Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Roy Betzler

August 29, 1944 - February 21, 2019
Portage, MI



Thursday, February 28, 2019
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks. A Time of Sharing will be held at 8 PM.

Driving Directions

Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, March 1, 2019
10:00 AM EST
St. Augustine Cathedral
542 West Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 345-5147

Burial will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery followed by a lunch in the Cathedral Center.

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.

Catholic Charities Diocese of Kalamazoo
1819 Gull Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 381-1234

The Beagle Open - Gary Betzler Memorial Scholarship
C/O 6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(616) 460-4160

This memorial fund was started by the Betzler family in honor of Roy's brother Gary, when he passed away. The Beagle Open benefits local Boy Scouts in southeast Michigan to attend camp.

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

Life Story / Obituary


With deep compassion, warm hospitality, and a commitment to excellence, Roy Betzler lived a life rich in family and service to others. A great listener, Roy had a gift for knowing how to interject just the right humor into the seriousness of daily life. He could quickly read people and meet folks right where they were with encouragement, kindness, and comfort. A simple man, though Roy enjoyed nice things, he did not live lavishly. He was a perfectionist who took pride in providing the highest caliber of service, never missing a critical detail. Though his expectations were high, he also understood the importance of balance; he worked hard, and he played hard. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend, and servant to his community, Roy’s passion and good care will long live in the hearts and lives of those he loved.

As the nation looked toward peace in 1944 after WWII, Roy Aloysius and Edna Leota (Gable) Betzler Sr. celebrated their own hopes for the future as they welcomed their son Roy into their hearts and home on August 29 in Highland Park, Michigan. At the time of Roy’s birth, his father was serving in the Army Air Corp during WWII. After the war, Roy Sr. provided for the family by working in the automotive department at Montgomery Ward’s in Detroit where he sold tires and automotive supplies. Roy’s mother was a homemaker who lovingly raised the kids and created a secure and supportive home where the boys knew the deep comfort of being unconditionally loved. The Betzler home was a multi-generational home. Edna’s parents and Roy Sr.’s mother lived with them while Roy was a baby. Additionally, Roy’s parents rented out two of their bedrooms to supplement the family’s income for a time.

The oldest of the Betzler boys, Roy enjoyed the good company of his younger brothers. Twins Gary and Larry, Ralph, Thomas, and Dennis provided plenty of opportunities for Roy to hone his natural leadership qualities over the years. Many an hour of playtime was spent with his brothers and friends playing sandlot baseball and football, or hockey in the street or on the frozen pond. The family also enjoyed many summer vacations at Houghton Lake. Unfortunately, in 1952, the family suffered a deep loss when Tommy died of polio. In 1963, the family suffered an additional loss when Roy Sr. died. With signature resolve, Edna began working at K-Mart to provide for her herself and her boys.

Like many young men of the time, Roy had a paper route for the Detroit Shopping News and the Detroit Times. He found a taste for White Castle hamburgers, stopping after his route, which fueled a lifetime addiction to them. After graduating from Detroit Cathedral High School in 1962, Roy started college in computer programming. For a time, he took a job at the local hospital, but quickly realized he wanted more interaction with people and decided to pursue a career as a Funeral Director, graduating from Wayne State University.

While attending college, Roy met his first wife and mother of his four children, Bruce, Trisha, Scott, and Laura. He doted over Laura, nicknaming her “Curly” and “Little Butt.” He shared his love of gambling, cars, golfing and fishing with his boys. He enjoyed watching his girls swim meets, college tours and house hunting with Trisha, and teaching Laura to drive a stick shift. He was always deeply grateful for his greatest gift, his children.

Roy purchased Donovan Funeral Home in Kalamazoo in 1975 and began the family business. With the struggle of being a small business owner, he joked to his daughter, Trisha, that she’d be taking over the business and could turn it into a roller rink or pizza parlor. In 1989, Scott joined the business followed by Bruce in 1991. Roy was tremendously proud to have his sons at his side. With continued growth, Thompson Funeral Home in Paw Paw was purchased. While embracing traditional family values, Roy was also a pioneer and influenced change in the funeral industry.

After an introduction through a mutual friend, Roy met Rosalie Buck. Very much interested in courting her, Roy found ways to make conversation, eventually leading to their first date at Great Lakes Shipping Company, igniting a romance that led to him proposing on Valentine’s Day. The pair were married on May 3, 1997. Throughout their marriage, Roy loved showering Rose with his affections. He doted on his “Little Rosalie”, making sure they made the most of their days together. Every night since the day they were married, Roy would ask Rosalie to scratch his back; without fail she honored his request and scratched his back for 23 years.

