Friday, August 21, 2020
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.
Mass of Christian Burial
Saturday, August 22, 2020
11:00 AM EDT
St. Mary Catholic Church
209 S Brown Street
Paw Paw, MI 4979
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.
Hartfold Public Schools Foundation
115 School Street
Hartford, MI 49057
Ascension Borgess Foundation
1521 Gull Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
St. Mary Church
209 South Brown Street
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Fresh Perspective Home Care
7127 S Westnedge Suite 5A
Portage, MI 49002
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a wonderful sense of humor and an unwavering commitment to the education of young people, Robert “Bob” Pobuda lived a life rich in family, faith, and service to his community. Fully embodying the principles and morals he believed, Bob proved a powerful role model for all who were blessed to know him. He welcomed each day as a gift and valued every person he met. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend, Bob will long be remembered and ever so missed.
The year 1928 continued to ride the decade’s roaring wave of peace, prosperity, and hope. The nation celebrated the recent inventions of Penicillin, the iron lung, bubble gum, and the Yo-Yo, as well as Charles Lindbergh’s Congressional Medal of Honor and Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. As the wave of sweeping social and economic growth rapidly increased, nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the home of John and Anne (Brezina) Pobuda as they welcomed their son, Bob, to their family on November 26.
Born in Chicago, the family moved to Mattawan and then settled in South Haven when he was young. Growing up in South Haven, Bob enjoyed a typical childhood for the times. While his father provided for the family through his work as a butcher, his mother was a homemaker. He enjoyed the companionship of his older sister and brothers, Dorothy, John and George, as well as his younger brother, Don.
A natural athlete, Bob was always into sports. From pick up games with his friends to playing for his school, football, basketball, and baseball were a central part of his youth. A proud graduate of South Haven High School’s class of 1947, Bob was in the inaugural class to be inducted to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
In 1950, Bob was gifted the opportunity of meeting Betty Getman, who would become his wife. Introduced by her cousin, they met at the Crystal Palace, a dance hall in Coloma. Instantly smitten, they quickly became a couple. Betty not only found Bob handsome, but she was also drawn to his great personality. Bob was passionately driven, gregarious, and fun. Committed to his beliefs and willing to work hard to manifest his goals, he also possessed a great sense of humor and an infectious laugh.
After dating for about three years, Bob and Betty exchanged their marriage vows in a wedding ceremony at St. Basil Catholic Church in South Haven on August 8, 1953. Together, Bob and Betty created a loving home for their children, Daniel, Michael, Carol, and Jonathan. The cornerstones of Bob’s parenting were his faith and his passion for education. Whether exploring the outdoors, doing chores around the house, or taking in a football game, Bob always stressed the importance of education. Even vacations were learning-centered opportunities and included trips to Chicago to visit one of their world-class museums or travels to various famous landmarks. As his family grew to include grandchildren, Bob continued the tradition of encouraging learning in every moment and always striving for maximum potential. He cherished his time with his family and had an especially sweet spot in his heart for the girls in his life. Betty, Carol, his granddaughters, and his great-granddaughters were his heart’s delight.
Bob graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree in education, a Master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan and an Educational Specialist degree from Michigan State University. He furthered his education even more with Doctoral work at Wayne State University. Bob had a long and prosperous career serving students all across the state. His first job was as an elementary teacher in Milford and then moved to Benton Harbor. When he moved into administration, he first worked in Plainwell as the principal at Starr and Gilkey Elementary schools. After serving as a principal in Albion, he moved into upper-administration at Warren Consolidated and Flushing Community Schools. Eventually, Bob returned to West Michigan when he became the superintendent of Hartford Public Schools. He served as superintendent from 1978 until his retirement in 1994.
Bob’s career was built on the firm foundation of his love and devotion to young people. He was committed to affording every student the opportunities and support they needed to achieve their greatest potential. With a clear understanding that co-curricular opportunities were just as important as academics, Bob was equally proud of the sports and band programs his districts provided.
A lifelong learner, Bob was a man of many interests. He was active his entire life and always looking for ways to grow and be of service. He loved to read, and his home library was full of History books. He enjoyed watching old Westerns and war stories on TV and had a nightly ritual of watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. He and Betty enjoyed playing Bridge. Bob also loved food and exploring new tastes and combinations. A man of high morals, Bob consciously nurtured his faith within the support of his parish family at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Paw Paw. He was also very civic-minded and sought opportunities to serve his community. He was a long time member of the Lions Club and later served on the hospital boards at the Lakeland Hospital in Watervliet and Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo.
After retiring, Bob and Betty moved to their home on Heritage Glen Golf Course in Paw Paw, where Bob enjoyed many golf-centered days. Bob supported each of his family member’s endeavors and took great pride in cheering them on from the stands. He attended as many of their games and special events as he could and always reflected their greatness. Without a doubt, Bob’s greatest joy was his family. In each of their eyes, he could easily see the reflections of his legacy and his greatest hopes for the future.
Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Bob’s steadfast presence. May our many sweet memories of this great man afford deep comfort. May we also find comfort in carrying his inspirational legacy forward. With each moment we freely give of our time and talents, learning opportunity we embrace, and laughter we inspire, we keep Bob’s spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Robert Pobuda, age 91, of Paw Paw, passed away on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Kalamazoo. Members of his family include his wife, Betty, his 3 children: Daniel (Sue) Pobuda, Carol (Gregory) Schinske, and Jonathan (Emelyn) Pobuda, 8 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son Michael and 4 siblings.
Cremation has taken place. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Friday (AUG 21) from 5-7 PM at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11AM on Saturday (AUG 22) at St. Mary Catholic Church, 209 S. Brown St, Paw Paw. Archbishop John Vlazny and Fr. Joseph Xavier officiating. Please visit Robert’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read his life story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Hartford Public Schools Foundation, Ascension Borgess Foundation, St. Mary Catholic Church of Paw Paw or Fresh Perspective Home Care.