Tuesday, November 24, 2020
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Memorial Service will be announced soon.
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.
Lighthouse Memorial Project c/o the Yoshikawa Family
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Let me tell you a story. Once there was a boy named Mitchell. He wanted a dirt bike. This was no ordinary dirt bike: it could fly, go a million miles a minute, and it could turn into a jet ski at a touch of a button on his watch. Mitchell and his friends would go on very exciting adventures. When the bad guys would catch them, Mitchell would tell them about Jesus so they would become good guys.
Mitchell had a passion for extreme adventure. He was fearless, energetic, and tried almost everything a boy would dream of. He loved to do everything from reading to spelunking. As for sports, he played baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, ski, cross-country, and golf. His Mama would not let him play football. He rode horses, climbed trees, made dirt forts, and was an American ninja warrior. He mountain biked and cycled with his Mama and sometimes his sister.
This was Mitchell’s life—joy, enthusiasm, love for everyone—even the intimidating characters. He would pray for those who were having “a day”—not in a long, drawn-out prayer—but a quippy prayer that always ended, “Help us have a good day!” His faith was absolutely the purest faith of a child. Sometimes, on rare occasions, we would get a glimpse of a young man’s prayer. At church prayer time, he did not need the prayer sheet; he remembered all the requests. The Holy Spirit would lead him in earnest supplication. After his prayer, there was a beautiful moment of silence as we let the words of truth sink deeper into our souls. After that, there was not much more to be said.
During a Wednesday night service, Mitchell raised his hand and said, “I want all the glory for myself, but I need to give God all the glory.” He was referring to basketball and how he always wanted to make a slam dunk and be the most valuable player. At that moment, he realized the need to surrender to God’s Will and plan. James 1:22 says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only.” This was hard for a little boy who never wanted to do homework or even sit down. Even though he struggled, he was honest, had integrity, and wanted to follow Jesus in his actions.
Mitchell and his sister, Anja, were always together whether they liked it or not. They were Irish twins, so they were built-in playmates. They would build forts, play kitchen, organize a concert for their parents, and catch frogs and salamanders. Anja and Mitchell gave each other a hard time, of course, but they truly loved one another. They were intertwined and had a special understanding of one another that even their Mama and Papa did not quite understand. They were partners in skiing and tennis. Mitchell would sometimes get Anja to play a game with him. The most recent game they would play was Sky-Jo, and Anja would beat him every time! Mitchell would even give grace to Anja so she could win.
Every neighborhood friend and their siblings came to play: the treehouse, the patio, the disc golf, the ninja course, and water balloons. When they were playing water balloons, one team would use the treehouse as their fort. Mitchell and Scott were usually the ones to make surprise attacks from the ground.
Mitchell was so busy at his endless projects. He would help his Mama fix her bike tires. He loved to build things just like his Papa. When the kids were very young, Papa would bring them to Lowe’s for their Build & Grow program. Papa would help them hammer nails, connect wood blocks, and decorate with stickers. Mitchell would follow his Papa around and help him work on the deck and treehouse. Eventually, Mitchell designed and created his own mini golf course and built signs with his birthday present drill.
At the end of the day, when Papa would give Mitchell a “hug kiss” and tickle him, Mitchell would tell his secrets about lady friends and manly business. They would usually spend half an hour decompressing from the day, then he would yell for his Mama for a “hug kiss” and take off his glasses.
Riding bike came a little late for the kids—Anja was seven and Mitchell was six. They were naturals at it because in no time, they were riding without training wheels around the neighborhood. That started a lifelong quest for more power and speed. At first, the single track at Al Sabo proved a bit challenging with the narrow runs and sharp curves. Mitchell’s handling was a bit rusty, so he would fall over into the weeds. As he grew stronger and more confident, there were more trails, more tricks, and better handling over rocks and roots. Bike Trip 2019 proved to be next in line for challenge and perseverance as he rode with a group of boys on traffic-laden roads. He proved his strength by riding two hundred miles on his twenty-four-inch mountain bike.
It is hard to mention every person who impacted Mitchell’s life. Here is a shout-out to Mrs. Whitfield, Aunt Pat, Corbin, Darren, Jordan, Max, MaryBeth, Rebecca, Rachel, Jessica, Liam, Scott, Jacob, Eddie, Devon, Mr. Weener, Mr. Shingledecker, Pastor, and all the others that Mitchell loved. We also thank Grandpa Goggins, Nana, Ojichan, Kiyokazu, Fumiaki, Katie, Cam, Graham, Thomas, and Genevieve for their love and support.
At the tender age of four, Mitchell was very interested in going to heaven, so he started asking his Mama about how to have Jesus in his heart. When Mr. Shingledecker explained to him how to invite Jesus in his heart, Mitchell happily did so. He was so happy; he ran through the church announcing this greatest news. If you have not received Christ for yourself, Mitchell would tell you to do so today!
We thank the Lord Jesus Christ for so great a salvation and for fourteen glorious years with Mitchell.