Life Story Visitation
Monday, April 24, 2023
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
10:00 AM EDT
St. Thomas More Student Parish
421 Monroe Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Coffee and donuts will follow in the parish hall.
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.
Kalamazoo Community Soccer Association
c/o Mark Shields
1775 Valleywood Ct. #1
Portage, MI 49024
In support of the Kalamazoo Community Soccer Complex.
Hackett Catholic Prep
1000 W Kilgore Rd.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Life Story / Obituary
Rene Adrian loved family, treasured his friends, and was happiest when surrounded by both. He was a kind, gentle, generous and patient man who embraced all of the goodness of life and endured its challenges with courage and faith. He had a great sense of humor right up to the end of his days; in his last period of alertness he managed to tease his sons and brother. He was a loving and supportive husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend.
Born in LaPaz, Bolivia on September 6, 1937, he was the first son of Luis and Simone Pinguet Adrian. He attended The Methodist School in LaPaz where he learned English and excelled in academics and football (soccer). In 1955, Rene's mother contacted a friend in the United States and requested them to sponsor her son's visa to come to this country because she feared the growing political instability in Bolivia at that time, and concern for Rene following participation in local protests, coupled with connections to his then-exiled politically active father. Rene traveled to the United States with friends, by ship, arriving in the Port of Miami on February 11, 1956. Within four days, he enlisted in the U.S. Army – specializing as a motor pool mechanic and Spanish translator in the Panama Canal Zone. He was discharged honorably on February 10, 1959 after three years of service, with several commendations to his credit. He returned to Bolivia after the Army and worked distributing seed packets for Asgrow Seed Company, then based in Orange, Connecticut. When he heard the company was seeking a Spanish-speaking Sales Representative, Rene wrote to apply. Having not heard back from Asgrow within what he considered a reasonable time, he returned to the U.S., undaunted, to present himself in person for the job. Even though the job listing had been taken down, the company management applauded his tenacity and still hired him onto the staff in Connecticut; this drive to succeed served Rene well for more than 30 more years, leading to expanded roles in international sales for the company and opening doors to travel throughout most of the world. He retired after a satisfying career as an International Marketing Executive in Agriculture, specializing in corn, sorghum and soybean.
In 1972, The Upjohn Company acquired Asgrow, bringing Rene to Kalamazoo with the company’s transfer. He loved the friendliness of the Midwest and hospitality found in Kalamazoo, leading him to a wonderful chance meeting with Joan in 1974. They were married in 1975, with the start of their family soon following. Their first son, Rene (Kip) was followed by Christopher 16 months later. Eight years after that, came their third son, John-Paul. Throughout their boys’ childhoods, Rene was very involved, in all of their education and activities, despite travelling frequently for work. Calling on his own passion for soccer, he helped to advance the soccer culture in Kalamazoo as a founding member of the Kalamazoo Community Soccer Complex, and was involved with AYSO, Hackett High School and other soccer teams and initiatives. He also enjoyed coaching each of his boys throughout the years, at various levels.
Rene loved nothing more than spending times with his family and friends, hosting gatherings and enjoying good cheer. He was a kind, generous and loving man who left an indelible mark on all who knew him.
Rene had complications after a surgery in 2017 that impaired his mobility. In spite of this he continued to enjoy life, never complaining, and derived total joy from being Grandpa Bue (Abuelo) to his four granddaughters; Maren Rene, Annalise, Olivia and Sloane; and grandson, Casey.
Over the past five months, Rene continued, unfortunately, to decline; even though you would never have known it from talking with him – he continued to draw on a never-ending well of inner strength, never complaining about any personal discomfort or hardship. He passed away peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice during the early hours of April 18, 2023. He is survived by his wife, Joan, his sons and their families: Kip and Andrea, with their daughters Maren and Annalise; Christopher and Stephanie, with their daughter Sloane; and John-Paul and Amanda, with their children Olivia and Casey; his brother, Jorge Roberto (Bob) and his wife Lee; special nephew Rob and his family, adored niece Lisa; longtime friends: Leo and Cathy Zanoni, and a close circle of friends from throughout the years – each with a notable place in Rene’s heart.
The celebration of Rene Adrian’s life will take place Monday, April 24 from 5-7 PM, with a praying of the rosary at 7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Tuesday, April 25 at 10 AM at St. Thomas More Catholic Church. Interment will take place at the Fort Custer National Military Cemetery. Please visit Rene's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hackett Catholic Prep General Fund or Kalamazoo Community Soccer Complex.