Life Story Celebration
Thursday, November 30, 2023
11:00 AM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
A reception will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Come casual and wear University of Michigan colors as a tribute to Bob.
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.
Tunnel to Towers Foundation
2361 Hylan Blvd
Staten Island, NY 10306
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
As his family and friends can certainly attest, Robert “Bob” Lajiness truly understood the secret to a life well lived. He was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times, and nothing brought him greater joy than spending time with his loved ones. Forever loved, Bob will be dearly missed by those who knew him.
The 1940s are remembered as years of turmoil for the United States and the rest of the world. WWII raged across the globe for the first half of the century. Many servicemen were called away from home, and all those who remained stateside also worked to support the war effort. Even after the end of WWII, there was still much to be done. It was during this trying time that Arthur and Elizabeth (Walters) Lajiness were eagerly anticipating the birth of their third son. On November 23, 1946, their wait was over, and they welcomed their son, Bob, into the world.
Growing up, Bob was a typical young man of his generation in many ways. He was raised alongside his four brothers, Jim, Tom, Dave and Bill. With five boys in their small house, the Lajiness home was never quiet. They enjoyed countless BB gun fights, chasing each other around the house, and playing football together. Bob was known to clumsily spill his milk at every meal so keeping a towel at the ready became an inside joke within the family throughout his life. During the Christmas season, their parents would often send the boys to the movies just to get them to settle down for a bit. Bob and his brothers would always wake up early on Christmas morning and rip into their presents with great excitement! His first job was babysitting for the neighbors who, despite the sibling shenanigans, knew Bob was a responsible young man.
Throughout his childhood, Bob attended local schools. He found a passion for football at a young age, and he and his brothers all played during their school years. This kept their parents busy attending games for many years and cheering for Bob and his brothers. Bob was naturally talented at the sport and was a star player for Loy Norrix High School, where he was also homecoming king. After graduation, Bob was ready to move on to bigger and better things.
When it came to providing for himself and his loved ones, Bob was never afraid to work hard. For a time, he worked at National Food Store, a grocery store on Portage Road. He was drafted into the United States Army and served his country at the ammunition depot at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. Bob had mixed emotions about the country’s response to veterans returning home, but he always held his fellow service members in high regard and maintained a great sense of pride and respect for what they accomplished and sacrificed. A trip in later years to Washington D.C. with his brothers was a heartfelt reminder of the strength of these memories and relationships.
Bob began working at Upjohn in 1978, and he would go on to build a fulfilling career of thirty years. While working at Upjohn and Pfizer, Bob met Cindy Dziewicki and Mike Fevig, who would become some of his closest friends. The group enjoyed working together, catching lunch, gaming at casinos, and enjoyed their retirement years together.
All who knew Bob can surely agree that, of all the things he loved in life, he treasured his family above all else. He and his first wife, Karen, were overjoyed to welcome their two daughters, Shelly and Stacy, into their hearts and home. Though their marriage eventually ended in divorce, Bob was always grateful for the children they shared. He thrived in his role as a father and dedicated himself to raising his daughters. Later in life, Bob was thrilled to become a grandfather. He adored his grandchildren, Tyler, Violet, and Miles, and was very involved in their lives, seizing every opportunity to attend a soccer game, a dance recital, or a hockey game. Bob was also a beloved uncle. He always considered himself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Bob as he met Joan Hoffman who later became his wife. There was an instant spark between them. Bob and Joan would often go out after work with several of their colleagues, and over time their relationship blossomed into romance. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Bob and Joan were married in 1984. They became the world to each other from then on.
Never one to sit still for long, Bob pursued many hobbies in his free time. If you stopped by his house, Fox News was probably on the TV in the background. Bob and Joan loved going on cruises for several years until they travelled to and fell in love with Las Vegas. Several special trips were just Bob, Joan, and Joan’s sister, Deb. They enjoyed being able to experience numerous hotels, restaurants, shows, and casinos. He was well known for his natural born luck. He also treasured the numerous local friends he developed there and experiences they shared.
Bob was also an avid University of Michigan fan. He bled maize and blue and was always proud to say, “Go Blue!” His favorite phrase was often returned by random fans who saw his team hat or shirt while out and about, even when travelling to Las Vegas.
Holidays and weekends were spent surrounded by family at his parents’ house, where his kids and nieces and nephews enjoyed “tending bar” by opening cans of pop behind the bar in the basement. A big kid at heart himself, Bob loved taking his girls to the movies, along with Star World Amusement and playing all the games, winning endless tickets and prizes together.
Throughout his entire life, Bob remained close to his family. He loved to go hunting and fishing with his father and brothers, even when he flipped the canoe once as a kid. More recently, Bob and his brothers rented a van and toured historical sites such as the Gettysburg battlefield and Washington, D.C. Their trip hit a bump when they ended up in the wrong neighborhood, 30 minutes out of their way. Undeterred, they made the best of it. The Lajiness boys did eventually manage to make it to their hotel, and it was an unforgettable trip for all.
When reflecting on the life of Robert Lajiness, 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, and he was a provider for many and a friend to all. 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 “Bob” Lajiness, of Vicksburg, Age 77, passed away on November 25, 2023. Bob was born November 23, 1946 in Kalamazoo to Arthur and Elizabeth (Walters) Lajiness who preceded him in death, along with his brother, Bill Lajiness; and his brother Jim’s wife, Pam. Bob's family includes his wife, Joan; children: Michelle “Shelly” (Quentin) Solis and Stacy Lajiness; grandchildren: Tyler Lajiness, Eli, Violet and Miles Solis; brothers: Jim Lajiness, Tom (Rosalie) Lajiness, and Dave (Lynn) Lajiness; his brother Bill’s wife, Dana Lajiness; brother-in-law and sister-in-law: Deb (Steve Newton) Baird, Jim (Dorotha) Hoffman; several nieces and nephews; and special friends, Cindy Dziewicki and Mike Fevig.
Please join us at a Life Story Celebration on Thursday, November 30th at 11 AM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. A reception where food, drinks, and stories will be shared will follow in the Life Story Center. Come casual and wear University of Michigan colors as a tribute to Bob.
Visit Bob’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Tunnels to Towers Foundation.