A man of many interests with a perpetual drive to be of service, Roy was rarely idle. He practiced and explored his faith as a member of St. Augustine Cathedral, the Knights of Columbus, and several service clubs. He served as Past President of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association and enjoyed his relationships with his colleagues. With much happiness in having his sons succeed him in the family business, Roy retired in 2008.

Roy’s special niche was planning trips. He enjoyed finding new places and painstakingly researched locations, rental options, and things to do. Over the years, Roy and Rose took in the splendor of Alaska, the entertainment of Las Vegas, and traveled to most of the states visiting family and friends. They sailed the oceans on many cruises and explored Europe. Despite Roy’s careful planning, they once arrived in Austria on a Sunday only to find everything closed! While traveling they fell in love with Palm Springs which became their winter getaway. He loved telling the story of it snowing in the California mountains and people making snowmen in the back of their trucks and driving them through Palm Springs until they melted.

Roy enjoyed RV camping on Crooked Lake in Kalkaska where he dreamed of building a log cabin, but the lake dried up. He took many fishing trips to Canada, where he especially enjoyed a good blackberry brandy. Though Roy would also go hunting with friends, the trips were far more about eating, drinking and playing cards. They also purchased a pontoon boat, named the “R & R’s”, and spent many days on local lakes where Roy would fish and Rose would read and sunbathe.

In retirement, Roy spent a year building a custom O-Gauge train set in his basement, paying meticulous attention to the landscaping and details. Other hobbies included golf and gambling. He became very good at poker, playing twice a week at home with friends. He simply loved the ambiance of the casinos and was known to be very social, staying up all night to enjoy the atmosphere. Trips to Las Vegas became an annual highlight with Roy and his brothers. Monday’s at Four Winds Hartford was his regular hangout where he fed the slots and video poker machines.

Car shows and car cruises with his brothers evolved into gambling trips, great fun, shenanigans, and trips to the burger joint. Roy enjoyed his 1950 blue Ford Convertible with his brothers and lifelong friend, Matt Lee. Roy could also be found watching Fox News or Tom Brokaw, as well as the Detroit Red Wings or Tigers, while snacking on peanut M & M’s.

Roy’s greatest joy was his family. He was a proud father and grandfather who often expressed his love and gratitude and would do anything for his grandchildren. He loved spending time with family, reminiscing, and sharing stories of growing up in the best of times with the best of brothers. Roy said it best, “For years on special occasions, mom and dad would go all out and buy a $5.99 bottle of Mogen David. Every year we continue the tradition in our family. Every time someone passes on, we toast to them.”

Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Roy’s steadfast presence. While we mourn the loss of our beloved patriarch and friend, may we be comforted to know that we carry the best of his legacy in our hearts and lives. With each line we cast, witty response and prank we pull, compassionate listening we offer, and comfort we provide, we celebrate Roy’s beautiful, heart-centered life. In doing so, we keep his spirit alive and inspire others as he so inspired us.

Roy Aloysius Betzler Jr., age 74, died unexpectedly on Thursday, February 21, 2019, in Palm Springs, CA. Roy was born on August 29, 1944, in Highland Park, the son of Roy Sr. and Edna (Gable) Betzler. Roy was preceded in death by his brothers: Tommy, Gary, Ralph, and Larry as well as Rose's son, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Robert "Bobby" Hunt, whom Roy was especially fond of. Surviving are his wife of 23 years, Rosalie; Roy’s children: Bruce (Sharon) Betzler, Trisha (Ron) Pemberton, Scott (Julie) Betzler and Laura Betzler; 12 grandchildren; 2 great-granddaughters; brother, Dennis “Bucky” (Jo) Betzler; Rosalie’s children: Susan Howell; Ryan (Dawn) Wilson and Brett Wilson (Logan Ambrose) and many nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks from 4-8 PM on Thursday (Feb. 28) at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900, where a Time of Sharing will be held at 8 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 AM on Friday (Mar. 1) at St. Augustine Cathedral. Burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery followed by a lunch in the Cathedral Center. Please visit Roy’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo of him and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Beagleopen.org or Catholic Charities Diocese of Kalamazoo.