Life Story Visitation
Friday, December 2, 2022
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Please join us for a Life Story Visitation where food, refreshments, and stories will be shared.
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.
Coloma Masonic Lodge #162
PO Box 804
Coloma, MI 49038
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Life Story / Obituary
With a loving, generous heart Michael Diebold lived a life rich in family and fun. Michael possessed a terrific sense of humor and a strong sense of honor. Kind and caring, Michael consistently strove to be his best. He never hesitated to give all he could in hopes of serving others and was grateful for all he was given. Though our days with him were far too few, the gift of every moment we shared with him was priceless. A devoted father, grandfather, companion, and friend, Michael will long be remembered and so very missed.
1969 was a year of innovation and excitement. While the Beatles took the stage together for the final time, the Boeing 747 and Pontiac Firebird Trans Am made their debut. Three hundred fifty thousand rock-n-roll fans peaceably gathered at Woodstock, and Neil Armstrong took "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Nowhere was there more excitement than in Watervliet, Michigan, as John and Camilla (Haight) Diebold welcomed their son Michael to their family on June 20. He was the fifth and youngest child, and also a surprise as his parents were not expecting another child.
He quickly became a young boy who took matters into his own hands. Once, when he didn't like how the bathrooms at school smelled, he lit incense. While this took care of the problem, it also resulted in a bit of trouble with the principal. As a teen, Michael developed his lifelong passion for drumming as a member of the Hartford Indian Emerald Vanguard and later on Coachmen Drum and Bugle Corps. A natural musician and percussionist, he constantly tapped to the beat.
After graduating from high school, Michael studied music at Lake Michigan College for a time. Eventually, on the advice of a professor, he changed course. He graduated college with his bachelor's degree in International Business. He went back to college for computer programming and began his career in Information Technology. Later, Michael found his passion at Ascension Borgess Hospital, with an office at the old Fontbonne Mannor at Nazareth. He was loyal to the team and dedicated to the work. He felt like he was doing some good working behind the scenes, because his work affected and helped patients. Well-respected and liked by his colleagues, Michael was known for his ability to anticipate needs and put the work before anything else. Failure was not an option.
Outside of work, Michael loved taking trips on his motorcycle with his wife, Michelle; sister, Linda; and her husband, Dennis. After 9/11, he participated in the Ride to Remember with countless bikers who rode for miles and miles from Benton Harbor through southwest Michigan. Every bike had American Flags, and people lined the streets to watch and support the riders. The ride included making several breaks along the way for food and drinks and rest.
Though their marriage ended in divorce, he was grateful for the gift of his children, Adam and Sydney. Michael loved being a father and sharing time with his kids. When they were young, he enjoyed making many blanket forts in the house together. Sometimes, they would set up a tent in the backyard or living room and camping on Fathers' Day became a treasured tradition. Adam was his movie-watching buddy. Sydney was his T.V. buddy and, as a baby, she often fell asleep on her daddy’s chest. He and Sydney also enjoyed playing volleyball as she got older. While Michael believed there was no project that was too hard to do himself, he had a habit of finishing only 90% of the project. Nevertheless, he encouraged his kids to learn how to figure things out on their own and trust their capacity to get things done. Michael’s children were his greatest accomplishment and he was their biggest cheerleader.
Holiday traditions included going to his parents' house and falling asleep in the recliner in the corner. He enjoyed watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and was especially proud when the family made the trip to New York in 2014 to watch his son Adam march in the parade. He joked with his kids that someday they'd allow the "marching washboard,” an instrument he jokingly played from time to time. Holidays were also a time for playing board games with family and friends. Every New Year's Eve was spent at his sister's house playing games. He was quite competitive and experienced a particularly long winning streak once, until his family discovered his “special dice,” forever cementing his cheating shenanigan’s as legendary.
He enjoyed his sweets, including grape Kool-Aid with Cherry Pop-Tarts, chocolate, and his favorites, lemon Oreos. He was known as the Cookie Monster, as he’d devour a box of Girl Scout Cookies. Donuts with Dad when his kids were in elementary school was something he truly looked forward too, combining his two favorite things: sweets and his kids. He and Adam won a father and son Bake Off for Cub Scouts. And Michael firmly believed that grilled cheese with grape jelly is simply the best!
His love of bolo ties from the time he was a kid led to a love of crazy socks, and his signature, dapper good looks. Another great pleasure for Michael was back scratches! He'd scratch against the wall and relished others scratching his back. He even let the dog walk on this back from time to time. Michael also never missed a chance to go to an amusement park or water park and danced randomly to everything, all in an effort to spend time with and bring joy to those he loved most.
Traveling was a source of joy for Michael. He took his girlfriend, Tonya Diamond, on her first train trip to Chicago. As they entered the hotel where they were staying, his practical joker attitude encouraged Tonya to check in as Monica Lewinski for Bill Clinton. As he and Tonya had met in 7th-grade band, she knew his sense of humor well and enjoyed playing along. His trips to India impacted him greatly. His interactions with locals and the emotions he experienced during his time there never left him. He gave away his rupees before leaving and did all he could to make a positive difference for the people he met.
A powerful role model for how to live a heart-centered life, Michael was an inspiration to all who were blessed to know him. His effortless generosity, commitment to excellence, humor, and care will long live in the hearts and lives of those he so dearly loved.
Michael Diebold of Holland, age 53, died on November 23, 2022. Michael was preceded in death by his parents; and his sister, Linda Matthews. Surviving are his children: Adam (Elisabeth) Diebold and Sydney Diebold; grandson, Peter; former wife, Michelle Diebold; significant other, Tonya Diamond; siblings: Deborah (Mark) Lightner, David Diebold, and Kirk Diebold; brother-in-law, Dennis Matthews; and many nieces and nephews. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, refreshments, and stories will be shared 5-7 PM Friday (DEC 2) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Visit Michael's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Coloma Masonic Lodge 162.