Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Robert Mabie

October 4, 1935 - October 12, 2022
Portage, MI



Tuesday, October 18, 2022
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Please join us for a visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.

Driving Directions


Wednesday, October 19, 2022
11:00 AM EDT
Kalamazoo First Assembly of God
5550 Oakland Dr.
Portage, MI 49024
(269) 329-1977
Web Site


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.

World Vision
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way, WA 98063
1 (888) 511-6548

Protect kids from the global hunger crisis.

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


A genuine people person who lived life to the fullest, Robert V. Mabie (Bob) centered each day on a faithful relationship with Jesus Christ. Bob inspired those who knew him how to live a heart-centered life. He welcomed every person as a gift and loved to be in the presence of others. He lived an authentic life and met people as they were. His warm hello and comforting smile, coupled with his laid back style, ensured one never had to guess what they would get with him. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bob will long be remembered and greatly missed by those he dearly loved.

Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, 1935 gave birth to many celebrated firsts. While reeling in the heartache of Black Sunday, our nation's 20.1% unemployment rate and the gathering war clouds as Germany passed the Nuremberg laws, Americans found much hope in Amelia Earhart's' first solo Pacific flight, the inventions of parking meters, fluorescent tubes for light, and the game of Monopoly, as well as the first Orange Bowl, first Pacific Airmail delivery, and the first technicolor film; Mickey Mouse. In the small town of Cedar Springs, Michigan, Vern and Margaret (Critchett) Mabie held much hope for the future as they celebrated the birth of their son, Robert, on October 4.

An only son, Bob grew up in the company of his older sister Patricia and younger sister Alice. He and Alice were particularly close and enjoyed a lifelong friendship. A natural musician, Bob learned piano and could play by ear. He was an active member of the choir and band, and he developed an appreciation for music that lasted his entire life. Growing up in town, it was always a treat for Bob to go to his cousins' house in the country. Though his mother would make him dress in proper clothes, his cousins made sure he enjoyed the country life and "dirtied him up" before he went back home.

He volunteered for military duty, proudly serving his country in the US Army after graduating from State High in Kalamazoo.

Bob met and married Darleen Breithaupt, of Traverse City, Michigan. Through this union Bob gained nine younger brothers and sisters whom he adored. Together Bob and Darleen had two children, Alan and Sharilyn, and they were the center of Bob's world. He was a gentle and kind dad who often told them, "Go ask your mom!" His daughter fondly remembers him singing “Scarlet Ribbons” and Civil War classics to her as she fell asleep. His son recalls fun times of fishing and shooting bow and arrows in the front yard. The family also enjoyed many trips to Traverse City and to the family cottage in Petoskey. Bob's casual approach to life along with his unwavering faith proved deeply comforting, as did his steadfast love and support.

Bob found his vocation in selling insurance for New York Life and Midland National. He truly loved his job, as his love for people made it a natural fit. He had a gift for talking to anyone, anywhere, at any time. He embodied the adage, “Do something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

An active member of Kalamazoo First Assembly, Bob was well known as a man who was gifted to love. He never hesitated to give what he could in service to others, always with a smile on his face and joy in his heart.

Following Darleen's death in 1998, Bob found love again with Joyce Irish. The couple married in April of 2000 and enjoyed many years together fishing, traveling, and spending time with family. Their favorite place to fish was at the dam on Elk Lake. Bob loved the beauty and serenity of the lake and dreamed of living in the area. He loved spending time with his family and treasured every moment he shared with his grandchildren. You could often find Bob and Joyce with the grandchildren creating memories such as riding go-carts, making cookies, eating ice cream (right before dinner), and playing games.

In the absence of Bob's steadfast companionship may we find comfort in our many treasured memories of him. As we live each day with faith, hope, and love, we keep his spirit alive and inspire others as he inspired us.

Robert Mabie died at his home on Wednesday, October 12, 2022. Members of his family include his wife, Joyce; 2 children: Alan (Christine) Mabie and Sharilyn (Brian) Parsons; 3 grandchildren: Cole (Conner), Amber, and Tasia; Joyce's daughter: Susan (Scott) Martin; step-grandson: Colton (Chandler) and their daughter, Charlie. He was preceded in death by his father and mother: Vern E. and Margaret Critchett, his loving first wife of 36 years; Darleen, and his 2 sisters: Patricia Kooistra and Alice Neidlinger.

Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Tuesday, October 18, from 4-6 pm at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, October 19, at 11 am, at the Kalamazoo First Assembly of God, 5550 Oakland Drive. Burial will be at Mt. Ever-Rest Memorial Park. Visit Bob's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to World Vision.