LIFE STORY VISITATION
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Life Story / Obituary
Of all the things Michael Topp valued in life, it was easy to see that his family was his greatest treasure. He was a hardworking man, a man of his word who believed that honesty, morality, and a selfless spirit were the keys to a life well-lived. Mike was a role model for his children, but his greatest delight was found in his grandchildren. He told the best stories, although one was never quite sure if they were completely true, and his positive attitude was easy to see. Life will never be the same without Mike here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
With the end of WWII in 1945, America was making the shift to being a nation at peace once again. Rationing had become a thing of the past, and the baby boom was underway. It was during this transitional time that Warren and Evelyn Topp were filled with great anticipation as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as the promise of spring was seen on the horizon in 1949. Their wait was over on March 5th when the baby boy they named Michael made his grand entrance. He was joined in his family by two half-brothers, Vic and Doug, and later two biological sisters, Diane and Denise. Mike was particularly close with Vic.
Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Mike regularly helped his mother while growing up. He picked up on a lot about cooking during these years. To support the family, Mike’s father worked for the phone company while his mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home. She was not only a fantastic cook but also an amazing keeper of the home. Mike also learned about working with his hands and with tools from his father. He attended local schools and graduated from Kalamazoo Central in 1967. From there, Mike joined the Coast Guard as he preferred to be a saver of lives rather than a taker of life. Mike married Barb, and together they were blessed with two children, Michelle and Bryan. Although the marriage later ended in divorce, Mike was always so grateful for the children they shared.
Throughout his life Mike modeled a strong work ethic. Like his father, Mike got a job with Michigan Bell where he started as a lineman. Through his hard work and dedication, Mike received several promotions over the years, eventually becoming a foreman and engineer in management. He retired from Ameritech in 1999, but since he wasn’t one to be still for too long he started his own business doing something he loved. Mike created Topp Builders where he specialized in doing remodels and additions as well as smaller scaled projects like decks. No matter what he was doing he gave it his all and took great pride in his work. Due to health reasons, Mike stopped working in 2019.
It was while working at the phone company that Mike met the woman with whom he would share the best years of his life. Her name was Susan Froberg, and after dating for a time the couple was married on June 11, 1983, at the Methodist church in Stevensville, Michigan. To their marriage Susan brought her two daughters, Dawn and Rebecca, whom he loved as his own. Mike fully invested himself into being a father and made it seem effortless to balance being firm with being understanding, patient, and gracious. He worked hard to facilitate the blending of their two families, which wasn’t always easy but was so rewarding. Mike was very protective of his family, and it has been said that when a young man came to take one of their teenage girls on a date that the young man was greeted with a firm handshake that let any potential suitors know that it was Mike who was in charge! As a family there were fun times on vacation in Traverse City, and annual Fourth of July celebrations with extended family were a favorite time of games, food, and plenty of laughter. When grandchildren came along Mike was thrilled, and he loved sharing special times on memorable trips with them. He and his grandchildren were always very close.
Over the years Mike modeled so many things despite there being challenges in his own life at times. He valued truth, the importance of rules, and the need to take ownership and be responsible for yourself. Mike was protective and taught others to take care of the ones you love - even if it meant he could be a bit stubborn at times. He was quick to laugh, which is perhaps why Uncle Buck was one of his longstanding favorite movies. Mike believed that everything was doable, and even when hard times came he always knew the need to inject a little bit of humor into it all. A lifelong part of the Kalamazoo community, he enjoyed bowling, golfing, and being part of both the Southwest Gun Club and the American Legion. Throughout his life, Mike loved to cook and share his food with others, oftentimes he made home deliveries of his special meals.
All who knew Michael Topp would agree that he was one of the kindest, helpful, and generous people around. He inspired others through the life he lived each day, and he was the eternal optimist who always had faith that his children would make the right choices. Deeply loved, Mike will be forever missed.
Michael’s battle with depression came to an end on Saturday, June 11, 2022. Members of his family include his wife Susan. His children and step children: Michelle (Michael) Grafton, Bryan (fiancée Stacey) Topp, Dawn (Dennis) Knoll, Rebecca (Russell) Wolverton, Kristen Gauthier; Grandchildren: Jessica, Lauren, Evan, Jordan, Alec, Bryn, Lawsen, Alexandra, Emily, Catalyn; great grandchildren; Lennon Grace, Riley; sister- Diane Ferguson, niece and nephews Molly Ferguson, Richard and Warren Grover. He was preceded in death by his brother Victor McNaughton and his sister Denise Grover.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation on Monday (JUNE 20) from 5-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Funeral Services will be held Tuesday (JUNE 21) 1pm at Portage Chapel Hill Church, 7028 Oakland Drive, Portage. Private burial services will be held at the South Portage Cemetery. Visit Michael’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Tunnels to Tower or the Kalamazoo Humane Society.