Friday, March 29, 2019
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served. A Prayer Service will be held at 6:30 PM.
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Lawrence Charles Woroniecki was born on a Wednesday at home on November 18, 1936, to Charles and Rose Woroniecki in Grand Rapids, MI. he was baptized Charles Lawrence Woroniecki at 3 weeks of age. He was to be the oldest of five siblings, four brothers and one sister.
His closest brother was named Jerry, so for his young growing up years everyone referred to them as “Larry and Jerry” like a rhyme. He got tired of that reference, so at the age of 13, when he was in the 8th grade, he had his named legally changed to Charles Lawrence Woroniecki and began going by “Chuck.” That is the name that has followed him all the rest of his life, except for his God mother, Aunt Ceil, who still called him Larry most of the time. She lived to be 102 years old, so that name stuck with him for a long time!
Chuck grew up during the end of the Great Depression and World War II. In those times there was a strong work ethic so at the age of 9 Chuck became a paper boy. He delivered the morning Grand Rapids Herald and the evening Grand Rapids Press. He rode his bicycle and threw papers onto the porches of his customers. He developed great eye to hand coordination that would help him tremendously later when he later took up the game of golf – he learned to focus on the target and let it rip!
At the age of 13 he became a Caddy at Green Ridge Country Club in Grand Rapids. At first, he thought golf was a game for sissy’s and became a Caddy only for the money. But as he began to Caddy for the best golfers in the city, especially in tournaments, he became impressed with the number of people who followed the golfers in the gallery, and what gentlemen they were. He also marveled at how well-dressed the golfers were and their great skill in being able to get that little white ball into such a small hole. So he decided to try the game. Monday was Caddy’s day and the members would loan their clubs to the Caddies to play a round. Chuck soon fell in love with the game and became very skilled in it over his lifetime. He made many life time friends from playing golf together both in tournaments and for fun.
Chuck’s faith was also a hallmark of his life. He was raised in the Catholic faith and was an altar boy assisting the priest celebrating Mass for many years. At one time he thought he wanted to become a priest and he and his buddies would play Mass. Three of his buddies did become priests. Luckily for all of us, he did not pursue that path.
After his father’s encouragement to pursue Pharmacy, Chuck worked at Walker Street Pharmacy and was exposed to the profession. In 1954 he entered Grand Rapids Junior College to pursue Pre-Pharmacy classes. It was here that he was on the golf team that won the state Golf Championship that year. He had been on his high school golf team so was well prepared for college golf. In the Fall of 1955, he entered Ferris State College of Pharmacy. Half-way through school he got an offer to become a manager and teacher at a golf course. He was all ready to quit Pharmacy School and take the job. However, his dad intervened with words of wisdom that stayed with Chuck his whole life. He said, “Chuck if you quit something so important that you have started, how do you know if you will be able to accomplish and complete anything the rest of your life.” Thank God Chuck took those words to heart.
He worked his way through college at Butternut Bakery and made enough money to pay for Pharmacy School. He has several scars on his arms from the hot jelly rolls to prove it. He graduated in 1959 from Ferris with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy. After graduation he took a position as a Pharmacy Intern at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. It was here that he met a beautiful nursing student named Gwen Potter. They quickly fell in love at St. Mary’s. They would send love notes to each other through the pneumatic tube system. By accident one ended up in the Dietary Dept. They were caught, and that was the end of that method of courtship!
After Gwen graduated as a Registered Nurse, they married on October 15th, 1960. They lived in a little house in an apple orchard and this is where their first three daughters were born, Rosie in 1961, Kathy in 1962, and Laurie in 1963. It was a very fertile apple orchard! In 1964 the little family moved to Carlton Street in Grand Rapids. Annie joined the family in 1965 and their first son, Steve was born in 1966 – Yea finally a boy! Chuck always said his claim to any fame was his 5 children, 23 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren. He was so happy and blessed to see the loving and serving men and women they have become. The little ones are also on their way, modeling their parents.
In 1975 the family moved to Kalamazoo Michigan where Chuck took a position as a Staff Pharmacist at Borgess Medical Center. Here a whole new life opened for him professionally and spiritually. Chuck thrived in his new role at Borgess. His superiors quickly recognized his potential and encouraged him to obtain his master’s degree which he did. After graduation from Wayne State University with a Masters in 1981 dad eventually was named as the Director of Pharmacy at Borgess and became an Assistant Adjunct Professor for Ferris State University, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Western Michigan University, and Nazareth College. Adjunct Preceptor for Ferris State Pharmacy Students. He was the author of many medical publications. He also made numerous presentations and received many awards and honors for his contributions to the Pharmacy profession. Chuck was always studying and learning as much as he could about Pharmacy and medications. Even in his retirement, he kept up to date with the newest medications and frequently attended continuing education classes and conferences with Gwen.
