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Life Story / Obituary
Although he was taken from his loved ones too soon, Jeff Harper made a significant impact in the lives of so many others. He worked hard and never did things halfway, and anyone who knew Jeff would speak of his contagious zest for life. A family man through and through, it was easy to see that he was married to his best friend, and together they raised their children who were Jeff’s greatest source of pride and joy. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
The 1960s were a vibrant time in America when we were making great strides toward the age of technology. We elected the young John F. Kennedy as our 35th President of the United States while the Civil Rights Movement continued to gain momentum and we put the first man on the moon in 1969. This year was one of great celebration in the lives of Jeff Harper and Lori Roger as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Jeffrey on December 23rd in Battle Creek, Michigan. So they didn’t have to celebrate Christmas in the hospital, his parents decided to take him home early. They had a bit of trouble finding him, however, as he was being paraded around the hospital by the nurses in a Santa suit inside a stocking.
In many ways Jeff was a young boy of his generation. He enjoyed playing outside - so much so that he didn’t even want to come home to use the bathroom! Jeff developed his love for fishing by frequently fishing with his father and grandparents on Wall Lake in Delton where his grandparents had a home. Jeff spent lots of time with his Grandma Shirley and cousins, Tim and Shawn especially during the summer swimming in Grandma’s pool. Jeff established his skills as a mechanic as a young man as he showed skills in tearing apart and putting together engines. He loved road racing and tells the story of the time he and Aaron took a Monte Carlo down the interstate and was driving so fast that he could turn the wheel back and forth and it didn’t move because the front wheels would be off the road! Jeff once got a ticket for doing donuts in his father’s pickup truck on a bet as well.
Life was forever changed for Jeff when he was working as a mechanic at Kmart on Gull Road. It was there that he met the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Lisa Beadle, and she worked inside at the time. Although Jeff didn't have the courage to ask her out, he got someone else from the garage to do it for him. They each brought someone along as they believed there was safety in numbers. Jeff was sporting a mullet and driving a Toyota Celica that was missing the front grill, and Lisa swore she would never go out with him again. Lisa later changed her mind, and they were married on August 17, 1991. Together Jeff and Lisa were blessed with the births of three children, Josh, Trent, and Alexis. To support his family, he worked in gas distribution for more than 20 years with Consumers Energy.
There was never anything of greater importance to Jeff than his family. He loved fishing with his wife, even through her inability to cast. Jeff also hunted and fished with his kids, and they often tested his patience including the time his son caught a snapping turtle. He always called his wife Babe, and when he called her “Lisa” she knew she was in trouble. Jeff also had nicknames for his children and daughter-in-law. Jeff loved spending time at the cottage on Gun Lake with his family as being outdoors and on his boat with his loved ones was a passion. With a love for speed Jeff pulled his kids around behind the ATV and took them tubing and skiing on the water. He created a large fire pit to encourage family gatherings, especially over the fourth of July, including an awesome fireworks display. Jeff and his wife had a passion for dogs and once becoming empty nesters they took in foster dogs. Even though Jeff was adamant that they only foster one dog at a time, he was the first to choose multiple dogs at each foster transport event.
All who knew Jeff would agree that he was never one to sit still. His loved for cars remained into adulthood, and he probably owned more than 50 as he kept buying new and better cars. Jeff actually loved anything that moved as he had sports cars, trucks, mopeds, motorcycles, ATVs, boats and tractors. He always wanted more horsepower! In fact, Jeff wasn’t really all that upset when his son used the oil can for gas and left him in need of a new mower. He loved his lawn and even removed trees and planted more to make it look just perfect down to the exact lines and angles. Jeff liked all things neat and organized.
With unending love for those around him, Jeff was an extraordinary man to know and love. He lived on the lighter side of life and could make a joke out of just about anything all in the name of making people smile. Jeff was blessed to share most of his life with his true love, and he had a way of making each one of his children feel uniquely loved. He will never be forgotten.
Jeffrey L. Harper Jr., age 49, of Otsego passed away suddenly at home on Sunday, October 13, 2019. He was born on December 23, 1969 in Battle Creek and grew up in Bellevue. Jeff worked for Consumers Energy in gas distribution for more than 20 years. Jeff loved being outdoors, enjoying hunting, spending time on his boat and taking care of his yard. He married Lisa Beadle on August 17, 1991 and together they raised their 3 children. His family include his wife Lisa; their 3 children: Josh, Trent (Shelby) and Alexis; 3 sisters: Amy (Dan) Evans, Ashley (Shawn) Phillips and Rebecca Sult; his mother Lori (Steve) Rogers; father Jeff Harper; several nieces and nephews; a close sister and brother–in-law Lori and Ottis Bethran; a special little girl Gracie; and his beloved dogs: Charlie, Denver, Annie, Patty. He was preceded in death by Grandma Shirley, Grandma Harper and by his favorite dog Dakota. Cremation has taken place and services will be at 3 PM on Thursday (Oct. 17) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. The family will receive friends at a reception with food and refreshments immediately following the service in the Life Story Center. Please visit Jeff’s personal memory page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Tail Waggers Pet Rescue. www.TailWaggersPetRescue.com