Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

John Diestler

June 23, 1943 - April 7, 2018
Portage, MI



Sunday, April 22, 2018
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and drinks will be served at the open house.

Driving Directions


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.

Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan
222 N. Kalamazoo Mall, Ste. 100
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 345-0273
Driving Directions
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


Although he experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer, John Diestler’s greatest source of pride and joy was found in the family he adored. He certainly took his roles as a husband and father to heart, but he just may have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandfather later in life. John had a great sense of humor that he often shared with those around him, but what he will be most remembered for was his willingness to help others in whatever way he could. Life will never be the same without John here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.

During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. Countless young servicemen and women were serving in the fight for the preservation of our freedoms while those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on numerous common goods. It was during this eventful time that John drew his first breath in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on June 23, 1943. He loved his mother deeply, and he spent a lot of time at his Aunt Neita and Uncle Bud Denning’s home. Spending time with their family brought some stability to John’s life, bringing a sense of normalcy to his turbulent childhood. Later in life his mother married Michael Velasquez, and he and John became close. In addition to attending local schools, John enjoyed playing ball and riding his bike while growing up.

As a young man John attended Parchment High School, but he left school early and joined the Navy. He did go on to earn his GED while in the Navy. John spent four years serving his country in the Navy, and he was always so proud to have served.

New and exciting changes were in store for John when he met the woman who would forever hold the key to his heart. Her name was Diane Kuiper, and they met in December of 1969. Sparks flew right from the start, and after a whirlwind romance they were married on May 29, 1970, at her father’s home. Together they welcomed their daughter, Monica, into their hearts and home, and she was Daddy’s girl! John and Monica regularly went shopping, fishing, and camping among other things. Needless to say, he spoiled her with time and affection throughout his life. Later on, John found great joy in spoiling Monica’s daughter. To support his family, he put in long hours, working tirelessly as a heavy equipment operator at Schupan and Son. In 1996, John began commuting to their Elkhart, Indiana, location. Eventually, he and Diane moved to Elkhart where they remained until moving back to the area in 2013 as John had retired in February of 2007 after working for Schupan and Son for 24 years.

Over the years John was a man of many interests. He was an outdoorsman who also enjoyed watching sports including football and hockey along with cheering on his favorite team, the Detroit Red Wings. A dog lover, John once tried to give his dog, Roscoe, a haircut. However, that didn’t go so well as he ended up cutting the dog’s tail! While John enjoyed trying to fix things around the house, he wasn’t very good at it. He did like helping his neighbors when he could. John enjoyed going to the casino, especially at Gun Lake since he loved their perch dinner. Although he liked gambling, Diane had to enforce a budget for his gambling as he usually lost more than he won! John enjoyed talking about the weather as he followed the Weather Channel. As his family and friends can attest, he was known for saying, “There’s a front coming,” whenever there was bad weather on the horizon. John liked spicy things like hot sauce, Mexican food, and basically anything with beans in it like chili and various soups. The greatest days of John’s life all revolved around special family days like weddings and births. Of course one of his favorite pastimes was to spoil his granddaughter. John and Madeline also had meaningful talks on a regular basis.

Life was forever changed for John and his loved ones when he was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis in 2014. The days that followed were filled with numerous visits to the doctor, and this past February he was in and out of the hospital. On March 27, John was released to go home and placed under hospice care.

All who knew John Diestler would agree that there was no one quite like him. He had a fun and dry sense of humor mixed with sarcasm, and he had impeccable timing on his jokes, one liners, and comebacks. Someone who liked to be busy, John taught others the true meaning of hard work. Deeply devoted to his family, there was nothing that brought him more happiness than being surrounded by the ones he treasured. Deeply loved, John will never be forgotten.

John Diestler, of Portage, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, April 7, 2018. John’s family includes his wife, Diane; daughter, Monica (Tony) Dykehouse; granddaughter, Madeline; special aunt, Neita Denning; sisters and brothers-in-law: Sharon (Robert) Philipp, Evelyn (Larry) Freemire, Mary (Jerry) Freemire, Harvey (Susan) Kuiper; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. John has been cremated and an open house to celebrate his life will be held on Sunday, April 22nd from 1-4 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Please visit John’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to hospice care of SW Michigan.