Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Lou Farraye

June 1, 1931 - February 25, 2020
Portage, MI



Thursday, February 27, 2020
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Rosary will be recited at 7 PM.

Driving Directions

Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, February 28, 2020
11:00 AM EST
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church
1150 W Centre Ave.
Portage, MI 49024
(269) 327-5165

Visitation will begin at 10 AM. A luncheon will be held at the church following mass. Burial at Ft. Custer National Cemetery.

Web Site


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


Lou Farraye was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He will be remembered for his intellectual curiosity, faith, love of his family and friends, and civic service in both Virginia and Michigan. Born with a fierce sense of independence and a passion for perfection, Lou was a remarkable person to know and love. Exceptionally kind and compassionate toward others, he modeled a life of integrity. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

Lou’s story begins in the year 1931 when mobster Al Capone was locked away in Alcatraz, the Empire State Building had finished completion, and one of the greatest droughts in American history had hit the Central Plains region. During the middle of one of the toughest decades in American history, Frajellah and Jamille Farraye welcomed home the arrival of their newborn son, Louis on June 1st in Paterson, New Jersey. Born the youngest of seven children, his birth brought much joy to the family during tough economic times.

Lou was born to a Syrian/French father who worked as a pattern maker for a dress manufacturer and an Armenian/Turkish mother who was a homemaker. Both had immigrated from the Middle East via an arranged marriage in 1914. Lou was always proud of his heritage. Raised in a large family in Brooklyn, all seven children worked to support the family from a young age. Lou started out with a shoeshine box at church. He also worked as a barker at a local theater and later as a messenger delivering packages. Once he was challenged with delivering a package to a well-known movie star, Maria Montez, who was docked on a cruise ship nearby. He acted quickly and persuaded the cruise line to allow him to not only deliver the package but to meet her in person! His persistence was a well-played trait throughout his life as he pursued many endeavors.

Lou’s achievements were noted back in his teen years where he served as the senior class president for his graduating class at Alexander Hamilton High School in Brooklyn. Active and athletic, he also participated in broad jumping on the track team. Unfortunately, he took a bad fall and injured his back but with strong determination, he fought his way back into shape. Following in the footsteps of the four brothers ahead of him, Lou tried to enlist in the United States Air Force. Due to his back injury, they declined his admittance. Never one to give in easily, Lou walked down the street to the Marine Corps recruiter, and they accepted him! He proudly served his country during the Korean Conflict as a Supply Sergeant from 1951-1955. During his time there, he injured his back again, yet he was honorably discharged.

Upon his return, he ran into an old friend who was attending the New York School of Radio Technique. Before long, Lou enrolled there and began training so diligently he got burrs on his vocal cords! His exceptional voice, as well as work ethic, landed him a job at WLPN Radio in Virginia. At the time he invited the local churches to be on the air on Sunday’s, fifteen minutes of airtime for fifteen dollars. After following a friend to WDBJ Radio in Roanoke, Lou met the love of his life, Barbara Farraye (Burks), through mutual friends of theirs. They held a special bond and wasted no time planning for their beautiful ceremony in 1959. Together they raised two wonderful children, Joe and Jamille.

As a family, they treasured making memories. They enjoyed vacationing to Holden Beach, North Carolina each summer for a few weeks in Barbara’s parent’s home. They also enjoyed a special trip to the World’s Fair in Brooklyn, staying with family in an apartment that had a wonderful view of the Statue of Liberty! Lou always held a special place in heart for New York, and he never forgot how to drive like a true New Yorker. Supportive and loving, he taught his children that anything they wanted in life was available to them as long as they put their mind to doing it!

By 1975, Lou was working for Jim Gilmore Broadcasting in Harrisburg, Virginia. Lou and Barbara decided to move to Kalamazoo where Gilmore was centralizing their new headquarters. Lou was later promoted to Executive Vice President of Programming and Promotion before retiring in 1994.

Among his many successes, Lou credits his grandchildren as one of his greatest blessings. He held a unique and special relationship with each of his grandchildren. An avid reader throughout his life, he always made sure the kids and grandkids had the books they wanted. He preferred non-fiction which earned him a wealth of knowledge on many subjects.

He and Barbara shared sixty-one wonderful years together. They were active in their involvement in their church, St. Catherine’s of Siena Catholic Church. They also enjoyed many concerts by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. Lucky for his lovely bride, he loved to cook and knew his way around a kitchen. Over the years they shared countless dinners and special gatherings with family and friends. Dedicated to his family, driven in his work ethic, and devoted to living his life to the fullest, Lou leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for his family to cherish forever.

Louis E. Farraye, age 88, of Portage, Michigan, passed away February 25, 2020. Lou is preceded in death by his parents as well as his six brothers and sisters. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Farraye; two children, Joe (Jane) Farraye and Jamille (Kurt) Hetke; and five grandchildren; Matthew Farraye, Nicolas Farraye, Meredith (Farraye) Betz, Grace Hetke and Nathan Hetke. Cremation has taken place. Visit with family and friends on Thursday, February, 27th from 5-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive., Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where the Rosary will be recited at 7 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 AM on Friday, February 28th at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 1150 W Center Ave., Portage with visitation one hour prior. A luncheon will follow in the church hall. Interment at Fort Custer National Cemetery with military honors. Please visit Lou’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. The family requests that any donations be sent to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.