Open House and Celebration of Life
Sunday, August 6, 2023
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Tim and Jeannie's house
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Life Story / Obituary
Tim Hamelink held his family in the center of his heart, worked hard to do things the way they should be done, and was adamant about respecting everyone. He could fix anything, and no one ever loved the water more.
1961 was the first year humans traveled to space. During this captivating time, Richard and Nancy Hamelink welcomed their second child, Tim on March 29th. He was born in Kalamazoo and grew up in the family home on Pine Lake.
The lake was an integral part of Tim's formative years. Summer days were filled with hours of playing with his older sister, Cheri, swimming and splashing, and when the waves calmed down, Tim was out fishing with his buddy, Richard Boehm. Tim fell in love with the water before he could ever remember not loving it, and that love stayed with him for the rest of his life.
Both of Tim's parents were incredibly hard workers, Richard was employed at Western Michigan University, and Nancy worked as an accountant, so Tim often went over to his grandma's house, who took good care of him. Tim especially enjoyed listening to the Detroit Tigers game with her while they sipped on root beer floats.
Little did Tim know that his future wife and life partner lived on his lake. Jeannie even had a crush on Tim from the fifth grade, but to Tim she was still just pesky kids. It wasn't until Tim worked at the Mar-Bill Marina at the age of 15 and started working on boats that they truly met, but Tim's high school years at Delton Kellogg were filled with basketball practice with Bill and Rich, games, and marina work. His parents' strong work ethic became his guiding principle. It wasn't until after he graduated in 1979 that Jeannie and Tim started dating.
As a young couple, the two often couldn't be found on dry land. Their free time was devoted to enjoying each other's presence on the serene water. In four years, the two had realized how special the connection was between each other, and on December 4th of 1983, Tim and Jeannie were married.
Together, they brought nine children into their home. When their house was bursting, Tim built an addition. He never called other people to fix things around his house because Tim knew he could do it himself. He preferred to work alone, and his mind operated on a mechanical level, knowing how things worked came as second nature. When Tim put his mind to it, he could fix anything, and he fixed everything.
As a father, Tim lent every morsel of his support to his children. He attended every event they were a part of. As much as he enjoyed his job as a boat mechanic, he always strove for more for his children. Trips to Disney every year were mandatory, and there were also various vacations to Mackinac Island where many great memories were created. Tim cherished every second he had with his family. He encouraged them to spend ample time out on the water with him. As with anything dear to his heart, he wished to shine on others. He taught his children the same strong work ethic his parents imprinted on him, the importance of family, and to always treat others with respect.
Tim had this gentle way of speaking that made those around him feel safe, and he was funny. His sense of humor was unique and true. One didn't need to converse with Tim for a long time to know he was quite a history buff. He liked collecting coins and going to museums. He loved old shows and Westerns, especially Gunsmoke and Bonanza. When it came to football, Tim was a Detroit Lions and Michigan fan.
Tim appreciated films with a good mystery or an intriguing plot, much as his mind could locate and solve technical problems all day long, so it's no surprise his favorite TV show was American Pickers or other treasure-finding mysteries. As far as finding the treasures himself, Tim felt like time vanished when he went out to scour the beach with his metal detector. Tim liked rock music from the 70s and 80s. He didn't have a favorite food, just a favorite appliance—the grill. Anything he could grill he loved, or maybe he just loved to grill. When Tim wasn't in the mood to make food, chili-cheese dogs from the root beer stand always hit the spot, and for his birthday, German Chocolate cake was the essential and unbroken tradition.
In 2018, diagnosed with brain cancer, Tim went in for brain surgery. He then went on disability for the two years following, but Tim never let go of his values. He never stopped being hardworking, family-centered, and respectful. Tim's genuine and caring soul touched the lives of all who knew him, leaving behind a legacy of hard work, love, and cherished memories that will forever inspire those he held dear.
Tim Hamelink, age 62, died on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, at his residence. Members of his family include his wife Jeannie; 9 children: Whitney Hamelink ( Chris Harrington), Erin (Adam) Gavrun, Tim (Lauren Mathis- Hamelink), Kyle (Alexis Etherton), Kimberly (Brian) Cooper, Josh Hamelink (Samantha Holmes), Veronica Hamelink, Carter Hamelink, Drew Hamelink; 6 grandchildren: Alexis, Olivia, Ben, Colin, Julianna, Vivian; his parents Richard and Nancy Hamelink; sister Cheri (Stan) Siwik. He is also survived by 2 lifelong friends Bill Boyle and Richard Boehm who were with him through both the good and tough times.
The family will be hosting an open house at their house to celebrate Tim’s life on Sunday, August 6, 2023, from 1-4 pm. Visit Tim’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.