Friday, August 9, 2019
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served. The Rosary will be recited at 7 PM.
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Reflecting on the life of Pete Youngblood, words such as hardworking, protective, and sincere come to mind, but no greater word could describe his life than generous. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He treasured the time he spent with his growing family sharing life’s abundant blessings with each and every one of them. His loving presence and easy-going personality will be dearly missed and fondly remembered for generations to come.
The roaring 1920s was a period of sustained economic prosperity and high-spirited cultural advances. The media was focused on jazz music and celebrities giving radio stations a renewed popularity. In the same year that Charles Lindbergh completed the first solo flight across the Atlantic, Henry and Ellen Youngblood welcomed home their newborn son, Peter, on June 11, 1927, in Chicago, Illinois. His birth brought much hope and happiness to their home.
Primarily growing up in Midlothian, Illinois, Pete lived a typical childhood of the times. With a large number of siblings, there was never a dull moment in the Youngblood household! As a young child, he formed an especially close relationship with his mother often asking her to play the piano. A memorable moment from his childhood was when his eighth-grade class traveled to a baseball game together. He was even able to watch Babe Ruth, the most celebrated athlete of his time, swing away with his famous bat, “Wonderboy.” Often times, Pete would bring home a stray dog and house them in his mother’s china cabinet. A gracious farmer who recognized his love for dogs once gave him a white German shepherd named Frosty to have all to himself! Hardworking and ambitious, Pete helped to support the family through his work on nearby farms. He’d often weed, pick crops of asparagus, or herd cattle, as well as enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal from the farmer’s wife before heading home. He and his brother, Ed, landed enough jobs that they could easily pass along other farms to some of their friends saving the ones with the best food all to themselves!
When the family moved from Midlothian to Allegan, Michigan, they had a small farm complete with their very own milk cows. Pete later found work in a paper mill and learned how the various kinds of paper were made; everything from writing paper to playing cards, to rolling the stock for shipping. While living in Allegan, Pete married his first wife and was delighted at the birth of his first son, Michael.
After this marriage ended in divorce, Pete moved to Kalamazoo where he helped his father build a new home to live in. Following in his father’s footsteps, he started work at the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. First as a paver and laborer, and eventually he became a driver. Other than the short amount of time he was drafted into the United States Army in 1953, serving as a Corporal, he remained with the road commission retiring as a foreman. Well-liked and respected by his fellow employees, he was immensely proud of his career.
Not to be forgotten was Donna, who would change the course of his life forever! Back home from his time in the service, he agreed to a boat ride with his brother, Walter, on Eagle Lake. Walter and Donna knew one another and he is credited with their very first introduction. Somewhat shy and introverted, it took Pete another six months before he worked up enough nerve to ask her out! Once she agreed, the rest was history! Joining in marriage on October 26, 1957, at St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo, they made a beautiful life together. They designed and built their forever home. The garage was their living space before adding on over the years. Together they raised two wonderful children; Michael and Theresa, as well as fostered one hundred and three children over the course of their years together. While working at the county, he went to Detroit College of Business nights after work to earn his degree.
As a father, Pete provided unending wisdom and guidance to his children. Stern at times, yet slow to anger, he once solved the problem of one of the foster kids getting repeatedly kicked out of school. When he was called to the school to pick him up, Pete made him walk the five miles to their home while he followed him in the car. He learned his lesson and was never kicked out of school again! As a family, they vacationed every summer. Every trip was sure to have a story! Mostly camping, they toured many places across the U.S. including the popular amusement park, Cedar Point, as well as California, Oregon, and even Canada. Either the car would break down, or by the time they rolled into the campground they had reserved for its outdoor pool, they’d find out it was closed for the night! Their travels never seemed to come without a hitch!
Hard to believe that Pete would find any time for his many special interests and hobbies, yet he had plenty to keep him active over the years. In addition to his love of traveling with the family, he was known to tinker with several projects at once especially cutting wood from the trees on his property, splitting it, and stacking it. This eventually became a nice side business and he gained several regular customers who he’d deliver fresh cut firewood to. Fishing was a favorite pastime as he enjoyed his time on his small boat. He mostly caught bluegill and perch as well as large buckets full of smelt for frying! Each year, even into his later years, he bought a fishing license, in hope of the lucky chance he was able to fish. Never shy of a little competition, he also savored playing the card game, Pinochle, over the years. When life slowed down for him, he took to reading books, particularly Michigan history books. If he enjoyed a book, he was known to read it over and over and savor its rich text.
Pete truly lived his life believing that life is what you make it. His optimism and charming personality made him a pleasure to know and to love. Never one to sulk, Pete always looked on the bright side of life and was grateful for its many simple pleasures. A great storyteller and conversationalist, he will surely be missed by his many special friends and family as well as the countless lives he touched.
Peter John Youngblood, age 92, died peacefully on August 5, 2019. He made a thirty-seven year career working at the Kalamazoo County Road Commission and served as a proud member of the Mattawan School Board for twenty-four years. Surviving are his wife, Donna Jean Youngblood; children: Michael David Youngblood and Theresa Jean Corwin; four grandchildren: Erin, Lissa, Jordan and Jenna; two great-grandchildren: Dustin and Pearl; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. Peter was preceded in death by his eight siblings. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments from 5-7 PM (Aug. 9) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where the Rosary will be recited at 7 PM that evening. Services will be held at 11 AM on Saturday (Aug. 10) at the funeral home. Burial will follow in Maple Grove Cemetery, Mattawan. Visit Peter’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you can read his Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.