Life Story Visitation
Friday, September 9, 2022
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
The Rosary will be recited at 7 PM.
Mass of Christian Burial
Saturday, September 10, 2022
11:00 AM EDT
St. Monica Church
4408 S. Westnedge Ave.
Portage, MI 49008
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.
Catholic Schools of Greater Kalamazoo FBO St. Monica Annual Fund
1000 W Kilgore Rd
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Wedel's Nursery Florist & Garden Center
5020 Texas Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Life Story / Obituary
As his family and friends can surely attest, Michael Pohlman truly understood the secret to a life well lived. He was a constant source of strength for those around him, and always had an encouraging word to say. Nothing brought Mike greater joy than spending time with those he loved, even in the simplest of moments. He was known for his heart of service as well as his firm belief in the importance of generosity, and he was always willing to go above and beyond to help others. Dearly loved, Mike will be forever missed by those who knew him best.
With the end of WWII in 1945, America was making the shift to being a nation at peace once again. Countless young servicemen and women had returned home from overseas, and rationing had become a thing of the past. The Silver Screen once again entertained us with stars like Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, while the tunes of Frank Sinatra or Glenn Miller and his Orchestra filled our homes. It was during this transitional time that Carl and Burnetta (Nentwig) Pohlman were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Michael on September 6, 1947, in Saginaw, Michigan.
Growing up, Mike was a typical young man of his generation in many ways. He was raised in the family home as the youngest of his siblings, Carl, Fran, and Peter. Throughout his childhood, Mike was well known for his mischievous streak. While living across the street from the fairgrounds, he would jump the fence at the county fair with his brothers and friends to skip the ticket line. One of Mike’s prized possessions was a ferris wheel erector set that he received one Christmas. He held onto it for his whole life, maintaining its perfect condition. Mike’s grandfather taught him how to fish, something that quickly became one of Mike’s lifelong passions. He attended parochial schools and attended St. Paul’s Seminary in Saginaw in the 7th grade until his graduation from 12th grade, where his natural athleticism helped him excel in sports. Mike especially enjoyed football and baseball, and he even set a high school record in a hurdling event. Though the record has most likely long since been broken, Mike always maintained it was his.
Until then, he had considered becoming a priest until life took him in a different direction. Her name was Sue Schachtner. The two first met at a wedding where they were both members of the wedding party. Mike was instantly smitten and asked her to dance. He continued to ask her out on dates, and she persistently refused. However, over time, their relationship blossomed into something truly wonderful. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Mike and Sue were married in the presence of family and friends in 1969.
After leaving seminary behind, Mike furthered his education at Saginaw Valley State College. He would go on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and pursued a career in social work at Pheasant Ridge Psych Hospital and later at Family Independence Agency. He especially liked working with the children. He developed strong relationships with many of them and kept an interest in their lives even long after they had left his care. Mike also volunteered his time at Lakeside For Children and the Boys and Girls Club, investing in the local youth.
All who knew Mike can certainly agree that, of all the things he loved in life, he treasured his family above all else. Together, he and Sue were overjoyed to welcome their children, Michael, Jeremy, and Kara, into their hearts and home. Mike thrived in his role as a father and always did his best to raise his kids into kind and hardworking individuals. He loved hosting Sunday meals with family, whether it be brunch after church or stopping for donuts and breakfast. Every June, the Pohlman family enjoyed a trip to Lake Leelanau. Mike’s brothers would meet them there, and they would all spend some quality time together. These summer trips were the background for countless family memories, including the time Mike tried to wrangle a loose bull back into the enclosure! Christmas was always spent as a family, even if the festivities did not take place on Christmas Day. Later in life, Mike was thrilled to become a grandfather. He adored his grandchildren and doted on them whenever he could. Mike loved to spoil them with gifts at Christmas time, often giving them so many presents that it was difficult to even see the tree! He always considered himself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Never one to sit still for long, Mike pursued several hobbies to stay busy in his free time. He enjoyed building model trains, surprising his young children once as they returned home from school to see a train set and landscape completely covering their ping pong table! He also had a Tracker bass boat that was the source of many fond memories, teaching his kids and grandkids to fish in the local watering holes. Mike always took great pride in his yard, growing flowers and roses. His wife retired as a teacher from Otsego Public Schools before working in retirement at Wedel’s Garden Center, but Mike was always the one getting his hands dirty, pulling weeds, manicuring the garden, and curating his lawn to perfection.
Mike was active in St. Monica Church, and he enjoyed giving graciously of his time as a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Kalamazoo Rotary Club. At home, visitors were often treated to his favorite classical music by modern composers like John Williams or Broadway tunes from Les Misérables or Phantom of the Opera. One of his favorite hobbies was searching for a good bargain. No matter what store he visited, he’d try negotiating with the clerk and was often successful. He spent ten years working on a cabin up north, rebuilding it all on his own. He picked up most of the materials he needed by bargaining at auctions. Mike would stay there to work, even when it didn’t have a roof or insulation! All who knew him would agree that once Mike put his mind to something, there was no stopping him. He also never threw anything away, which he jokingly attributed to his wife.
When reflecting on the life of Michael Pohlman, it is easy to see both his unwavering strength and his unconditional love for his family. He had a great sense of humor and a contagious laugh, was friendly to all those he met, and he had a terrific ability to strike up a conversation with anyone and everyone. A loving husband and father, Mike was proud to watch his family tree grow to include so many loved ones. He poured his heart and soul into all that he did. Though he will be deeply missed, Mike leaves behind a priceless legacy that his loved ones will be proud to carry on in his footsteps.
Michael Pohlman of Portage, age 74, died on September 5, 2022. Mike was preceded in death by his wife, Sue; brother, Carl Pohlman; and sister, Fran Coughlin. Surviving are his children: Michael II (Ruth) Pohlman, Jeremy (Chrissie) Pohlman, and Kara (Larry, Sr.) Mannor; grandchildren: Jordan, Chase, Mina, Ian, Larry Jr., Jonathon, and Andrew; brother, Peter (Judy) Pohlman; sisters-in-law: Judy and Joanne Pohlman; and many nieces and nephews. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation on Friday (SEPT 9) from 5-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. The Rosary will be recited at 7 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday (SEPT 10) at 11 AM at St. Monica Catholic Church. Burial at St. Augustine Cemetery, Hillman. Visit Mike’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Catholic Schools of Greater Kalamazoo FBO St. Monica Annual Fund.