Tuesday, August 6, 2019
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Paw Paw Location
60900 Michigan 40
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Food and refreshments will be served.
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.
Bub’s Mito Fund
C/O Betzler & Thompson Funeral Home; 60900 M-40
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Balloons are encouraged
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Balloons are encouraged
Life Story / Obituary
There is no doubt that Bubs Cruzan III was a bright light in the lives of many. His infectious smile could light up any room and his will and level of strength to survive were awe inspiring. Born a fighter, he lived his life as a constant reminder that life itself is a gracious gift. In and out of doctor’s offices and hospital visits during his short time, he touched the hearts of each and every person he met. Gone too soon, Bubs will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by the many special people he leaves behind.
2017 will forever be known for its significant change in our nation's history. The Women’s March on Washington, became one of the largest single-day demonstrations in U.S. history, the most controversial United States President was inaugurated, and the nation was hit with three devastating hurricanes that year. When Atlanta Falcon fans were still just getting over the upset of the New England Patriots’ greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, Russell Cruzan Jr. and Michelle Budnik-Nap welcomed home their newborn son, Russell Walter III, on March 8th, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born in a blended family with three older sisters, his birth brought great joy and happiness into their loving home.
Every aspect of his young life had been planned out far before his arrival. His parents and siblings knew everything about him including his name that they had picked out well in advance. What they didn’t know however is that he would arrive a healthy 7 lbs 12 oz and measure 21” and that in the short time they would have him as their son and brother their lives would be changed for the better. His nickname started out as Bubby and quickly evolved into Bubs, a perfect match for his endearing spirit. A few months after his birth, Bubs was diagnosed with Mito DNA, a very rare disease that leaves a cell without any ability to completely burn food and oxygen to generate energy, which is essential for normal cell function. Devastated with the news, his parents leaned on their entire family as well as their close-knit community of friends and neighbors for support.
In a matter of a few short months, his loving parents and siblings learned to move on with a fierce love and compassion for making each and every moment they shared with him a positive memory. When his older siblings, Kerri, Allyanna, and Cadence were playing, they were sure to include him. Bubs grew accustomed to their Barbies and antics offering up his long lasting giggles. He loved watching them play in addition to his fascination with fish tanks. Bubs would often sit mesmerized by the movement in the tank and could sit quietly for long periods of time captivated by the natural habit of the colorful fish. He also loved his special companion, the family dog, Molly who would offer up freely her wet kisses and furry snuggles.
Once Bubs was equipped with his breathing tracheotomy he made a turn for the better. Not having to use every ounce of his energy to breathe, he was able to enjoy many of his favorite pastimes. With the support of his special nurse, Maureen, he learned how to manage his disease and looked forward to their visits together. He celebrated his birthdays with balloons which were his favorite and loved joining in the special singing when it came time to cut the cake!
Bubs was fiercely independent. He wanted nothing more than to join in the fun! He found great joy in dumping out the toys in his bucket usually ending up with him laughing at himself! When his family caught on to the popular song, Baby Shark, he absolutely loved it and worked to perform the hand motions that went along with the lyrics. When he needed some down time or his parents did, he loved to watch his Paw Patrol show as well as Bubble Guppies, The Grinch, and Moana for the happy music! Bubs also loved being read to and his sister, Kerri, never passed up any opportunity to share a favorite book or tell him a story! Bubs loved his weighted blanket to bring him comfort and often climbed into bed with Mommy at night. His parents fondly called him Bat Bubs as he loved to splash in the tub and play with his Daddy. Despite their worries or concern, they are forever grateful for the joy he brought into their daily lives.
This past February he started feeling his best. The family took him on a big trip to Florida where he toured both Disney’s Magical Kingdom and Epcot Theme Park. He was thrilled to meet Mickey Mouse and journey on a slow-moving boat on the Frozen Ever After Ride! He was so excited, he flapped his arms nearly the entire time! He continued his zest for life and was normally a happy and smiley kid. Bubs lived his life fully engaging with the world around him and sharing himself with the family he loved. Sadly, his disease had no cure and he only had a short time to make a difference in this world. Bat Bubs leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories that will surely live on in the hearts of all those who knew and loved him.
Russell “Bubs” Walter Cruzan III, age 2, of Mattawan, Michigan died peacefully at DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids on August 2, 2019. Members of his family include his parents: Russell Cruzan, Jr. and Michelle Budnik-Nap; three sisters: Kerrigan, Allyanna and Cadence; grandparents: Kim Budnik-Nap, Dave Nap, and Dana DeWitt, and Russell and Jacqueline Cruzan, great-grandparents: Cindy, Doug, Marv, Nancy, Joan, Leon, Ron and Deb; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Visit with family and friends from 4-7 PM on Tuesday (August 6th) at Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40, Paw Paw (269) 657-3870 where services will be held Wednesday 11 AM. Cremation will follow. Please visit Bub’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Bub’s Mito Fund.
To see New Channel 3's story on Bub's incredible life please copy the link below into your internet browser and search: