Life Story / Obituary
John was born on August 19, 1937, making him the first child of his parents, Graydon and Viola Willson. He grew up in Kalamazoo, MI, and spent his early life making great friends and connections through his schooling and his passions. He graduated from Kalamazoo Central in 1955.
In his young adult life, John unexpectedly took over the family business when his father passed away. He stepped up for his family, displayed responsibility, and professionalism, and used his creativity and interpersonal skills to grow the business into an extremely successful agency. Over time each of his siblings, Phil, Ann, and Dan joined the family business and each experienced incredible success under John’s guidance and leadership. Through his business, John made many friends and colleagues, making him known throughout Kalamazoo for his vibrant personality and thriving business.
During his lifetime, John poured his heart into his many interests, passions, and collections, including jazz music, baseball, fishing, and traveling. He passed those passions on to his children and grandchildren. Those who knew John loved to see his face light up as he spoke about the things he loved.
John had no shortage of stories to recount to his children and grandchildren about his childhood, countless trips to Greece, his sizable music collection, and his cherished hi-fi system. John’s family watched him grow into a wise and caring man, and build a meaningful life for himself with each passing year.
John leaves behind a large and loving family who will miss his mischievous smile, timely jokes, stories, and the kindness and warmth he brought to every room he was in. John was predeceased by his parents, and survived by his beloved wife, Priscilla Wilder Willson; three siblings, Phil Willson, Ann Block (John), and Dan Willson (Chris); four children, Robert Willson (Beth), David Willson (Leslie), Ellen Damveld (Mark), and Nancy Beebe (Kevin); their mother Jane Willson; three step children, Christian Wolf, Alexander Wolf, and Nathaniel Wolf (Jamie); and twelve grandchildren.
Please visit John's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos, or to sign his guestbook. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Dr, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.