Life Story Service
Friday, November 11, 2022
4:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
A reception will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories can be shared.
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.
Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Humorous, friendly, and smart, Rich Lodge was a true Renaissance man who lived life to the fullest. Rich cherished family and friends, loved adventure and was very comfortable with himself. Loyal and true, Rich's sincerity was always evident, as was his passion for nature, politics, and the comforts of home. He devoted himself to consciously nurturing his relationships with the people he loved and supporting the causes he believed in. His signature generosity, wisdom, and good humor inspired all who were blessed to know him. Revered and cherished by many, Rich will long be remembered and so deeply missed.
1943 marked a time when the war effort in Europe directly impacted all American lives. While countless young people actively served in the trenches of WWII, those who remained stateside poured their energies into supporting the war effort in any way they could. While Ford and GM converted their plants from automobile manufacturing to the building of bombs and aircraft engines, an unprecedented 18 million women proudly worked the manufacturing jobs once held by the men who were now overseas. Providing a sense of respite from the daily struggles, Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller filled the airways, Lassie Come Home dominated the television, and the musical Oklahoma took the stage on Broadway. For George and Josie (Nellie Stead) Lodge, it was a particularly exciting time as they welcomed their son, Richard “Rich”, into their family on May 3.
Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Rich's early years were firmly rooted in values inspired by a culturally diverse neighborhood, including his parents having been born in Newfoundland. His father was a shipyard supervisor, and his mother dedicated herself to managing the home. In addition to enjoying his older brother Milton's good company, Rich enjoyed playing handball in the park, stickball in the streets, and shooting pool at the local pool hall.
After graduating from Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn with the class of 1961, the story goes that Rich paid his way through college with his pool winnings. He attended college in Georgia for one year before transferring to Western Michigan University. Thanks to his sister-in-law Janet's encouragement, Rich successfully earned both a Bachelor's and Master's degrees in psychology. While working on his degrees, he married Kathleen Darlington in 1967. After six years of marriage, the pair divorced.
In time, Rich met and married Barb Fraker. An adventurous couple, Rich and Barb, enjoyed exploring life together. Not only did they share a love of Rich's daughter Darcey, but they also shared common core values and a love of the outdoors. Two tracking up north, hiking local trails, and traveling the world together and with family. His favorite trips included the Galapagos Islands and three trips to Africa. They were absolutely delighted when Darcey, her husband Doug, and their son Collin moved three houses away. Sadly, after 40 years of adventure, Barb died in 2010.
After being introduced by mutual friends, Rich finally called Tracy Cobb in April 2015, and they have been together ever since. They shared a lovely partnership filled with travel and good times living on Austin Lake. Rich relished in lake life, hosting gatherings, and taking pontoon rides. He loved giving tours of the lake giving entertaining narrations filled with curious facts and maybe even a bit of fiction. He enjoyed cooking and making sure everyone learned the proper way to make a Coney Island during annual 4th of July Coney Island Day celebrations.
Rich possessed an infectious sense of wonder and an eagerness for continuous growth and learning. Everything was wonderful to him. He continued to shoot pool and play in tournaments, and his love of cars never waned. A race instructor at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, he enjoyed sharing his knowledge and driving his track car, a red 2006 Z06 Corvette. He owned many cars over the years and loved every one of them. Many good times were had as a member of the Corvette and Fast Guys clubs. Pottery was also a passion for Rich.
A natural athlete, Rich was always active. He played basketball and volleyball, enjoyed water skiing and scuba diving, lifted weights, and was a foodie. He and his nephew, James, shared a close relationship and a love for waterskiing. Sunday dinners, usually centered on his famous "beer can chicken," steak, or prime rib. He also ensured his son-in-law cut his lawn at the correct height every Thursday.
Without a doubt, Rich's heart's delight was his daughter and 17-year-old grandson, Collin. Whether swimming, skiing, tubing, reading, watching animal shows, or going for a drive, Rich enjoyed every moment of their special connection. They lifted weights together three times a week, and Rich never missed an opportunity to support Collin's endeavors. He attended his wrestling matches and martial arts tournaments and proudly cheered him on when he competed in the Junior Olympics with Taekwondo.
Intelligent and analytical, Rich was a man of science and unwavering principles. A die-hard liberal, he never hesitated to share his knowledge or engage in a robust discussion. He could talk to anyone with a calm, rational voice that left people feeling respected and maybe even open to listening to alternative views. He loved the news, starting each day by listening to the morning news with Joe and Mika on Morning Joe. Deeply committed to nature, Rich was known to wander the countryside and hike Michigan Land Conservancy trails. After a long career with Van Buren County in mental health administration, Rich thoroughly embraced retirement and the time to indulge in simple pleasures. Whether listening to and growing his playlist, playing word games and poker online, watching veterinarian and car shows, or Formula One on TV, supporting organizations like Doctors without Borders, or sharing time with loved ones, Rich lived every moment to the fullest.
As we navigate the shock of losing Rich so suddenly, may we find much comfort in our many treasured memories. Rich proved a powerful role model for all who were lucky to know him. Whether we shared a moment or our lifetime with him, we are forever better for his influence. Rich embodied the principles he believed in, embracing every moment he was given and living a wholehearted life. In doing so, he showed us how to welcome each day as a gift and to be generous with all we've been given. Surely his amazing legacy will proudly live on in the hearts and lives of those he so dearly loved.
Rich Lodge, of Portage, Michigan, age 79, died unexpectedly on November 6, 2022, while vacationing in Frankenmuth with his partner. Rich was born May 3, 1943, in Brooklyn, NY, the son of Richard and Nellie (Stead) Lodge. Rich was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara Fraker; and niece, Kristin Lodge. Members of his family include his daughter, Darcey (Doug) Nosewicz; grandson, Collin Richard Nosewicz; brother, Milton (Janet) Lodge; nephew, James (Reyhan) Lodge; and their children: Kian, Darian, and Nilan; and partner, Tracy Cobb. Cremation has taken place. Please join us at a Life Story Service on Friday (NOV 11) 4PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009 (269) 375-2900. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center. Visit Rich's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.