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.
To a charity of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Content with the simple things in life, Joe Foltin lived a life centered on family. Joe dedicated his life to the good care of his wife and children; he was a hard worker who was eager to learn and whose thriftiness ensured many comforts. Joe possessed a unique sense of humor that proved an acquired taste; for those who knew him best, his intentions were always clear. A natural tinkerer, Joe liked a good project that inspired learning, solving, and creating.
1947 proved a year of continued celebration of the nation’s momentous victory in World War II. America's heroes eagerly returned home to a country filled with renewed spirit and hope ready to claim their share of the American Dream, which they fought so proudly for overseas. As American prosperity grew like no time in our history, hope sprang eternal, and the Greatest Generation soon proliferated creating the age of the Baby Boomers. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, the cause for celebration grew even greater for Joseph and Louise (Glenn) Foltin as they welcomed their son, Joe into their hearts and home on October 29.
The oldest of the four Foltin children, Joe enjoyed a childhood typical of the times. He attended Kalamazoo Public Schools and grew up in a home rooted in family values. While his mother worked as a rural mail carrier, his father worked at Welch’s in Lawton. Joe’s passion for shooting guns began in his youth. A teen rebel, Joe took a legendary ride on his motorcycle on the third floor of the old Kalamazoo Central High School, pulling fire alarms along the way, in response to being expelled. He also claimed to be the first person to streak down the Kalamazoo Mall on his motorcycle.
While hanging out at his best friend’s house, Joe had the good fortune of meeting the love of his life, Toni Ford, who lived next door. Joe was instantly smitten with the Floridian native who had recently moved to West Michigan, and the pair were soon dating. In time, they fell in love and began setting their hearts on sharing the future. On November 15, 1969, the couple married at the Justice of the Peace in Kalamazoo, officially beginning their 45-year adventure.
The newlyweds settled into married life in Kalamazoo. Toni worked in data entry at Brown Paper Company, while Joe began his long career at Checker Motors. In 1974, Joe and Toni were blessed to begin their family with the birth of their daughter, Stacy. Twins, Steve and Michael, joined the family in 1981, and their daughter, Christine completed the family in 1982. Toni stayed home to tend their young family, while Joe continued to work to provide for his family. Joe typically worked the second shift and many hours. Despite the demands of his job, he made sure his time with his family was of high quality.
Joe and Toni were a great team, and they both modeled the importance of family and balancing work and play for their children. Every chance they could get away, they escaped the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Summers were spent camping, attending the Renaissance Faire and Kite Festival. Many gun shows were attended too. Sundays were spent at Grandma’s, enjoying time with the extended family.
Joe was especially handy and believed in preserving the value in things. He instilled in his children the importance of avoiding debt and stretching one’s resources. Joe was a perpetual student who ferociously studied anything that interested him. Whether reading up on boomerangs or tiny houses, Joe learned as much as he could and became quite knowledgeable about many subjects. He taught his daughters the basics of car care and taught Steve all he knew about working on cars. All the kids learned how to shoot guns and to throw boomerangs and knives. They also became confident Poker and Black Jack players under Joe’s tutelage.
Joe loved to read and could often be found immersed in a fantasy, mystery, or Sci-Fi novel. He loved history and especially learning about the treasures he sought at area garage sales and flea markets. His breadth of knowledge bolstered his success as he was so knowledgeable he could logically talk a seller down when the price of an item did not reflect its true value.
Though Joe enjoyed watching Star Trek, Syfy Channel, and various British shows or listening to all kinds of music, Joe was a contented homebody, who enjoyed nothing more than time spent with those he loved. As his family grew to include grandchildren, Joe’s joy grew as well. He and Toni relished in being grandparents and showering the kids with kindness and generosity.
After working for Checker Motors for more than 30 years, Joe enjoyed a long retirement. Many of those years were spent enjoying the day-to-day pleasures with his beloved. Sadly, on November 17, 2014, Toni died from respiratory issues that challenged her for more than a decade. Though Joe found comfort in knowing Toni was no longer suffering, he missed her tremendously.
As throughout his entire life, Joe found meaning in continuing to learn and sharing every possible moment with his family, which came to include his feline companion, Luna. The kitty was a faithful friend who followed him throughout the house and offered constant affection and play. Despite his own health problems in recent years, Joe always had a good attitude. He continued to embrace each day as a gift and savored every moment he was given.
Though it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Joe’s steadfast presence, may we find comfort in knowing that he has been reunited with Toni and is free from all earthly discomforts. May we also find comfort in carrying his legacy forward. With each awkward pun we share, challenge we meet with confidence, camping trip we take, and moment we gather with those we love, we celebrate the many ways Joe gifted us.
Joseph J. Foltin Jr., a lifelong resident of Kalamazoo, died at his home on Saturday, January 16, 2021. Preceded in death by his wife, Toni, Joe was also preceded in death by his sister Sandra and his brothers Jim and Jeff. Members of his family include his 4 children: Stacy Foltin, Steve (Susan) Foltin, Mike (Sandra) Foltin and Christine Foltin; 6 Grandchildren: Gabrielle Cripe, Andrew Foltin, Katelyn Foltin, Hayden Foltin, Karla Foltin, and Kendra Foltin; 3 great-grandchildren: Lyonides, Xandaya, Oloudah and expected great-grandchild in April. Cremation has taken place and service to celebrate his life will be held at 3 pm on Friday, January 22, 2021, the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Please visit Joe’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read his life story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.