Friday, February 22, 2019
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
The Rosary will be recited at 7:00 PM.
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
All who knew James Homrich would agree that he was one of the most kind, genuine, and giving people around. He was a man of unwavering faith who lived by the morals and beliefs that were engraved upon his heart. Jim was hardworking to be sure, but he also made the time to enjoy life even in the simplest of things. Deeply devoted to his family, he was so proud to witness his family tree grow to include numerous branches of loved ones who brought him his greatest joy. Life will never be the same without Jim here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
Reynold “Doc” and Caroline (Steffes) Homrich were able to celebrate as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named James on January 30, 1933, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was the oldest of his siblings, and he was always known as Jim. His father owned a trucking business and was a semi truck driver and his mother was a homemaker. Jim attended local schools including St. Augustine High School where he was vice president of the student council. After graduating from high school, Jim joined the Army.
Not to be forgotten during Jim’s years in school was his introduction to the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Mary Ann, and they met while he was in 11th grade. She was smitten right from the start and made sure to sit behind Jim in class. The couple often went dancing at the Canteen in downtown Kalamazoo and then for dinner at Chicken Charlies. It has been said that Jim could really cut a rug and could also polka with the best of them. Jim and Mary Ann frequently went out with other couples as Jim was one of the few in their circle of friends who had a car. After Jim made it through bootcamp, he came home to marry his sweetheart on July 25, 1953, at St. Augustine Church. The newlyweds took a very short honeymoon as Jim was set to deploy to Korea. He was later stationed in Hawaii, and they enjoyed their own apartment in Waikiki. Later in life they traveled back to Hawaii a few times and even found the place they lived, although much of the surroundings had changed.
After being discharged from the military, Jim was offered a job at an oil company. Jim managed the business for a few years before being offered a trucking job through his uncle with Graff Trucking. This was a great fit for Jim as he had started working on and driving trucks for his father when he was 12. He also liked this work because he made more money. Throughout most of his career, Jim drove tanker trucks for more than one million miles. During his later years he chose a more local route so that he could be closer and home for his family. Jim enjoyed reading in between trips while his truck was being loaded or unloaded. He was a hard worker and very well liked by his fellow truckers. He also became social with the employees at the various stops he made. Jim was a member of the Teamsters and retired when he was 60 years old.
There was never anything more near and dear to Jim’s heart than his loved ones. He and his wife welcomed five children including Debbie, Sue, Dick, Steve, and Jeannie into their hearts and home. Some of their most precious memories were made while camping in cabins and on vacations to Cedar Point.
He was filled with great joy to become a grandfather, and he treasured every moment spent with his grandchildren. Every weekend the family gathered at one of two family cottages on Crooked Lake for their “big and loud” gatherings. The family loved Jim’s rotisserie chicken for the Fourth of July. No matter the season he made sure the family had plenty of toys including boats, snowmobiles, fishing gear, and water skis. Jim’s grandchildren all got to drive the boat or ride on the tractor with him, and he was the one who taught them how to fish and cast the line. Among his nieces and nephews, Jim was always a special uncle.
Throughout his life Jim was always busy. He and his wife traveled a lot as they had a 5th wheel trailer. They took it all over the place to Arizona, Texas, and Florida. Later on, they upgraded to a motorhome and took a seven week trip out west to visit all the national parks. They also loved going to Happy Days Park in Zephyrhills, Florida. They also had timeshares and enjoyed swapping their weeks to travel to new places. They even took the kids on several vacations. Around home Jim loved taking care of his yard, and it was always immaculate. He even raked the wooded lots across the street! During his retirement years he became an avid golfer, a bit obsessive about it even, as he was golfing four or five days a week while in Florida during the winter. Jim regularly golfed with friends. He and his wife were also on bowling leagues together. Jim appreciated his church, St. Ambrose Catholic Church, and he was actively involved there. He was part of a breakfast group that always met after church. Jim enjoyed helping the church where he could and also helped build St. Mary’s Church and playground. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus. Jim was a sports fan who enjoyed Tigers baseball and Michigan football, although he was a huge NASCAR fan. He loved Jeff Gordon, and he loved going to races until he could no longer make it up the steps in the stands.
Strong, honest, and generous, James Homrich was a blessing in the lives of so many around him. Social and outgoing, he was the sort of person who never met a stranger. Jim was deeply devoted to his family, and he taught them through the life he lived that a genuine faith and unconditional love are the only thing that really matter. Dearly loved, he will be forever missed.
James “Jim” Homrich died peacefully on February 19, 2019. Jim’s family includes his wife, Mary Ann; 5 children: Debbie (David) Brown, Sue (Jeff) Henshaw, Dick (Anne) Homrich, Steve (Nancy) Homrich, Jeannie (Terry) Henderson; 16 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; 3 sisters: Joyce Kimble, Rosie (Larry DeValle) Brindley, Donna (Dan) Collins; and many nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly. Cremation has taken place. Visit with family and friends on Friday (Feb 22) from 4 - 7 p.m. at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where the Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 1628 E G Ave, Parchment. A luncheon will follow in the church hall. Private burial will take place. Please visit Jim’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Ambrose Catholic Church or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.