Life Story Services
Thursday, July 8, 2021
11:00 AM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service and at a reception immediately following in the Life Story Center where food, drinks and stories will be shared.
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.
The Adult Day Services at Oakland Center
2255 West Centre
Portage, MI 49024
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a warm smile and a welcoming heart, Frederick "Fritz" Arnsman lived a life rich in family and friends. Fritz greeted each day as a gift and every person he met as a friend. He listened with sincerity, saw the best in everyone, and made others feel that they were the most interesting person he had ever met. A hard worker, Fritz devoted himself to marriage, fatherhood, and family with humility, integrity, and care. Fritz proved a powerful role model for how to live a wholehearted life and was an inspiration to all who were blessed to know him. Cherished by many, Fritz will long be remembered and ever so missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the home of Leon and Edna (Cooley) Arnsman as they welcomed their son, Frederick, into their family on October 29, 1932.
Born and raised in Hopkins, Michigan, Fritz was the second of nine children. He and his siblings, Delbert, Raymond, Lee Dale, Marilyn, James, Richard, Betty, and Margaret, grew up in a busy home centered on family values and hard work. While his father provided for the family by working as a roofer, his mother tended to the home and children. Like many in his generation, Fritz began working at a very young age. His first job was a paper route, and once he was a little older, he worked with his father in the roofing business. It was in these early years that Fritz's work ethic and drive were developed and became the firm foundation upon which he built the rest of his life.
Fritz attended Hopkins schools and was the starting left guard on the high school's first football team. He enjoyed being a part of the team earning all-conference honors. After graduating with the Hopkins High School class of 1952, Fritz proudly served in the U.S. Navy for four years.
On August 25, 1961, while attending the Kalamazoo County Fair with some friends, Fritz met the love of his life, Kathleen O'Connor. Instantly smitten, Fritz talked Kathleen into taking her first Ferris wheel ride with him. As the wheel stopped at the top, he told her that they could see the lights of Detroit to the east. Ironically, his parents first met at a fair.
Shortly after sharing their evening at the fair, Kathleen began her studies at Borgess School of Nursing. Despite the rigors of studies, work, and the rules set forth by the nuns, Kathleen and Fritz managed to see each other. Their love grew, and they began to set their hearts on spending the future together. A week after Kathleen graduated from nursing school, they married on September 5, 1964, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Kalamazoo, officially beginning their 57-year adventure.
The newlyweds soon moved into a temporary house on Stockbridge in the Edison neighborhood. The temporary house became their forever home; it is the only home they would ever live in. It was here that they were blessed to welcome five children to their family. John, Sarah, Johanna, Andrew, and Colleen, quickly became the centers of Fritz and Kathleen's worlds. While Kathleen managed the home, Fritz worked at Menasha Corporation in Otsego Michigan for 40 years. Though he worked the swing shift, and his hours were always in flux, he always had time for his family. Fritz was a fun-loving, adventurous father who loved playing with the kids. It was common for him to go bike riding or organize a neighborhood softball game at the local school with the kids. Family vacations were usually short but packed with fun. Trips to Cedar Point and Great America amusement parks were favorite destinations for the family.
In addition to his job at Menasha, Fritz owned four rental properties, which required a lot of time and effort to manage. As with his father before him, as soon as his kids were old enough, he put them to work at the rental properties. Fritz often reminded his children, "don't start a job if you are going to do it halfway." Coupled with his honesty and kindness, Fritz provided his children with a living example of integrity, generosity, and commitment. Though he often asserted that he was "tired of refereeing you kids," he could not have been more proud of his children. As his children grew into adulthood and had families of their own, Fritz welcomed his role as a grandfather with signature honor and delight. He was truly happiest when in the good company of those he loved, and he especially enjoyed gathering for holidays, special occasions, and family reunions.
Fritz had an easy way about him. He always had a smile on his face and a terrific story to tell. He loved a good joke, enjoyed listening to others, and the simple pleasures of Dairy Queen ice cream, Arby's, and car rides. Fritz found great pleasure in hunting for deals at flea markets and listening to Paul Harvey and the Detroit Tigers on the radio. He believed the television was for sports and news. He cheered on the MSU Spartans, was a WMU basketball season ticket holder for 25 years and attended the games with his brother-in-law Tom and enjoyed returning to the Hopkins High School football stands with his brothers. A social butterfly, Fritz was easy to talk to and made friends easily. His kindness and generosity were evident in the many ways he encouraged and supported others.
In 2012, Fritz began having memory issues. Kathleen lovingly cared for him in their home, providing great comfort in the face of the challenges. As his health required additional care, he became a regular at the Adult Day Services at Oakland Centre. While Fritz received skilled and compassionate care, Kathleen was afforded time to tend to her own well-being. Proud to have been the longest living member of his family, Fritz enjoyed life to the fullest. He was a good and decent person who was happy to give of himself even when facing his own hardships.
Without a doubt, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Fritz's steadfast presence. May we find comfort in our many treasured memories as well as in the honor of carrying his beautiful legacy forward. With each stranger we greet as a friend, challenge we meet with confidence and dedication, Polka we dance with our beloved, and special occasion we share with family, we celebrate the many ways Fritz gifted our lives. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Frederick "Fritz" Arnsman died at his home on Friday, July 2, 2021. Members of his family include his wife Kathleen; 5 children: John (Jennifer) Arnsman, Sarah (Richard) Johnston, Johanna Arnsman, Andrew (Amy) Arnsman, and Colleen Arnsman, who passed away in 2018; 5 grandchildren: Daniel, Eleanor, Nicholas, Alexander, and Allison; brothers and sisters: Lee Dale (Peggy), Marilyn (Dave) Crotser, James (Rita), Richard (Caroline), Margaret (Henry-deceased) Vanderveen. He was preceded in death by his siblings: Delbert Arnsman, Raymond Arnsman, and Betty Kruithoff. A Life Story Service will be held on Thursday (July 8) at 11 am at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. The family will receive friends one hour prior and at a reception immediately following the service in the Life Story Center. Visit Fritz's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to The Adult Day Services at Oakland Center or Hospice Care of SW Michigan.