Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Rick Havener

September 5, 1956 - February 14, 2023
Kalamazoo, MI


Life Story Service

Tuesday, February 21, 2023
11:00 AM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

A reception will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories can be shared.

Driving Directions


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.

SPCA of Southwest Michigan
6955 W KL Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 344-1474
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


As his family and friends can surely attest, Rick Havener truly understood the secret to a life well lived. He was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times, and he always had an encouraging word to say. Nothing brought Rick greater joy than spending time with his loved ones…and his cars! A friend to all he met, he was quick to find conversation and enjoyed swapping car stories. Forever loved, Rick will be dearly missed by those who knew him best.

It seems only fitting that Rick’s journey began during a time that was as vibrant as he was. It was the 1950s when James Dean and Marilyn Monroe became household names. While the hit songs of Elvis Presley filled juke boxes in every corner diner, hot new cars like the Chevy Corvette and Ford Thunderbird competed for everyone’s attention and excitement! It was on September 5, 1956 that his parents, Richard and Ruth (Bedient) Havener, were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Rick in San Diego, California.

Growing up, Rick was a typical young man of his generation in many ways. He was raised in the family home alongside his brothers, David, Michael, and Todd. Throughout his childhood, Rick was involved in Cub Scouts, and he discovered his passion for cars at a young age. As his family and friends can attest, from that point onward he learned all he could from car magazines and trade journals, and worked cars into the conversation at any opportunity.

Throughout his life Rick was someone who was always willing to work hard. As a young man, he joined the Army and was stationed in Colorado Springs and worked as a helicopter mechanic. In order to support himself and his loved ones, he began working at General Motors following his time in the military. Rick then went to truck driving school and became an owner-operator for Atlas Van Lines, moving people around the country. This job took him to nearly all of the 50 states; however, it also kept him away from his family much of the time. In order to be closer to his loved ones, Rick settled down back home and opened a body shop restoring classic cars. While cars were always at the forefront of Rick’s life, in 1994 he was in a serious car accident that changed many things, but he never lost his love for his family and cars.

While checking the tires on a car one day, Rick met the woman he would soon marry, Ann. After a bit of Rick’s persistence, the two finally went on a date, beginning their lifelong friendship. Together, Rick and Ann were overjoyed to welcome their daughters, Nicole and Ashley, into their hearts and home. He thrived in his role as a father, and his children were his first priority. Rick would often take Nicole along to the garage when she was a child, so he could spend time with her, while also doing endless work on his Cougar Eliminator or Duster. He loved leaving notes for his daughters at night so that they would see the messages when they woke up, adding characters and sketches to the notes which would bring a smile to their faces in the morning. Rick always loved rock music and would often play his music loudly while driving his semi or working on cars. He and Nicole shared similar tastes in music and attended Elton John and Ozzy Osbourne concerts together. Later in life, he was thrilled to become “Papa” to Lucas, Dylan, Cole, Graham, and Rory. Rick adored his grandchildren and doted on them whenever he could.

Never one to sit still, Rick enjoyed meticulously landscaping around the house. He kept the lawn perfectly mowed and the plant beds carefully pruned, staying on his hands and knees as long as he could withstand using hand trimmers to get it just right. Rick was also known for his artistic talent and had a good eye for design. He loved drawing with his grandchildren. They’d happily watch as his pencil sketched fun characters like The Hulk, the family pet lizard, or other images that sparked the children's interests like cars and dinosaurs. He shared his passion for cars with them as much as he could help them understand, and enjoyed going to classic car shows together with his family. He even rebuilt a ‘66 GTO as it was his father’s favorite car and one he had once owned. Rick had mountains of car parts sitting around the house, the basement, and the pole barn, all meticulously cleaned and labeled. No matter the circumstance, he loved driving and burning rubber, and had a knack for remembering the car any actor drove on T.V. shows or movies. Over the years Rick also had 3 Chihuahua’s: Matilda, Carlie, and Lucy that were very special to him.

When reflecting on the life of Rick Havener, it is easy to see both his unwavering strength and his unconditional love for his family. He was grateful for all that he had and always appreciated the simple joys in life, especially a Sweetwater’s Donut. A loving father and friend, Rick was proud to watch his family tree grow to include so many loved ones. He went above and beyond to care for others, and he was well known for his insatiable zest for life. Though he will be deeply missed, Rick leaves behind a priceless legacy that his loved ones will be proud to carry on in his footsteps.

Rick Havener of Kalamazoo, age 66, died on February 14, 2023. Rick was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother, Todd Havener. Surviving are his best friend and mother of his children, Ann; daughters: Nicole (Chris) McClees and Ashley (Mike) Nappo; grandchildren: Lucas, Dylan, Cole, Graham, and Rory; brothers: David (Donna) Havener and Michael (Carol) Havener; and many nieces and nephews.

A Life Story Service will be held on Tuesday (FEB 21) at 11 AM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories can be shared. Visit Rick’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to SPCA of Southwest Michigan.