Monday, November 4, 2019
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and drinks will be served.
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
He had a genuine flair for life, which he graciously shared with anyone who knew him. He found humor and reason to laugh in an ordinary day. Though he was a pretty simple guy, he would request world peace when asked what the best gift might be for any occasion. George Spicer was a loving husband, a caring father, and a cherished grandfather and friend to so many. We will dearly miss his laughter and good spirit.
George was born in 1948, which was a time of renewed hope in America. World War II was part of history, and America's heroes were returning home to begin their lives and start families. With the debut of Velcro, the world could bond all kinds of items, and the sound of tearing it apart became recognizable forever after. This period also became known as the Baby Boomer era. While many families began their young lives together, they also enjoyed the entertainment that appeared on the television set. In one year, America's living room entertainment grew from a mere 5,000 sets to over a million.
Life was thriving in 1948. In Big Rapids, Michigan, John and Ellen (Everhart) Spicer were preparing for an exciting time as well. On October 7, they welcomed a precious baby boy into the world, and they named him George. Before long, the Spicer family expanded to a total of 4 children, and George was the second.
They relied on their father's pharmaceutical businesses to support the family, for which they moved to Fowler, Michigan. He owned and operated the local Fowler pharmacy and then the Oakland Pharmacy in Kalamazoo, Michigan for many years. Throughout his childhood and with the help of his siblings, George learned about life and enjoyed many adventures. While growing up in Fowler, he and his neighborhood buddies called themselves the Elm Street gang, and the memories they shared were unforgettable. George's weekends typically included time with his god-parents, Alvie and Ernestine Fox. They taught George how to play the card game called Set-back and this became a Sunday tradition. Later in life he would share this tradition of playing cards, while introducing different card games like Euchre and Cribbage to his family and friends.
As he matured, he played basketball and football. He and his father also played many rounds of golf together at the Portland Country Club. He learned the value of hard work as a young man finding his first job at Yankee's Grocery Store. Eventually, he celebrated graduation with the Fowler High School class of 1966.
Upon earning his diploma, he set off to attend Ferris State College, following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. Here he was immediately admitted into the pharmacy school. His studies were important to him, but he also pursued an exciting and busy social life. He created life-long friendships while participating in his fraternity, Kappa Psi, and the Democratic Student Group. After graduation, he moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan to work at his father’s pharmacy, which he later purchased.
Then, one lovely night at Wayside Bowling Alley changed the direction of his life forever. Earning decent money working for his father at the pharmacy, George was feeling confident in his approach. Her name was Nancy Dixon. She worked in the Borgess pharmacy, and through mutual friends, their paths collided. He bought her a beer, and the rest is history!
George was quite the gentleman. Impressing Nancy was always important to him. As they began dating more seriously, he would bring her little thoughtful gifts: a pack of gum, Chapstick, and one time - a bicycle! Luck was on his side the first time they played a round of golf together; he shot a hole-in-one. He was as impressed as Nancy!
The happy couple planned a wedding and exchanged vows on September 14, 1974, at Kanley Chapel on Western Michigan University's Campus. They honeymooned in the Pocono Mountains.
The newlyweds settled into their lives together for a couple of years before taking the next exciting leap into parenthood. In 1977, they were surprised with twins! Heather and Cory kept their parents very busy in the beginning. Once the family of four became more comfortable, they celebrated the birth of a baby girl, Allison, in 1979 to complete the family.
George was a natural to fatherhood, and he took his role very seriously. He would do just about anything for his kids. His sense of humor, along with his relaxed way of dealing with whatever came his way, taught his children to do the same in their lives. He aimed to have fun and would go about daily activities trying to make his family laugh. He was the "good cop" of the family. He made sure there was always music playing in the house, even if it was just him singing a made-up tune. Aside from keeping the peace, he also coached some of the kids' sports, played tennis, and golfed with them, and he was always very involved.
With George in the lead, the family looked forward to the annual "opening day" excursion to South Haven. He began the exciting occasion with the morning ritual - listening to the "Good Morning Vietnam" soundtrack in its entirety. They rented the same cottage on North Beach for over 20 years and enjoyed fishing and golfing. They even had t-shirts made for the special tradition. George was in charge when it came to what happened on “his deck,” meaning he was the DJ, the bartender, and the bouncer. It was a legendary experience every time.
