Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Joe Leone

February 2, 1957 - July 18, 2022
Kalamazoo, MI


Life Story Visitation

Friday, July 22, 2022
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Scripture and brief memories will be shared at 6pm. Friends and guests are then invited to happy hour at Zeb's.

Driving Directions

Mass of Christian Burial

Saturday, July 23, 2022
11:00 AM EDT
St Monica Catholic Church
4408 S Westnege Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 345-4389

Burial at Hope Cemetery. A luncheon will be held at Dina's home, 27799 Birmingham Ct., Paw Paw.



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.

St Monica Catholic Church
4408 S Westnedge Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 345-4389


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

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Joe Leone was a family man through and through. He and his wife, Barb, thrived on staying active and devoting much of their time and resources to the family they so loved. Joe was immensely proud of his family and lived his life to its fullest. Gone too soon, he leaves behind many wonderful memories for his family and many special friends to cherish forevermore.

Joe’s story began in the year 1957. On February 2nd in Youngstown, Ohio, Joseph was welcomed home to his Italian parents. His birth brought much joy and happiness to the family home. It was a period of time when families huddled around television sets to catch Gunsmoke or anything featuring Lucille Ball. Rock Hudson and Elvis Presley were making headlines for their stardom. Most importantly, the Soviet Union had launched the first space satellite, Sputnik, starting the beginning of many changes to technology and the Space Race.

Joe’s ambitious and optimistic spirit were noticeable at a young age. He lived a happy childhood and set off for Ohio State to study chemistry after high school. During his years as a Buckeye, he met Barb, the woman who would steal his heart forever! The two of them shared a special kind of love and later joined in marriage. They both took jobs at a Houston hospital working in the lab and jumped at the opportunity to relocate to Kalamazoo to work at the Upjohn Company. Together they raised three wonderful children: Rachel, Dina, and Joey.

As a dad, Joe relished every opportunity for his family. Their children were raised in the Catholic faith and he shared a large part of his Italian heritage with each of them. When they were young, he took the whole family on a trip overseas to Italy to tour the places where his family was from and visit the many villages in the countryside. Slow to anger and easy-going, Joe was an easy dad to love. He loved to be humorous and often made up words in his attempts not to swear in front of the kids! Routine and tradition were very important to Joe. For many years, he and Barb extended invitations to large family gatherings of Italian dishes at their home. They dined often at Comensoli’s in Kalamazoo and never missed an opportunity to stop at Cassese's MVR whenever they were back in Youngstown. Joe enjoyed dressing for the occasion and always looked impeccable with his hair slicked back. Although he was known to allow the kids to skip school from time to time, they never missed Sunday mass and dinner together as a family during their growing years. He and Barb modeled a beautiful marriage for their children, solidifying the strong bond that holds them all together.

When it came to providing for his family, Joe played as hard as he worked which meant the family was always on the go. His work as a biochemist at Zoetis kept him busy. He thrived in the routine of a work environment. As a result of his hard work, the family enjoyed many trips together to Florida, Arizona, and Napa Valley for wine tasting tours when the kids were grown. A loving dad, each and every time he was out at a conference or work event, he was known to bring home fresh baked cookies, brownies, or treats to share with his kids. Later in life, his Friday night routine was to stop by Zeb’s in Texas Corners after work. In recent years, he enjoyed visiting his daughter in Florida and sipping Mai Tais on the beach! In the fall season, Joe loved heading back to Ohio State to tailgate and cheer on his Buckeyes. He always loved to be around people and enjoyed making lasting memories over the years.

Sadly, he was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. Despite the news, Joe always remained very positive and outgoing relying on his faith to see him through. His family was lucky to witness his example of living with dignity and strength during his illness. Any time his family was together, Joe was happy. There simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his family. Deeply loved, Joe will be dearly missed and fondly remembered for his generous heart and compassion for others. May his adventurous spirit continue to be reflected in the lives of his loved ones for generations to come.

Joseph Leone, age 65, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, died on July 18, 2022. Joe was born February 2, 1957, in Youngstown, Ohio to John and Ersilia Leone who preceded him in death. Surviving is his wife, ­­­­Barb; children: Rachel (Daniel) London, Dina (Erik) Frank, and Joey Leone; and siblings: Denio (Marie) Leone and Dina (Jim) Rendinell. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation Friday (JULY 22) 4-6 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Scripture and brief memories will be shared at 6 PM. Friends and guests are then invited to Zeb’s for happy hour. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 AM Saturday (JULY 23) at St. Monica Catholic Church, 4408 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo. Following the burial, a luncheon will be held at Dina’s home, 27799 Birmingham Ct., Paw Paw. Visit Joe’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Monica Catholic Church.