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Life Story / Obituary
Always giving and always a joy to be around, Mike Hoppe was a friend to all and a stranger to none. A dedicated and loving family man, Mike’s greatest joy was found in his family and friends. A man who was just as compassionate as he was resilient, Mike’s giving nature knew no bounds which was reflected through to his very last breath. Gone yet never to be forgotten are the wonderful memories he leaves behind.
The year 1958 saw many changes within the scope of the world around us. The creation of NASA and the Microchip paved the way for space exploration and the world of computers while the Hula Hoop was the talk of kids everywhere. Family was at the heart of American households where time spent playing friendly board games and sitting down to watch the ever popular, Ed Sullivan Show together was commonplace. However, a most exciting event that year in the lives of Gerald and Rosalind (Jakubiak) Hoppe was celebrating the new year with the January 19, birth of their bundle of baby boy, Michael.
Born in Alpena, Michigan, young Mike and his family soon moved to the Kalamazoo area of Michigan where he was raised alongside his siblings, Marsha, Randy, and Debbie. As a young boy he loved nothing more than playing at the big sand hill next door to their family home with his trucks and neighborhood friends. He loved playing sports as a kid and enjoyed watching sports throughout his life. Raised devout to his Catholic faith, Mike was baptized at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alpena, Michigan. Having attended the local schools, Mike went on to attend Hackett Catholic High School for two years before graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School with the Class of 1976.
Mike was a hard worker from his earliest years and always to be admired was his hard work ethic. He was indeed quite the worker and a saver and never hesitated working overtime whenever he could in the years to come at GM. In fact, by the time Mike graduated from high school he even paid off the red van he had with money he earned and saved from his early years cutting grass and delivering newspapers. Working in the trade as a tool, die and mold maker, Mike eventually spent a little over 31 years of his career working for General Motors.
The love of Mike’s life, Tammy entered his heart in 1982, when the couple met through mutual friends. After dating for a time, they were happily married on September 29, 1984, before a congregation of family and friends. Before long they welcomed the birth of their daughter, Jennifer “Jenna” who was the delight of Mike’s life. Ever proud of his family, there wasn’t anything Mike wouldn’t do for his girls. Known as the family “handyman”, in later years he was always at the ready to come help and rescue Jenna when something needed to be fixed at her condo. They would also frequent the gym together and go out for a tasty Bloody Mary. While they always made time for special daddy–daughter time, these times made for special memories. Family reunions were important to Mike, as well and he always made it a point to attend their annual reunions in Alpena and any family weddings and other gatherings.
Mike was a man of many interests. He worked hard but he also found time to enjoy life. Gardening was something he thoroughly enjoyed, and he was into motorcycle riding. An avid history buff, he also appreciated the outdoors and all it had to offer as a member of the Kalamazoo Nature Center. He and Tammy enjoyed a good meal out and traveling, too. Some of their travels took them to exciting international destinations such as Australia and New Zealand while in the U.S. some of their favorite places included Hawaii and Florida. They also made a memorable trip on the infamous Route 66.
When it came to sports, Mike was a Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, and Lions fan. Although he enjoyed all Detroit sports, he was especially fond of the Red Wings. He liked the sounds of classic rock like Kansas and Santana, but when it came to TV, he liked watching old Westerns, like the black and white episodes of Gun Smoke.
Friends played an important role in Mike’s life and he considered each one near and dear. Every Tuesday he would meet-up with his good friend, Bob Flach at Minor Lake and do a guy’s night with drinks by the fire, grilling out and just having a good time together. He loved hosting neighbors at his pole barn where they’d have a few drinks, chitchat and listen to music. Mike will forever be known as saying, “Way to go Ace” to his family and friends. Just as important to Mike was spending time with his cats. He always had cats, but Jack the cat was like his best bud and served quite appropriately as Mike’s “therapy cat”.
Mike Hoppe never made any excuses. He was forever forgiving and was simply a “never-give-up” kind of guy. Well-liked and personable, he was everyone’s best friend. Grounded and with high integrity, Mike was a man of his word and could always be counted on to place the needs of others before his own. With his awesome sense of humor and heartfelt compassion, Mike was truly one of a kind. A life well-lived, Mike’s legacy continues not only in the hearts of those who knew and loved him but as a Gift of Life donor. He will be dearly missed.
Michael “Mike” Hoppe, of Otsego, age 62, passed away on Thursday, September 17, 2020. Surviving are his wife of 36 years, Tammy; daughter, Jennifer “Jenna” Hoppe; his parents, Gerald and Rosalind Hoppe; siblings: Marsha Wheelock, Randy Hoppe, and Debbie Hoppe; many nieces and nephews. Visit Michael’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may read his Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kalamazoo Humane Society. Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo, 269-375-2900