Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Chris Martin

September 22, 1957 - June 12, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI



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

American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22478
Oklahoma City, OK 73123
(800) 227-2345
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

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


As family and friends can surely attest, Christopher Martin truly understood the secret to living each day to the fullest. He was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times. Nothing brought Chris more joy than surrounding himself with his loved ones, and he was devoted to caring for those around him in whatever ways he could. Chris was a Christian and he lived his life by always being there for family or friends in need. If it was simply to provide a great meal or camaraderie and companionship. He frequently said, “what else is there in life but your family and those closest to you”. His quick wit and sharp sense of humor brought a spark of light to every room. Deeply loved, Chris will be forever missed by those who knew him best.

The late 1950s are remembered as a decade of great social revolution in the United States. The civil rights movement was in full swing, and though the country was divided in many ways, it was also experiencing an economic boom and many advancements that made everyday life easier. It was during this tumultuous time that Edward and Gail (Parachek) Martin were eagerly anticipating the arrival of their first baby. On September 22, 1957, their wait was over, and they welcomed their son, Christopher, into the world.

Throughout his childhood, Chris was a typical young man of his generation in many ways. He was raised in Indiana alongside his two younger siblings, Jennifer and Matt. Chris’ father, Edward, owned an advertising firm while his mother, Gail, worked as a teacher and tennis coach. From a young age, Chris found a great passion for adventure. He attended local schools and graduated from Penn High School in 1975, ready to see what the future had in store for him.

Following his graduation from high school, Chris felt the calling to serve his country and joined the United States Army. He was stationed in Germany for much of his time in the military, and he was able to visit several of the surrounding countries as well. When he returned home, Chris worked hard to pursue further education and went on to earn his associates degree from Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island. His first restaurant managerial position was at a restaurant in Hollywood, California. But eventually, the need to be home and near family called and he moved back to South Bend. Initially finding employment managing a Taco Bell, moving on to become the head of Liberty Mutual’s food service in South Bend.

New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Chris as he met the woman who would soon become the love of his life. Her name was Susan, and the two first met at a bar after being introduced by mutual friends. There was an instant connection between Chris and Susie. Their relationship quickly began to blossom, and it didn’t take the couple long to realize they were truly made for each other. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Chris and Susie were married in 1986. The newlyweds then enjoyed a honeymoon to the Kalamazoo area, where they would be settling down to build their future together.

Chris was never afraid to work hard when it came to providing for himself and those who depended on him. He worked for a time with Simon Brothers, which led him and Susie to Kalamazoo. Soon after, Chris began working for Brakebush Brothers in Wisconsin becoming a Territory Sales Manager. Over the 30 plus years of his career at Brakebush, Chris became very good friends with many of his colleagues. Though the salesman were often scattered across the region, Chris enjoyed inviting them to town and entertaining them at every opportunity. And he also enjoyed organizing fishing trips in the Lake Leelanau area with his co-workers and those he worked with for his sales.

Never one to sit still for long, Chris pursued many hobbies to stay busy in his free time. Music was one of his greatest passions, and he built a sound room with speakers and equipment to better enjoy his music. Chris enjoyed listening to all types of music to include the blues, country, jazz, and rock. Some of his favorite artists were Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Van Morrison and Mark Knopfler. He enjoyed hunting for antiques on Craig’s List, and he found the study of history fascinating. Chris collected air guns and liked to target shoot. Over the years, he learned a bit of gunsmithing and could even customize guns himself. Chris was the treasurer for the Southwest Michigan Gun Club, and he helped build their air gun division from his own backyard. His crowning accomplishment was bringing the National Air Gun Competition to the gun club in Mattawan, Michigan, along with a participant making a shot that got him and the club a spot in the Guinness Book of Records. He enjoyed all kinds of classic cars. Chris loved his vintage black Cadillac, and he would often find cars online and visit auctions. He took great pride in hosting gatherings for friends and family at the house, and he would cook and make sure that everyone was having an amazing time. Chris enjoyed traveling and he and Susie recently took a cruise to Alaska. He doted on his beloved dog, Winnie, and loved swimming with her in the pool and playing ball with her or, as he called it, “slobberball.”

When reflecting on the life of Christopher Martin, it is easy to see both his unwavering strength and his unconditional love for his family. He was a shining example of generosity and openness, and he always made sure his loved ones knew just how much they were treasured. Chris was a friend to many and beloved by all. His big heart allowed him to touch the lives of countless others. Though he will be dearly missed, Chris leaves behind a priceless legacy that his loved ones will be proud to carry on in his footsteps.

Christopher Martin, age 66, died on June 12, 2024. Surviving are his wife, Susie; siblings: Jennifer Martin and Matthew (Patricia) Martin; nephews, Conor and Aidan; stepmother Cynthia Martin; step sisters Mariam Martin and Cathy Martin; and his dog, Winnie.

Celebrate Chris’ life online by sharing your favorite stories and photos on his dedicated webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association or American Cancer Society. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900.