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Life Story / Obituary
Age 74, died peacefully on July 14, 2019. Chuck was born on April 30, 1945 in Chicago, IL, the son of Charles and Virginia (Engstrom) Molitor. Chuck was an avid and skilled model railroader, whose love of trains began when his Grandpa Molitor gifted him an American Flyer engine at the age of two. Living on the south side of Chicago near the train yards as a young boy, his affinity for trains only grew. He would lie awake in his bed at night and listen to the low rumbling and soft whistles of the trains as they pulled out of the stockyards loaded with their freight and wares. Chuck moved with his family to Fish Lake in Marcellus, Michigan in 1947 where his love of fishing was born. Years later, he continued to spend time casting out on the water with his parents, brothers, and eventually his own children at the family’s summer home in Minnesota. When his family moved from Marcellus to Kalamazoo in 1957, Chuck added photography to his interests. He created a darkroom in the basement of his new home where he developed the many pictures he took of trains, model planes, and fishing trips. As a teenager and a young twenty-something in the 1960s, the lyrics of folk-pop artists like Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, and Crosby, Stills & Nash spoke to him. His children grew up appreciating an impressive vinyl collection. Chuck loved roadtrips; the journey was far more important than the destination. He was notorious for many stops and detours during annual family vacations. His ideal trip was to hit the road with a camper in tow and a limited itinerary. Chuck was also an excellent cook and applied the detour philosophy in the kitchen as well. Like a trip itinerary, recipes and measuring spoons were too limiting on the cooking experience. Grilling was especially his forte. His Weber grill, filled with glowing charcoal embers, promised a delicious meal and satisfied company. Chuck entered the tool and die industry as a young man, beginning his career as an apprentice at Mol-Bee, Inc., and continuing in the trade until his retirement from Mol-Son, LLC in 2008. He was a proud grandfather who embraced every opportunity to talk about his grandchildren to everyone he knew, and even those he didn’t. He doted upon them with surprise gifts and bonded with them by sharing his love of trains, which quickly evolved into their love of trains. Centerpoint Church became a place of comfort and belonging in Chuck’s later years. He attended services regularly and sponsored a child through the charity organization, Children’s Hope Chest, delighted by the letters he received from her. Chuck found joy through experiences and relationships. He was especially close to his parents, so it is comforting and fitting that he will be laid to rest at their side.
Chuck was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Virginia (Engstrom) Molitor.
He is survived by his children: Shawn L.C. (Amanda) Molitor, Stephanie M. (Michael) Lampros, Melanie M. Molitor, Laura J. (Shawn) Oldberg, and Charles J. Molitor III; seven grandchildren: Jacob, Tyler, Shelby, Emily, Isaiah, Charlotte, and Alexandra; his two brothers: Ronald A. (Joan) Molitor, and Gerard J. (Kathy) Molitor; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Visit with family and friends from 4-7PM on Friday (July 19) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo, (269) 375-2900. A funeral service will be held at 11AM on Saturday (July 20) at Centerpoint Church, 2345 N 10th Street, Kalamazoo. Cremation will take place following the service. Visit Chuck’s personal webpage where you are invited to archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Centerpoint Church or Children’s Hope Chest.