Life Story Visitation
Mass of Christian Burial
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Life Story / Obituary
Franklin Raith was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and a wonderful friend to all who knew him. Active throughout his life, he made the most of each and every moment. His wonderful collection of memories will remain dear to his special family and friends forevermore.
Franklin’s story begins in the year 1940. It was the beginning of a new decade where coming out of the Great Depression led to feel-good energy. Franklin was welcomed home on February 8th the third of four children to German immigrants, Frank and Mary (Seidl) Raith, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His birth brought much happiness into their loving home.
Franklin lived a typical childhood of the times. His father worked outside the home to support the family and his mother was a homemaker. As a young teen, Franklin worked for Edwards Motors as well as shined shoes and delivered newspapers. Their closest set of relatives was the uncle that lived only a couple of blocks away and their three cousins. Much of the rest of the family lived in Wisconsin or back in Germany. One of his mother’s sisters was a nun who lived in Wisconsin but would often travel to visit. The family remained tight with their relatives back in Germany. He was able to enjoy one trip back to the country and one of the cousins still calls the family regularly. Franklin was a proud graduate of the Class of 1958 from St. Augustine’s Catholic School. He enlisted in the service after high school and served at both Ft. Dix and Ft. Knox. A highlight was driving a supply truck in Germany and stopping for many visits with his extended relatives overseas.
Once he was discharged, Franklin returned to the states to secure work. He took a job at (Southerland) James River Paper Mill where he met the woman who would steal his heart forever, Martha! She knew his older brother, Gerald before she met Franklin. She fell in love with his charming personality and just knowing that he was younger than her! The happy couple were married on April 11, 1964, at St. Mary’s Church in Paw Paw. Together they raised three wonderful children, Frank Jr, Therese, and Cathy. He and Martha shared a beautiful life and wanted nothing but the very best for their children. They raised them with a strong foundation of faith and the importance of family.
A hard worker and strong provider for his family, Franklin continued working long hours to make ends meet while Martha stayed home to raise their growing family. By the time Frank Jr was two years old, he and Martha were able to move into their own home in Comstock where they raised their family. Although he was tired after working during the day, Franklin always made sure to make time for the kids. In the summer months, Martha would set up camp at a local campground and then wait for Franklin to join them after work. They also took family trips to Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin, while visiting many popular amusements parks along the way. A highlight was all the memorable trips they took as a couple and with a huge extended family, to Frankenmuth, a little slice of their German heritage right here in Michigan. He LOVED the old German music, including the polkas and waltzes, and he would always sing and dance along. Franklin taught his children the value of a hard day’s work and to always make time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. A family man through and through, he wanted nothing more than his kids to always stick together and take care of one another.
Franklin had many special pastimes. He loved working in the garden and cheering on his Fighting Irish! He had a love of food, especially steak and potatoes, Bimbo’s pizza, and all kinds of sweets especially chocolate. After retirement, he and Martha traveled in their motor home around the beautiful states of Michigan and Wisconsin, enjoying one another’s company, and visiting relatives and friends. He continued volunteering at the fish fries at St. Joe’s Catholic Church and if anyone needed him they knew they could find him ice fishing at Scott’s Mill Pond! Always proud of his heritage, Franklin enjoyed TRYING to speak German at family gatherings in his elder years. He thoroughly enjoyed people and he saw the good in others. He enjoyed listening to their stories, as well as telling stories of the past, with always a few jokes thrown in just for fun. Described as loving, caring, and compassionate toward others, Franklin will be deeply missed by his many special friends and loved ones.
Franklin Raith, age 81, of Comstock, Michigan, died on January 9, 2022. Franklin was preceded in death by his parents, and his sister, Dorothy. Surviving is his wife, Martha; children: Frank Raith Jr., Therese (Mark) Ouding, and Cathy (Rich) Harger; grandchildren: Chelsea, Josh, and Emily; great-grandson, Carter; siblings: Gerald Raith, Richard (Julie) Raith; and many nieces and nephews. Please join us at Life Story Visitation on Friday (JAN 14) 4-6 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900 where the Rosary will be recited at 6 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday (JAN 15) at 11 AM at St. Joseph Catholic Church 936 Lake St, Kalamazoo. Visit Franklin’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church or Wounded Warriors.