Life Story / Obituary
George Charles Switzer was the second child named George in a family of 15 siblings. He was proud of his birth order number of “13” of the family of George Charles Switzer, Sr. and Anna Mae (Richards) Switzer. He grew up in Alma, Michigan with lots of adventures with his brothers and nephews. George particularly enjoyed recounting the time his older brothers suspended him from a bosun’s swing to clean the inside of an egg dehydrator. It was awful work, but worth the pay of all the ice cream he could eat.
George's aptitude was with physical items rather than “book knowledge.” When he was twenty, he was part of the road building crew that constructed M-43 from Lansing to Kalamazoo. During part of that process he stopped his Model A at a garage in Mulliken, Michigan, and was smitten with the young lady pumping gas. That fateful meeting led to a two-year courtship and on May 26, 1950, he married Geraldine (Gerry) Davids. Shortly after they were married, George was drafted into the Army and served in the Korean Conflict.
After the military, George began working at the Fisher Body division of Oldsmobile/GM in Lansing. His dependability, work ethic, and creativity in repairing seat cushions kept him gainfully employed for 35 years. Although his expertise was with General Motors’ vehicles, he could fix anything car-related or not. His servant's heart also meant taking his handyman skills on the road, finding the time to help with relatives’ farms, and later, doing home improvement projects in his daughters' homes.
After his return from Korea, George and Gerry started a family and raised two daughters. When he was not at work, George kept busy at home, adding a garage onto the house, helping grow a garden in the backyard, and building a woodshop in the basement. The highlight of each summer, when the factory closed for change-over, was driving his family to vacation adventures. Over the years they visited 48 of the States, Canada, and Mexico; which instilled a love of travel in his daughters.
After 35 years in the auto factory, George began his 38 years of retirement, frequently traveling the world with Gerry. These travels led the couple to eventually relocate to Kailua, Hawaii for twenty years. In addition to enjoying their tropical home, they spent many summers in their RV, camping around Michigan with their grandsons.
Even though George worked nights for many years, he was with his family Sunday mornings at Central United Methodist in Lansing, Michigan, and later at the Kailua United Methodist Church in Kailua, Hawaii. He was known at church for volunteering his fix-it skills for various projects.
George had a positive impact on everyone he met. Many people, including his immediate family, knew him as a quiet man, who was rarely mad about anything. His positive impact was multi-generational. Indeed, one of his grandsons said, “My grandpa, George Switzer, was cool; he liked race cars, light beers, and red sports cars."
George passed away on January 5, 2024, after blessing this world with 95 good years of life. He was married to Gerry Switzer for 66 years. She preceded him in Heaven when she passed away in early 2017. He will be missed by his entire family including his daughters: Susan (Michael) Pinto and Michelle (Jim) Russell; and his grandsons: Michael Pinto (deceased), Paul Pinto, David Russell, Mark (Cassie) Russell, and Jason (Kellan) Russell; and his great-granddaughter Jordan Russell.
We will miss him. But we will always be thankful for the time we had with him, and for all he did for us.
No memorial service is planned as George and Gerry requested that their ashes be scattered over the ocean in Kailua in a private service. Visit BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, or sign his guestbook. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.