He and Gwen also joined the Good Shepard prayer group after moving to Kalamazoo, which had a profound affect on their lives, helping them move into a stronger relationship with God, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Chuck served the church as a Eucharistic Minister, lector, and team member of the Right of Christian Initiation for Adults. He was also a leader of the Servants of the Lord Jesus prayer group and coordinated many Life in the Spirit Seminars offered by the prayer group.
Chuck and Gwen also opened their hearts and home over the years. In 1981 Bernard Marthan, a member of their prayer group, moved into their home to recover from a stroke. He lived with them until he passed away in 1987. In 1988 Chuck’s father moved in as he also recovered from a stroke. He lived with my parents for 8 years until his death in 1996. In 1994 Gwen’s mother moved into their home after she suffered a fracture and she remained there for 4 years until her death in 1998.
Chuck also endured many sufferings in his life - but he had the unique ability to see God’s hand in it and never lost hope. One of his greatest sufferings was when his oldest child, Rosie, passed away on Jan. 2, 2005, at the age of 43. He also suffered a Cardiac Arrest after having surgery to his knee – and soon after developed Parkinson’s Disease which eventually took away his ability to walk, speak plainly, and play golf. However, during the years of these intense sufferings his family witnessed a unique transformation in his personality. A once serious and strict father became incredibly patient, pleasant, loving and kind. When his children called him on the phone to ask how he was doing, it was typical for him to say, “Great now that I am taking to you!” He just could not do enough for his kids – whether it was sending some much-needed financial relief, giving sound advice, or praying the rosary daily with Gwen for all their needs and intentions.
Chuck was determined that everyone in his family loved golf as much as he did. When none of his children were able to fulfill this dream, he turned to his grandchildren. At their 2nd birthday, it was typical for the grandchildren to receive their first set of golf clubs from Grandpa – along with their first lesson in putting. Fortunately for Chuck, several of his grandchildren did show interest in golf so this legacy will continue! Chuck also loved eating ice cream and we are happy to say that everyone in the family wholeheartedly embraced this second favorite hobby of his.
The legacy of Chuck’s life is best described in the book of St. Matthew 10:8 where it says, “The gift you have received, give as a gift.” Chuck loved his family, his Catholic faith and Church, his Pharmacy Profession, and his hobby of golf all the years of his life. He served them all faithfully.
There is a saying that “We are who we are because of the people God puts into our lives to share life with us.” Our entire family wants to thank each person who shared in the life of Chuck - whether it was at work, on the golf course, in his parish and prayer group, or in the community. We are grateful for the love you gave to Chuck and the many ways that your influence helped him to become the incredible man that he was.
As we celebrate the life of our beloved Chuck, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend, we all reflect on how he has personally touched each of our lives so profoundly for the good. Now God has promised him a reward for his faithfulness, love, and life in Jesus.
In 1 Corinthians 2:9 it says, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him.” We are sure that the best life has surely now come for Chuck as he gazes upon the face of the God he loved so much.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Rose Hollenbeck. Chuck was united in marriage for 58 years to Gwendolyn (Potter) Woroniecki who survives. He is survived by his children, Kathy (Chris) Hale, Lauriel (Mark) Wisely, Annie (Tom) Lang, and Steve Woroniecki. Chuck will also be lovingly remembered by his 23 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Chuck is also survived by siblings Gerald, James (Nancy), John (Sharyln), MaryAnne and Michael (Rachel) and many nieces and nephews. His wife and decedents brought tremendous joy into his life and he into theirs. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Friday, March 29, 2019, from 4-7PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI, 49009, (269) 375-2900 where a Prayer Service will be held at 6:30PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, March 30, 2019, at 10:30AM St. Joseph Catholic Church (936 Lake Street, Kalamazoo, MI), with Msgr. Michael Hazard officiating. A luncheon will follow in the Church Hall. Burial will take place at Woodlawn Cemetery, Grand Rapids, MI.
Please visit Chuck’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook. The family is requesting that Masses be said for the living and deceased members of Chuck’s family or donations made to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in lieu of flowers.