Life Story Visitation
Friday, April 22, 2022
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Please join us for a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Saturday, April 23, 2022
12:00 PM EDT
A reception will follow at a location to be announced.
Life Story / Obituary
Lon Baird lived a full life. A hard worker and a strong provider, he enjoyed spending time with his family. He wanted the best for them and would do anything to share in their many successes. Lon will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by his loved ones and members of his small-town community for his easy-going and jovial personality, and his unending ability to sit and chat, usually over coffee and a donut.
Reflecting on the year 1938, the nation was coming out of the Great Depression. In the entertainment world, Orson Welles' radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds was broadcast and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs held its Hollywood premiere. Lon was welcomed home on August 20th in Chicago, Illinois. His birth brought great joy to his hardworking parents.
Lon lived a typical childhood of the times. Always on the go, he was active and enjoyed working as a paper boy earning extra money as a child. After graduating from high school, he moved from Michigan to Alaska. Before long, he took a job with Flying Tigers Airlines in Cold Bay. During his time there, Lon learned to hunt moose and bear, and trap wolves, foxes, and wolverines. He also earned his pilot's license. Fond of the beauty of his surroundings, Lon loved taking pictures or home movies of his flights or day trips. In fact, he was well known for being the man behind the camera, always snapping away.
One fateful day, he noticed a passenger and her three young boys stepping off the plane. At that very first glance, Lon was in love! Little did he know, he was friends with her sister, and she later introduced them. They joined in marriage and Lon was blessed to be the stepfather to her three sons who considered him their real dad. His love of the outdoors later landed him a job with the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska.
Years after, Lon moved his family back to Michigan where he began working with Western Michigan University at McCracken Hall’s purchasing and receiving department. As a dad, Lon taught his boys how to earn money, starting at a very young age, shoveling snow for just 50 cents a driveway. He also taught them to save it! By the time they were young adolescents, he had them working on the local dairy farm throughout their high school years. A meticulous saver, Lon was known to track his mileage and gas usage, to figure out how much money he saved. As a result, he instilled in the boys the value of money and a hard day’s work. Lon encouraged them to start saving for retirement long before they even knew what that meant! Although the marriage ended in divorce, Lon stayed in love with their mother as no one could ever compare to her, and he kept a close relationship with the boys.
Lon had a variety of pastimes he enjoyed over the years. Frugal by nature, he never passed up a free donut or free popcorn day at the bank. Always hungry, he was famous for showing up at dinner time at other people’s homes for a free meal! Any time he could get something for nothing, he considered it a good day. After retiring from WMU, Lon went to work at Tapper Ford in Paw Paw. He earned the nickname Speedy Lonzales as he was absolutely never in a hurry and could not be made to go any faster. He took life at his own pace, and enjoyed it as such. In his later years, Lon enjoyed traveling and visiting his kids and grandkids. His favorite pastime was simply having conversations over a cup of coffee and a donut. Lon was a lover of all people and enjoyed visiting with friends and strangers alike. He had a real knack for connecting with others and making everyone feel special in his presence. Described as humble, Lon was immensely grateful for the many blessings in his life. He leaves behind a legacy of being honest and hardworking. May his many special loved ones be comforted in knowing that he loved each and every one of them unconditionally and may his warm memories be eternal.
Lon Baird, age 83, of Lawton, Michigan, passed on April 17, 2022. Lon was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, David. Surviving are his children: James (Claudia) Taylor, Glenn Taylor, and Travis (Karen) Taylor; and grandchildren: Amanda Lamberty, Shannon Streich, Heather Taylor, Glenn Taylor, Justin Taylor, Chris Taylor, Shauna Taylor, Zachary Taylor, Kaylee Bowling, Megan Bowling, and Madison Bowling; and several great-grandchildren.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Friday, April 22, 2022, 5-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Burial at Chamberlin Cemetery, Saturday, April 23, 2022, at 12 PM with a reception to be announced afterward. Visit Lon’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and to sign his guestbook.