Life Story Celebration
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food, Drinks and Stories will be shared.
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
As family and friends can surely attest, James Stoops truly understood the secret to a life well lived. He was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times. Nothing brought Jim greater joy than surrounding himself with his friends and family, no matter how simple the moments. He was always willing to go above and beyond to serve others, and he poured his heart and soul into all that he did. Deeply loved, Jim will be forever missed by those who knew him best.
It was an exciting time to be an American during the 1950s. Elvis Presley took the music world by storm with his rock and roll music, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe were big names on the silver screen, and by the end of the decade, we became a nation of 50 states with the addition of both Alaska and Hawaii. It was during this influential time that Donald and Martine Stoops of Kalamazoo, Michigan, were eagerly anticipating the arrival of their baby. On August 4, 1954, their wait was over, and they welcomed their son, James, into the world.
Growing up, Jim was a typical young man of his generation in many ways. He was raised in the family home in Portage alongside his siblings, Bob, Jane, and Susan. From a young age, Jim had no fear and was known for his love for adventure. He acquired quite a few scars from accidents, such as when he tried to drive a stick shift in his brother’s car and ended up slamming his face into the steering wheel. Jim enjoyed singing and dancing, something that would follow him for his entire life. He also had a passion for sports and played Little League when he was young. Jim attended Catholic schools, including Hackett High School where he played football. Like so many young men of that era, his car was so much a part of his identity. His first car was a black Ford Falcon, which was spray painted, with yellow wheels. Being his first car, he always looked fondly back on that car and he always considered it to be his favorite. Jim went on to graduate in 1972, ready to move on to bigger and better things.
All who knew Jim can certainly agree that, of all the things he loved in life, he treasured his family above all else. Shortly after high school, he married Kyle Powell. Together, they welcomed their two beloved children, Jenni and Adam, into their hearts and homes. Though the marriage would eventually end in divorce, Jim was always grateful for the children they shared. He thrived in his role as a father, and he passed his sense of humor and his eternal optimism down to Jenni and Adam. Jim was quiet but supportive, and he only raised his voice if the situation was truly serious. His children were the most important part of his life. Later in life, Jim was thrilled to become a grandfather as well. He always considered himself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Jim as he met the woman who would soon become the love of his life. Her name was Carol Sunnock, and the two first met at the Kalamazoo Blues Festival. They connected with a simple smile and by the end of the evening, Jim was with the group that Carol was with. There was an instant spark between them, and over the next five years of dating, their relationship blossomed into something truly special. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Jim and Carol were married on July 26, 2004. Through the marriage, his family grew to include Carol’s children as well. During their years together, Jim and Carol enjoyed many good times with family and friends such as playing Euchre, visiting the Wisconsin State Fair with friends where they enjoyed good drinks and great music, and a mid-winter break from the Michigan winter with a trip to Corpus Christi.
Jim was never afraid to work hard to support himself and his family. He spent 40 years building a fulfilling career for himself at Applied Industry Technology. Jim was very well-liked by his co-workers, and he was well known for his solid work ethic. Over the years, he worked his way up to a management position. Jim retired at the age of 58, enabling him to devote more time to one of his greatest life passions, golf. He loved the game. Along with his group of friends, Jim would play at any course with an open tee time and they would even travel during the winter to find warmer weather. Jim took a part time job as a starter at Eastern Hills, not because of the money but so he could play for free. Unfortunately with all of this, Jim never managed to get a hole-in-one.
Never one to sit still for long, Jim pursued many hobbies to stay busy in his free time. He enjoyed listening to music from the 60s, classic rock, and Motown music. Jim was a DJ for a while and would do karaoke shows. His favorite thing to do was spend time with his friends. Jim liked entertaining and would have people over to tell stories and drink Bud Light around the fire pit. He truly loved soaking up all the time with friends and family that he could. He was loyal to his friends and he had many good friends that go back to his childhood.
When reflecting on the life of James Stoops, it is easy to see both his unwavering strength and his unconditional love for his family. He was known for his honesty and his open heart. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Jim was a friend to many and beloved by all that he met. He was a shining example of generosity and service to others. Though he will be dearly missed, Jim leaves behind a priceless legacy that his loved ones will be proud to carry on in his footsteps.
Jim Stoops died on Monday, February 12, 2024. Members of his family include his wife Carol; children: Jenni Stoops, Adam Stoops, Trisha (Jim) Nelson, and Sawnteel; grandchildren: Adriana, Maliah, and Rachel; Siblings: Bob (Denise) Stoops, Jane Stoops, Susan Tolin. He was preceded in death by Carol’s son, Eric Blodgett, and his brother-in-law, Mel Tolin.
Cremation has taken place. Please join us at a Life Story Service at 4 PM on February 21, 2024, at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A reception where food, drinks, and stories will be shared will be held immediately following the service in the Life Story Center. Visit Jim’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kidney Foundation.