Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Michael Huckabee

October 19, 1981 - February 11, 2021
Kalamazoo, MI



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.

The Family
33107 Thelma Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079

Family will be making contributions to charity at a later time.

Life Story / Obituary


All who knew Mike Huckabee could attest to his fierce love of his family and friends always willing to help anyone in need, Mike lived his life selflessly. Nothing brought him greater joy than the time he spent with his loved ones. Gone too soon, Mike will be deeply missed and his wonderful collection of memories will fondly live on in the hearts of all who knew and loved him.

Reflecting on the year 1981, it was a time of celebration across the nation. The Iran hostage crisis had ended, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer exchanged vows at the royal wedding, and NASA launched its first space shuttle, Space Shuttle Columbia. On October 19th, Tony Rice and Lisa Huckabee welcomed their newborn son, Michael, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born an only child, his birth brought them much joy and happiness.

When he was learning to talk he couldn't say Aunt Lauri and called her Aunt Dody and continued to call her that well into adulthood.

Adventurous at a young age, Mike loved to spend time outdoors. He enjoyed riding his bike and feeding the ducks at Milham Park. By the time he was five years old, he and his Mom moved to the small town of Lawton where he enjoyed playing on the Little League team as well as soccer. When he turned eleven years old, they moved out to Paw Paw. Mike enjoyed attending the county fair as a kid and loved seeing the farm animals. He had many fond memories of fishing with his grandpa in area lakes including North Lake, long walks with his grandma on the railroad tracks near where they lived and ice fishing with his Uncle Dave. As a teen, Mike enjoyed spending time shooting guns and bows with his step-father Tom. Some of the happiest moments of his life were spent sitting around the campfire up north with his family at their property in Mesick.

His childhood was filled with many happy moments camping at many of the state parks including campgrounds in Mackinaw City. Campgrounds held a special place for Mike as he always enjoyed spending time in nature and creating many memories camping over the years

During his high school years, Mike balanced school with his first job at McDonald’s. He also played the trombone in the band and was a proud member of the football team. Each and every summer his family would travel down south to visit relatives in Arkansas and Missouri. Although there were many miles between them, he and his cousin picked up right where they left off during their visits together. His easy-going and carefree personality could be seen in his ability to wear shorts even during a Michigan winter! His mother would often have to beg him to wear pants and a coat! Before graduating from Paw Paw High School, he enjoyed a memorable trip to Daytona Beach with friends for spring break. In his early adult life, he enjoyed attending live concerts especially heavy metal bands. Whenever Mike was around there was never a dull moment!

Mike was always willing to work hard. For the past thirteen years, he worked at Meijer where he was loved by co-workers and customers alike. Mike was always cracking jokes and pulling pranks on others! He made working a long shift fun! Their local comedian, friend, and partner in crime, Mike treated everyone at Meijer as family. Mike truly never felt like he worked a day in his life as anything he set out to do was also done with great joy. At the end of the day, if he had made someone laugh or made someone feel they mattered, then his job was satisfied.

Generous with his time and resources, he also enjoyed helping his step-father, Tom with many projects. Mike was there to cut down trees, split wood, and help build the new pole barn. He never said no to lending a helping hand and was even willing to work just for a hot meal! When it came to food, Mike loved his step-dad, Tom’s cooking. He savored his homemade chicken paprika (Papekash) dish as well as his beef stew. Mike lived his life to the fullest by sharing his love of hard work, food, and many talents with others.

Mike held many special interests over the years. He was always fond of animals. He had rats, snakes, and lizards yet considered himself a dog person. He also had a vast collection of collector style knives, swords and axes. In his free time, Mike loved to play his guitar, listen to music and watch horror movies. Above all else, he loved being around people, especially his family. Compassionate and caring, Mike lived his life helping others. Mike’s life was taken too soon. May his loved ones never doubt his love for them and may his laughter still be heard at each and every time they are gathered for generations to come.

Michael Huckabee, age 39, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, passed away on February 11, 2021 at Bronson Methodist Hospital. His wonderful presence will be fondly remembered by his many special friends and loved ones. He was preceded in death by his father, Tony Rice and his grandfather, Bud Huckabee. He is survived by his mother, Lisa and step-father, Tom; his grandma, Karol Huckabee (Dee Fankhauser); step-sister, Clarisse Behr; half-sisters: Chloe Rice, Chelsea Liberati; his Aunts Lauri (David) Bouma, Cynthia Hegedus, Rena Rice, Mary Rice and his Uncle Brian Rice. Cremation has taken place and a future memorial service is pending. Please visit Mike’s personal memory page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you can read his Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40, Paw Paw (269) 657-3870