Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Jake Gajewski

July 20, 1992 - October 18, 2019
Dowagiac, MI



Wednesday, October 23, 2019
11:00 AM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

A reception with food and drinks will follow in the Life Story Center.

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.

Kalamazoo Nature Center
7000 N Westnedge Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Web Site

Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan
25200 Telegraph Rd
Southfield, MI 48033
Web Site


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

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

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

Life Story / Obituary


Jake Gajewski touched the lives of family and friends in a very special way. Smart and funny with a dry sense of humor, he made the world around him a better place. He worked hard in everything he did, but what really brought him great joy was helping others. Deeply loved, Jake will be forever missed.

During the early 1990s, technology was soaring to new heights, and nothing was more transformational than the launch of the World Wide Web in 1992. From that point forward, the way we shopped, took in the news of the day, and communicated with friends both near and far was forever changed. It was during this same year that the lives of Arthur and Marcy Gajewski were blessed with the birth of the baby boy they named Jacob on July 20, 1992, in Dearborn, Michigan. He adored his older sister, Paula, and the two were close throughout his life. Jake spent his earliest years in Canton, Michigan. Jake and his family moved to Spring Lake, Michigan before his freshman year in high school (2006).

Jake was quiet and somewhat shy. But once you got to know him he opened up a lot to show his gentle and funny personality. Jake had a lifelong fascination with bugs, so much so, that his family nicknamed him “Bug Boy”. Jake had a genuine connection with animals; he always had a pet, including frogs, sugar gliders, blue-tongued-skink, guinea pigs, a newt, a gecko, a rat, and his favorite, Dottie the box turtle. He also collected Pokemon cards, which he and his sister even sold out of their front yard for a time. In elementary school, Jake played soccer and baseball, and his later interests included baseball statistics and collecting baseball cards. Jake could recite pretty much any baseball stat. As a student at local schools, Jake was known as the kid who always wore shorts - even in the winter! He developed a great circle of lifelong friends.

After graduating from Spring Lake High School, Jake enrolled at Michigan State University. In February of 2012, Jake’s sophomore year at MSU, he met the woman of his dreams. Rachel Petro and Jake were paired as lab partners and she found him to be funny, kind, easy to talk to, and always appreciated that he could drive her back home, after lab, on cold winter nights. Their first official date was at a sushi restaurant on Valentine’s Day, and they have been together ever since. Their relationship grew, and on December 22, 2018, Jake decided it was the perfect time to propose. After taking a walk, he brought Rachel down by the lake where he was walking behind her. When she looked back, Jake said, “I love you so much and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” Jake and Rachel were to be married on May 9th, 2020.

There were so many things that Jake enjoyed. After graduating from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 2014, he was eager to put his skills to good use. Jake worked as a research specialist for Charles River where he was passionate about his work because he knew it was helping others. He was a Seinfeld aficionado as he knew all the episodes by heart, and the Seinfeld humor matched his own wit perfectly. Jake loved photography, and he especially liked photographing insects and birds. This paired nicely with his love for hiking as it gave him a chance to get out in nature. Jake enjoyed a good cup of coffee using beans that he roasted himself. Coffee roasting soon became another one of his passions – he often roasted a batch or two after work, offering it to family and friends. He also loved making his own pizza and would challenge Todd (his future father-in-law) to a good pizza cook-off. He also enjoyed good beer, his favorite being Two Hearted Ale.

As his family and friends can attest, there were so many things to love and appreciate about Jake. He was very inquisitive and would analyze everything including when it came time for him and Rachel to get a dog. In true Jake fashion, he put together a Power Point presentation with the top five dogs that would be best suited for them. Topping the list was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Soon they were proud parents of one - a dog they named Emmy. Jake was sensitive and didn’t like confrontation. He was generous and selfless, the sort of person who put the feelings of others ahead of his own. Jake frequently put to use the legendary saying, “We’ll see,” that he and his dad would use to respond to most any question.

All who knew Jake would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. With Jake, relationships and people always came first, and he would go out of his way to help anyone. Gentle and caring, he was kind to all people and animals, and it was easy to see the deep love he had for his family. Life will never be the same without Jake here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.

Jake Gajewski passed away unexpectedly on Friday, October 18, 2019 from complications due to epilepsy. Jake’s family includes his parents, Art and Marcy; sister, Paula (Nicholas) Kurdziel and their son Joe; fiancée, Rachel Petro; grandparents, Richard and Helen Gajewski; many aunts and uncles and cousins; future in-laws, Todd and Ellen Petro; dog Emmy. Jake was preceded in death by grandparents, Philip and Norma Clousner. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, October 23, at 11 a.m. the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A reception with food and drinks will be held in the Life Story Center immediately following the service. Please visit Jake’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to the Kalamazoo Nature Center or the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan.