Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

George Davidson

August 20, 1927 - April 29, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI


Life Story Celebration

Friday, May 3, 2024
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.

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.

SPCA of Southwest Michigan
6955 W KL Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 344-1474
Web Site

Centrica Care Navigators
7100 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 345-0273
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Full of love, George Davidson was well-known for his terrific hugs, kisses, and stories. With a ready smile, George led with his heart in all things and lived each moment to the fullest. He welcomed each day as a gift and embraced every person as family. Whether fishing, gathering around a bonfire, playing a card game, or dancing with his beloved, George found the joy in life. A cherished husband, father, grandfather, and friend, George will long be remembered and so dearly missed.

The 1920s found the nation continuing to ride the roaring wave of peace, prosperity, and hope. It proved a decade of many firsts, including the birth of motels, Sears Roebuck stores, broadcasts from the Grand Ole Opry, Chrysler Corporations, the 40-hour workweek, and the nation’s first female governor. As the wave of sweeping social and economic growth rapidly increased, Merton and Berniece (Wilson) Davidson welcomed their son George on August 20, 1927, in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

After his parents divorced, while he was still a baby, George was raised by his grandparents. An only child, George grew up in Kalamazoo, and the family moved to a farm when he was seven years old. From a young age, George developed a lifelong love for fishing. He also enjoyed roller skating at Silver Star in Kalamazoo, girls, and motorcycles. He had three Harley’s throughout his younger years.

While in high school, George resolved to never milk cows again. So, he left school early and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. During his service, George was stationed on a small escort destroyer in the South Pacific, where he worked on diesel engines and fought in combat during WWII.

Following his time in the service, George became a truck driver and spent 45 years driving 18-wheelers. He owned his own truck for part of the time and also drove for Alvan Freight for 9 years, National Foods for 17 years, and Eckrich for 10 years before retiring in 1989. George was also a volunteer fireman for 12 years at the Westwood Fire Department from 1971-1983.

In time, George became close with his buddy Wayne’s sister, Anita. Although he and Anita had known one another most of their lives, it was only as adults that their relationship evolved into a lifelong love. The happy couple joined in marriage on June 20, 1969, and celebrated their nuptials with a honeymoon in a flat-top trailer parked on the banks of the Manistee River. The couple enjoyed fishing, campfires, and the relief of learning that the bear Anita was sure she heard turned out to be a porcupine.

Following their honeymoon, the couple settled into family life. He coached the kids’ sports teams, including softball, baseball, rocket football, and little league, and was fondly called Pops or Papa instead of Dad. When he worked at Alvin, he’d let his kids play in the stockrooms while he was preparing for a run. He also took a few of his kids and grandkids on trucking trips which were especially memorable as they slept in the bunk in the truck.

With seven kids, money was scarce, but the family was never short on love and good times. They enjoyed camping in his fifth wheel and fishing on George’s boat, Papa’s Pride, spending two weeks every summer on the lake in Pentwater. For many years, they spent summers at their home on Wall Lake in Delton. George relished teaching his kids and grandkids how to fish, making great bonfires, and telling fantastic stories. An avid outdoorsman, in addition to fishing, George hunted deer, pheasant, duck, and rabbit. His kids recall coming home to a fresh kill hanging in the garage or from the tree in the front yard as he skinned and prepared it.

George and Anita were like second parents to all the grandkids. George gave the best hugs, and when he hit a bump in the road while driving really fast, he and the grandkids would scream, “Wheeee!” His grandkids would often call him and ask if he wanted to get ice cream and liked to go over and just hang out with him. Many games of Pinochle or Skip-Bo were played over the years. Anytime they stopped over, they’d play, and the kids would text each other any time one of them finally beat Papa.

George enjoyed the simple things in life, like a good Manhattan and dancing with the love of his life. Whether dancing around the house, at the Elks, or at a special celebration, it was common for George to grab the kids and get them dancing, too, even if it was in the living room. He and Anita often remained on the dance floor well into the evening on nearly every special occasion with the family. George embraced everyone as his own. His kids’ friends were like his own children, and his grandkids’ friends also called him Grandpa. For some who never knew their own grandparents, Anita and George happily filled that role.

A wonderful role model for all who were blessed to know him, George’s legacy of love will long live in the hearts and lives of those he so dearly loved. In each moment we welcome a stranger as a friend, cast our lines, take to the woods, hit the dance floor, enjoy a great story, and embrace our loved ones with epic hugs, we celebrate the countless ways George showed us how to live wholeheartedly. In this way, we keep his beautiful memory alive and inspiring others as he so inspired each of us.

George Davidson, of Kalamazoo, age 96, died on April 29, 2024. George was born on August 20, 1927, in Kalamazoo to Merton and Berniece (Wilson) Davidson. Surviving are his children: David (Mary Lou) Butkovich, Dan (Lori Ann) Butkovich, Lori Butkovich, Sheila (Steve) Hyde, Teresa (Mark) McCoy, Thomas (Lisa) Butkovich, and Christine (Michael) Davidson; grandchildren: Kari, Annie, Stephen, Tim, Sara, Lorna, Alex, Alyssa, Andrew, Ian, Travis, Clay, Andrew, and Christopher; and several great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife, Anita; his son, Curt Davidson; and granddaughter, Sandra Schippers.

Please join us at a Life Story Celebration where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Friday, May 3rd from 5-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Visit George’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Centrica Care Navigators or SPCA of Southwest Michigan.