His music tastes were appreciated by most. His playlists included the likes of Simon and Garfunkel, Jethro Tull, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, the Commitments, among other greats. He even hosted the Fifth Dimension at one of his college student gatherings. In George's opinion, "rap was crap."
When the Michigan weather turned gray and unbearably snowy and cold, George had a plan for that too. He would take the family to Crystal Mountain for snow skiing. Once, they even traveled out west for big mountain skiing. His approach was always a happy one filled with laughter and goofing around with the kids. His skiing abilities were not perfect, as he never mastered the ability to turn; instead, he would shoot down the hill and hope for the best! He loved sitting in the ski lodge, where he would make friends instantly when chatting with strangers. He made friends wherever he went.
As a father, George was their number one fan and supporter. He always allowed his children the liberty to be themselves. However, he was a genuine Boy Scout following the "Rules are not meant to be broken" philosophy in life. When the kids left home to find their next adventures in life, he kept the family connected and began writing all of them poems filled with his generous humor. All three kids will forever cherish his poetic words.
Outside of his family, George's social calendar was full. He thoroughly enjoyed all things golf. He even made specialized golf clubs for family and friends. He was an active member of the St. Monica's golf league and played almost every weekend the weather permitted. He would play golf with anyone willing, but on some days, he found enjoyment on the course alone. In addition to the hole-in-one he shared with Nancy, he was lucky enough to shoot a second one in his life! He dreamed about heading to Florida after retirement, where he could golf until springtime arrived in Michigan.
When he was not golfing, he filled his time in other ways. He loved to watch all things sports; Sports Center was a constant in their home. He especially loved MSU sports and would cheer for the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lyons. Sometimes Nancy could get him to go shopping with her, which he hated - but he loved going out to eat with her afterward. George had a meat and potato kind of appetite. He layered the butter and loved his ice cream. He would tell the kids, "you will sleep better” while serving them his legendary malted milkshakes, split equally three ways at bed time. He would eat the sugary cereals right along with them. He indulged in all the "good stuff," including Dewar's on the rocks and craft beer at any brewery. In this way, he happily filled himself with the little pleasures in life.
Professionally, George sought out positive and personal enjoyment at work, as well. He was a very intelligent man but also very humble. George was a dedicated pharmacist and worked diligently to take care of all his patients. First, he worked alongside his father at the Oakland Pharmacy and then he owned and operated the Galesburg Pharmacy until the late 90's. For the next 12 years, he managed several D & W pharmacies in the area. He later moved to serve as a pharmacist at Bronson Hospital Outpatient and Infusion Clinic for 10 years. He served on several pharmaceutical boards over the years, being a leader on the Michigan Pharmaceutical Association board. He often warmly remarked, "you know me, just trying to save lives!" As his personal health began to falter, he was forced to retire in 2015.
One of the greatest gifts George experienced in his lifetime was the opportunity to be called "Poppi." He earned this name of endearment mainly because of the blessing of his grandchildren; however, others also warmly referred to him by the same name. Poppi was awesome with all the kids. He adored them and became a kid magnet pretty much everywhere he went. He earned the reputation of the baby whisperer and found pure delight whenever he had the opportunity to be present in their lives. He helped them find the magic in everyday experiences: trips to feed the ducks, fishing expeditions, building sandcastles on the beach, or playing in the waves or the pool were just a few of his favorite moments shared with his grandchildren. He had a way of making them all feel special.
George was a man with an incredible heart. Sadly, the love and spirit he contained became too much for his physical heart. He experienced his first heart attack in 2012. He was looking forward to receiving a heart transplant in 2014. Unfortunately, he did not qualify for the procedure.
After 71 years in this lifetime, George passed away peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo. He leaves behind a treasured amount of memories. His enthusiasm and love for life was contagious and will live forever in our hearts. We will never forget Mr. Universe, the Big Kahuna, or our loving Poppi.
He was preceded in death by his parents and by a brother, Steve Spicer. Members of his family include his wife of 45 years, Nancy Spicer; 3 children: Cory Spicer, Heather (Matt) Kakabeeke and Allison Spicer; 3 grandchildren: Olivia, Evan and Avery; siblings: Nancy Spicer and Scott (Donna) Spicer; sister-in-law, Becky Spicer; God-Mother, Ernestine Fox and many nieces and nephews. Cremation will take place. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Monday from 5-8PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday at 10AM at St. Monica Church. Burial will follow at Mt. EverRest Cemetery. Please visit George's personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read his story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Rose Arbor Hospice.