Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

David Zemlick

April 23, 1957 - March 4, 2020
Kalamazoo, MI



Wednesday, March 11, 2020
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Rosary will be recited at 7 PM.

Driving Directions

Mass of Christian Burial

Thursday, March 12, 2020
11:00 AM EDT
St. Monica Catholic Church
4408 S Westnedge Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 345-4389

Lunch will follow in the church hall. Burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Web Site


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.

Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan
7100 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 345-0273
Driving Directions
Web Site

Charity of Your Choice

In honor of David, participate in a "Random Act of Kindness" that will make someone's day a little better.


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


All who knew David Zemlick would agree that he was larger than life. He was kind, outgoing, and fun-loving with a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. David treasured his family and friends above everything else, and he was happiest when they were having fun together even if it was just a quiet night at home. He’s been called a professional storyteller as he had a way of telling stories that captivated anyone who was listening, along with stretching the truth a bit. Life will never be the same without David here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.

It only seems fitting that David’s journey began during a time that was as vibrant as he was. American Band Stand made its debut and the first satellite was sent into orbit. Alaska and Hawaii became our 49th and 50th states, and Elvis Presley became a household name. It was amidst this exciting time that Laurence and Winifred (Cryan) Schommer-Zemlick announced the birth of the baby boy they named David on April 23, 1957, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was the seventh son in the family, and since he and Louis were the little brothers of the 8 boys they stuck together. Raised in the family home in the Vine Neighborhood of Kalamazoo, their family was always the first suspects if anything ever went awry since they were a houseful of boys. They loved playing Army or football, rode bikes in the neighborhood, and even played golf in their front yard. David’s father was the credit manager at Vermeulen’s Furniture while his mother was a housewife who later became a professor at WMU.

From the time he was growing up David was a bustle of activity. They had a lot of animals including several reptiles. David even had a large iguana that made the front page of the Gazette! The iguana had escaped, and the fire department was called in to rescue it from the tree it perched on. They also had snakes, and David’s mother was forever worried that the snakes would somehow get into the heating ducts! He did well in karate after being inspired by the movie, Kung Fu. When he was little David just played karate, but as he grew older, he took lessons at a local dojo. He attended local schools and then went on to Hackett Catholic High School but later graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School.

Throughout his life David was one to work hard. He spent his twenties and thirties working for the family business, Zemlick Brothers Office Supplies. David also started his own painting business during this time. While in his forties, he started his own tree trimming business, Central Tree and continued to the present. This was a great fit for him since he loved being outside and owning his own business. Although he worked hard, he was an expert at balancing work with living. He always chose to live more than work.

Life was forever changed for David when he met his life partner. Her name was Barbara Veld. They were neighbors who soon discovered that they had similar interests. David and Barb were both very tenderhearted people as well. They often golfed, and although Barb didn’t fish, she went with David to keep him company on the boat. He shared his passion for fishing with all his nieces and nephews too.

There was never anything more important to David than doing the things he loved with the people he loved. Spending time at the cottage on Gun Lake was something David enjoyed from the time he was a kid. Even a good storm couldn’t keep him away from the water. David had a quiet way of staying connected and making family and friends feel appreciated. He was genuine and loved by many because he was accepting of everyone. With his magnetic personality David easily drew others near for hearty conversations. He was a good cook, which was something he learned from his mother, and he liked to experiment in what he made. David honored his parents with his actions by providing care and love for his family and friends.

David was a man of many interests. Beside gardening and his Detroit sports teams, David liked antiquing, and his brother often helped him research items online. He frequented garage sales or estate sales in his never-ending hunt for the best deals. He was known to go on the last day when things were the cheapest. There was nothing like the thrill of finding a great deal and negotiating. He kept other people in mind while he was shopping, finding a surprise for them when he could. David had a keen ability to transform things into something new, even reselling items for a small profit. He always loved the martial arts and the wisdom of trees. David enjoyed drawing in his free time, often drawing pictures of Jesus.

When reflecting on the life of David Zemlick, it is easy to see what made him so extraordinary. He was truly an inspiration as he taught others to take life seriously, not work. Even as he battled his bone cancer David was an inspiration as he reminded everyone of the incredible worth found in family, and through his fight he brought his brothers together. His laugh was contagious, and he told the best and most lively stories that would keep people guessing until the end. Deeply loved, David will never be forgotten.

David Zemlick, of Kalamazoo, Age 62, died on March 4, 2020. David was born April 23, 1957 in Kalamazoo, the son of Laurence and Winifred (Cryan) Schommer-Zemlick. David was preceded in death by his parents; brother: Christopher Zemlick; a nephew: Michael Zemlick; and Barb’s sister: Sandra Veld. Surviving are his life partner: Barbara; siblings: Nicholas (Diane) Schommer; Tom (Jan) Schommer; Larry (Becky) Zemlick; Fred (Mary) Zemlick; Mark Zemlick; Louis (Anne) Zemlick; numerous nieces and nephews; and Barb’s family members: Thomas (Norma) Veld; Janet (Tim) Osterman; and nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. Visit with family and friends on Wednesday (MAR 11) from 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. The Rosary will be recited at 7 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday (MAR 12) at 11 AM at St. Monica Catholic Church, 4408 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, with a luncheon following in the church hall. Private burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Visit David’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 Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, a charity of your choice or in honor of David, participate in a "Random Act of Kindness" that will make someone's day a little better.