Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Jeremy Sangsland

September 18, 1996 - March 27, 2019
Kalamazoo, MI



Tuesday, April 2, 2019
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900
Driving Directions


Wednesday, April 3, 2019
11:00 AM EDT
Lawton Evangelical Church
425 S Nursery Street
Lawton, MI 49065

A lunch will follow in the church hall.


Web Site


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.

Gryphon Place
3245 South 8th Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 381-1510
Web Site

Community Homeworks
810 Bryant Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
(269) 998-3275
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

Life Story / Obituary


Jeremy Sangsland was adventurous and fearless to the core as well as thoughtful and kindhearted to those around him. While he may have made up his own rules along life’s way, there is much to be said for the life lessons he learned, the impact he made, or the hard work ethic he gleaned working alongside his father and grandfathers. Jeremy rarely missed a beat and brought joy and laughter to the days of others in ways only he could.

Jeremy’s story began at a time of technological advances in the U.S. By 1996, the computer super highway continued to grow while the medical field accomplished feats years in the making. The “Macarena” song and dance craze hit the dance floors and the Spice Girls were all the rage. Amidst these times, there was only one thing on the hearts of Jeremy’s parents, Stephen and Tammy (Hiestand) Sangsland and that was his impending birth. Born a strong willed child from the start, Jeremy Christian Sangsland entered the world in Kalamazoo, Michigan on September 18, 1996. He was a rough and tumble boy. This fact was clearly evident even at his birth when he was born with a broken collarbone. His father worked in construction and later for Kaiser Aluminum. His mother managed optical offices and later went into the real estate business.

As kids, while sledding with his sisters all packed on the same sled as it headed towards a clothesline post, everyone bailed except Jeremy who ended up with a broken nose. One time as a toddler Jeremy wanted to ride his bike outside, but his mom had told him he couldn’t go outside in his pajamas. Ever determined, while his dad fell asleep on the couch, Jeremy found a way to follow this rule. A while later his dad woke to a neighbor knocking on the door asking if that was Jeremy riding his bike outside…in nothing but his diaper!

As a very young boy, he showed thoughtfulness when his best friend was diagnosed with leukemia and couldn’t come out to play he thought of another way, throwing a ball through an open window. For Jeremy, if there was a will, there was a way! If you told him he couldn’t do something, he became bound and determined to prove that he could, and would.

During his youth he also took Taekwondo lessons. The lessons not only taught Jeremy patience, but it helped him focus his attention and he soon became more disciplined. His elementary school teacher was so thrilled with Jeremy’s transformation she began recommending Taekwondo to everyone. Jeremy went on to proudly earn his black belt.

Another time, when his grandpa tried teaching him how to write his name, Jeremy was just stubborn enough and wouldn’t write it and wanted to play instead. As his grandpa became increasingly frustrated, Jeremy finally exclaimed, “How many times do I have to do this?” “Once” his grandpa said, and Jeremy slid the pencil across the paper with ease, writing his name perfectly!

During his pre-teen years, Jeremy and his sisters sometimes visited their dad on his construction sites. At one point, Jeremy went with his dad to Chicago to work on building a community center for the area youth. They helped with the demolition and then proceeded to work on the drywall and electrical wiring. While there they slept on site in their sleeping bags. Jeremy never quit and with persistence, he kept finding ways to help.

A nature lover at heart, Jeremy was close with his grandpa, Opi, who taught him all about the woods and together they enjoyed the peace and tranquility found there.

In highschool, Jeremy enjoyed paintball and there remains a splat above one of the doors in the house as an accidental souvenir. Often playing with friends, Jeremy enjoyed preparing the woods for their paintball battles, ensuring his friends all had spots to hide, which also meant Jeremy could ensure they didn’t win. When it came to his hobby of knife and axe throwing, Jeremy made targets in the backwoods. He watched YouTube videos to help perfect his skills although he didn’t always practice outside. His bedroom and closet doors had plenty of scars! Jeremy was also known for digging exceptionally large holes…just because.

When he wasn’t outdoors, Jeremy enjoyed playing video games and often shared strategies with other kids to improve their skills. He was a practical joker and enjoyed provoking a hearty laugh or even a scare from people, especially his sister Jessica. With his adventurous personality, Jeremy was intrigued with taking risks, especially if it involved jumping. For his 18th birthday he went skydiving and was the type to take a running leap. In fact, Jeremy jumped on everything and anything. On vacation in Hawaii he jumped into waterfalls, and at the Grand Canyon he jumped out onto a ledge for a better view. As always, danger never bothered him.

While attending Mattawan High School, Jeremy was on the football team although he couldn’t play much. He and some friends had been playing “wood chip tag” at Kids Dream in Lawton, and while jumping from a structure to a post Jeremy’s knee buckled which led to multiple surgeries. Even still, he sat on the bench at every single football practice and game cheering his team on. This also earned him the Iron Man Award for his dedication.

In time Jeremy found himself getting into trouble, but he always accepted responsibility and worked to make amends. Like his father, Jeremy began working at Kaiser Aluminum. Jeremy was a casting tech, forklift operator, and a jack-of-all-trades. Even though he didn’t have any experience, he had great potential and did very well. His colleagues were very impressed with him and his work.

Jeremy often took frequent late night walks through the woods and enjoyed listening to the coyotes. He made sure to keep the trails trimmed where he walked the dogs and checked on his grandma, Omi, at her house. He was fond of hiking and often did so through the woods barefoot. He even put rocks in his backpack for a good workout.

Besides working, his love for the outdoors and playing video games, Jeremy also enjoyed playing any game involving strategy including pool, chess, and Risk. It wasn’t unlike him to “adjust” the rules to suit his own benefit. His strategy was not to win, but to make everyone else lose!

Jeremy absolutely loved dogs, beef jerky and A1 steak sauce, which he put on everything, even in milk. A1 was about the only constant in Jeremy’s refrigerator and he never ran out. Jeremy was a true gentleman. Once during a knee surgery, Jeremy flirted with one of his nurses trying to make her feel good about herself while on the way to his procedure. He also enjoyed a good debate and meaningful conversations on a variety of subject matters. He was very good at arguing a point even if he didn’t believe in it. Jeremy just liked seeing where the conversation would go and finding the truth.

Taken much too soon from love’s embrace, Jeremy had a vitality all his own. He was coming into his own by discovering life in general and a sense of who he was and what he was choosing to strive for. Most recently he wrote several “truths” as he attempted to logically form his religious and personal values. He concluded that God created the universe for himself to experience his own creation by putting souls in all living creatures. A deep thinker, Jeremy believed in being true to one's self and seeking one's own truth. He believed in forgiveness, love and helping others. He rarely uttered a bad word about anyone, and his thoughtful nature knew no bounds. For these things and so much more, Jeremy will be deeply missed and always remembered.

Jeremy C. Sangsland, age 22, passed away suddenly on March 27, 2019. Jeremy was preceded in death by his grandparents: Frank Hiestand, and Irving and Lynnette Sangsland. Surviving is his mother: Tammy (Thomas) Graham; father: Stephen (Donna) Sangsland; siblings: Cassandra (Kodi) Bates, Jessica (Joshua) Lower, Brittany Hickman, Shay (Leigha) Hickman, Alexandria Graham, and Zachary Graham; many nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. Visit with family and friends on Tuesday, April 2, 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. The service will be held Wednesday, April 3 at 11am at Lawton Evangelical Church, 425 S Nursery St, Lawton 49065 (269) 624-1524 where a luncheon will follow in the church hall. Please visit Jeremy’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com where you can read Jeremy’s story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Gryphon Place or Community Homeworks.