Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Fred Woodhams

August 8, 1948 - February 11, 2022
Gobles, MI


Life Story Service

Friday, February 25, 2022
2:00 PM EST
Live Stream
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

A reception where food, drinks and stories will be shared will be held in the Life Story Center immediately following the service.

Driving Directions


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.

Ducks Unlimited
1 Waterfowl way
Memphis, TN
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Determined as well as hard-working, Fred Woodhams was a genuine person. A devoted father, grandfather and friend to many, he savored the time he spent with his growing family over the years. Fred lived his life to the fullest by working hard to provide for the family he loved. Social and outgoing, his warm personality will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

Frederick was born on Aug. 8, 1948 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The fifth child in a family of six, his childhood was filled with many happy and memorable moments.

The family lived in the close-knit neighborhood of Milwood in Kalamazoo. Growing up in a large extended family, Fred learned the value of hard work and the importance of family from an early age. He and his siblings pitched in as soon as they were able to contribute, and worked to support the family’s greenhouse business. They knew what it took to survive through the daily sweat and physical labor of those years. By the young age of nineteen, Fred purchased 115 acres in Almena Township. He had no idea how he was going to pay for the property so he convinced his brothers to buy in with him. Over the years, the property has grown close to 600 acres.

Over the decades, Fred and family built several cabins on the property, and many fond memories of the entire Woodhams family were had at the land that affectionately became known as the Swamp. Fred was an expert problem-solver, often displayed while building some of the structures largely on his own, even into his 60s. Many family members joked he was the modern-day MacGyver due to his unconventional problem-solving abilities.

His entrepreneurial spirit led him to enroll in Western Michigan University after graduating with the Class of 1966 from Loy Norrix High School. Working to pay his way through college, Fred received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and always loved to share that there was a misspelled word on the diploma – something he found very fitting for his education. He started his career as a successful professional in the banking business, and then moved into the mortgage business. From there he went on to start up Woodhams Mortgage Corporation and later helped his nephew, Dan, in establishing his career, where they ultimately ran Retirement Solutions of Michigan together. A people person, Fred was able to develop strong ties within the community, and his reputation for being trustworthy and sincere led to many successes on his career path.

The year 1974 was a magical year for Fred. He married Louise Ryan, and together they welcomed home three wonderful sons. She was a strong supporter of his many endeavors, and helped manage the books of Woodhams Mortgage. As a dad, Fred was very supportive. He coached Fred and David’s Little League teams and later encouraged his son, Matt, to play travel hockey. He helped his sons learn to hunt and fish, and would do anything to help them whenever they needed him. He was always encouraging and modeled for them a lifetime of not spending time worrying about the challenges in life, yet making every day count. Fred wanted to share in their every success and taught them the value that the more they put into anything in life, the greater the reward.

Never one to remain idle, Fred lived each day to the fullest, even if that meant a slow summer ride around the lake on his pontoon boat with family, friends, neighbors and sometimes total strangers. He enjoyed painting landscapes and nature scenes. His sense of humor also showed in his special creations such as how he would sneak in UFOs to many of his paintings for the observer to find. Fred also had a knack for woodworking and enjoyed making beautiful furniture pieces over the years for family and friends. He treasured fishing and hunting trips with his sons, brothers, nieces and nephews, and friends. Fred’s favorite dog was a black lab named Bumper that accompanied him on hunting trips. Whenever the outdoors were involved, there was always plenty of conversation and storytelling to pass around but the most important thing to him was being with family.

Fred had a natural way of always putting others at ease and making them feel loved. Later in life, Fred enjoyed playing cards every Tuesday with his close-knit cousins and special friends. Above all else, Fred’s family meant the world to him. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do to support each one of them. From time to time, he took in others in need always offering an encouraging story or a message about life’s many lessons. Blessed to touch the lives of many, there is no doubt that Fred left a lasting impression on all who knew and loved him. May his generosity live on the lives of his loved ones and may they always feel his presence whenever they are gathered together at the Swamp or wherever life may lead them.

Frederick Woodhams of Gobles died at his home on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. Members of his family include his three sons: Fred (Tracy) Woodhams and their daughter Cecilia; David Woodhams (Rachelle Yecke) and their daughter Adalind Woodhams; and Matt (Meghan) Woodhams. Other members of his family include his siblings: Dr. Bill (Mary) Woodhams, Dick (Jeanne) Woodhams, Norb (Tanya) Woodhams, Marilyn (Ralph) Reed, and a sister-in-law, Linda Woodhams. Other members of his family include his former wife, Louise Marshall-Ryan, and many loved nieces and nephews, cousins, and numerous friends. He was preceded in death by his brother Dr. Larry Woodhams and his parents, William and Francis Woodhams.

Please join us at a Life Story Service at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, (269) 375-2900.

A reception where food, drinks and stories will be shared will be held in the Life Story Center immediately following the service. Visit Fred’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Ducks Unlimited.