Life Story Visitation
Monday, May 23, 2022
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food, Drinks and Stories will be shared.
Mass of Christian Burial
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.
Ministry With Community
500 N Edwards Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Catholic Schools of Greater Kalamazoo
1000 West Kilgore
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Donations to go toward tuition assistance.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Hardworking, humble, and kind, Frank Erich lived a life rich in faith and family. Never one to require the spotlight, Frank was content with the simple things in life. He cherished his family and proudly devoted himself to ensuring their good care. Whether teaching his children to garden, fish, or devote themselves to their callings, Frank always reflected his love and confidence in each of them. Quiet and down to Earth, he possessed a dry, witty sense of humor that reminded his family of Bob Newhart. Cherished husband, father, and grandfather, Frank will long be remembered and so very missed.
On April 15, 1941, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Frank and Mary (Kudzia) welcomed their son, Frank, to their family. Along with his younger brother John, he was raised in a traditional home where his mother worked as a homemaker. His father worked for Standard Oil and later Western Michigan University. He attended Catholic schools and graduated from St. Augustine High School.
While in high school, Frank had the good fortune of meeting the love of his life, Margaret Fleckenstein. The young couple dated, fell in love, and set their hearts on sharing the future. A few years after graduation, they married at St. Joseph Catholic Church. The newlyweds made their home in Kalamazoo and were blessed to welcome six children to their family. Barbara, Michael, Nancy, Donna, Andrew, and Amy were the centers of their world. Frank was a good father who worked hard to support his family.
When the family was young, he worked for Eckrich Meat Products. To supplement his income, he also had a night job cleaning St. Augustine school. The kids fondly recall occasionally going to work with their dad at the school and the black lunch pail with a thermos that he placed under the sink each day when he came home from work. In time, Frank was hired by Upjohn, where he worked for many years before retiring in the late 1990s.
A strong role model, Frank taught his kids a good work ethic by his own example, and he encouraged a strong faith life. He would take the family to church each Sunday, and all of the kids were educated through the Catholic schools. The church and its teachings were very important to Frank. His Polish heritage was also important. He loved to eat authentic Polish foods, especially those prepared by his mother. When he returned to college and earned his degree from Western Michigan University, his family enthusiastically cheered “way to go!” in Polish as he walked by.
In addition to his strong work ethic, Frank also understood the importance of family vacations. Over the years, the family took many wonderfully restorative vacations, including a very memorable trip to Florida. Though the family of eight’s ride in the station wagon proved a bit cozy, everyone looks back on the adventure with great fondness. Once their children were grown, Frank and Margaret continued to vacation and had the good fortune of traveling throughout the United States and Europe. Annual fishing trips with his co-workers to Canada were always full of adventure. The group would always pack Spam just in case they did not catch any fish. Over the years, the Spam legend grew as Frank delightfully gifted the kids a variety of Spam paraphernalia even though they despised the product. He even joined the Spam fan club, and eventually, family reunions turned into “Spamerama” because of the Spam theme of the events.
Without a doubt, Frank’s greatest joy was his family. He especially enjoyed celebrating holidays and large family gatherings. He made great pork tenderloin and relished serving it at these gatherings that often included fifty or more people. It is treasured memories like these that will prove comforting in the absence of Frank’s steadfast, loving companionship.
May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying Frank’s legacy forward. With each game of golf we play, line we cast, challenge we meet with confidence, garden we tend, family gathering we enjoy, and adventure we take with our beloved, we celebrate the many ways Frank gifted our lives. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Frank Erich, age 81, of Kalamazoo, died on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Members of his family include his wife Margaret; 6 children: Barbara Keith, Michael Erich, Nancy (Kim) Bowen, Donna (Andrew) Hoyle, Andrew (Jennifer) Erich, and Amy (Brian) Mick; brother; John (Susan) Erich: 24 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Monday (May 23) from 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 AM on Tuesday (May 24) at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 1150 West Centre, Portage. Visit Frank’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Catholic Schools of Greater Kalamazoo for tuition assistance or Ministry with Community.