged, he hugged with all his might! He counted his family as his greatest accomplishment and to all who knew and loved Bob, he will be dearly missed.

Robert Allen, age 92, of Plainwell, died peacefully on November 28, 2020 at home surrounded by his family. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Carol; two brothers: Francis Allen and James Allen; and his great-granddaughter: Emma. Surviving are his children: Ronald (Janice) Allen, Kathleen (Darrell) Peek, Cynthia (Jerald) Rosecrans, Daniel Allen, and Thomas (Irene) Allen, and special daughters: Mary Anne (Don) Hicks and Karen (George) Baldino; 14 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandson; his sister: Melva Watkins; and many nieces and nephews.

A Life Story gathering for friends and family will be held 4-7 PM Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. The Rosary will be recited at 7:00 PM. Private burial at Mount Ever Rest Memorial Park South. Please visit Robert’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 the American Heart Association.