Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Zack Bower

May 30, 2000 - June 30, 2021
Kalamazoo, MI


Life Story Visitation

Friday, July 9, 2021
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Paw Paw Location
60900 Michigan 40
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-3870

Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.

Driving Directions


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
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Zack Bower lived life on the edge as a free spirit and had the ability to make anyone laugh uncontrollably. With eyes blue as the ocean, Zack was an easy person to love and had an infectious smile. Riding dirt bikes and quads, Zack enjoyed anything that got his adrenaline pumping; he filled his days with as many fun activities as possible. Gone too soon, Zack leaves behind endless memories and will forever be remembered by his family and friends.

The 2000s were the decade of the New Millennia. Many new technology advances were expected to be made. Cell phones were gaining popularity and began to be a consumer staple. Popular shows such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Friends, and ER entertained people from coast to coast. For parents Jeffrey Bower and Nicole VanderMolen, May 30, 2000 became an extra special day as they welcomed their son, Zack, into the world. His beautiful blue eyes instantly captured the hearts of everyone.

Zack’s sense of adventure started young. As a toddler, his father put him on his first dirt bike. Zack promptly rode it into the side of the garage! Despite this little crash, Zack continued to ride dirt bikes his whole life. He also enjoyed sports, playing Rocket football and little league baseball. Zack was close with his cousins growing up. If he was with them and it was quiet, you started to worry. All of them were little dare devils spending their time making ramps from a wood pile, even after being told not to because it wasn’t safe. Given the opportunity, Zack would spend every waking minute outside as a kid. Even in the winter, no matter how cold, Zack would build snowmen taller than a person or dig caves in the snowplow piles before finally coming inside, frozen as a popsicle.

Zack had a special connection with his Grandpa Ron, who called Zack Roughneck. He and Zack would go for drives around town showing off his cornstalks and telling jokes to each other. As Zack’s passion for dirt bikes grew, he enjoyed wrenching on them in his free time. Once, he stripped and re-did the wiring on his own bike. There was also a dirt bike that the family owned, but it didn’t work; Zack was the only one who could get the bike running again. He even participated with his dad in a dirt bike race in Lawton that went through the vineyards.

While living with his roommate, Zack was introduced to a contractor. The contractor invited Zack to come along with him to a job site, and after that he began his career in construction. Always staying focused on the task at hand, Zack enjoyed the manual labor of installing drywall. He especially enjoyed seeing the fruits of his labors.

Always close with his uncle and cousins, Zack loved to make them all laugh. Often, he would do tricks to keep them entertained; one could say Zack was the goofball of the family and if food was involved, Zack was sure to be there! He especially loved chicken on the grill, Papa’s homemade pickles, and French Toast. Anytime Zack started making something himself though, he’d invariably become distracted with something else on TV, burning his French Toast in the process. Holidays were a special time, Christmas and Halloween particularly. Once, Zack dressed as Dracula even dying his hair to look the part. There was just one small problem…he couldn’t wash the dye out after!

In his spare time Zack loved to fish for bass and bluegill, and he was on a bowling league. Always the jokester, Zack could throw a mean boomerang, but somehow ended up hitting himself in the head. He also enjoyed flying RC airplanes and kites, although he would simply let the kite go when he got tired and it would fly off into the sky. Lighting off fireworks was another favorite pastime since Zack enjoyed anything he could ignite, making the Fourth of July an exciting time.

A mother’s love for her son is something that can never be put into words. Zack had an incredibly special relationship with his mother, Nikki. He displayed a protective personality, and always made sure to watch out for his mom. Zack was such an easy person to love, and although he didn’t always like to follow the rules, he was just a big marshmallow. He went through life determined to make people laugh. Whether with his jokes, poking fun at himself, or even falling down the stairs, Zack new how to enrich the lives of people around him and make the most of any situation. Famous dare devil Evel Knievel once said, “I decided to fly through the air and live in the sunlight and enjoy life as much as I could.” Zack Bower certainly soared high on his dirt bikes and loved life, living fearlessly on the edge.

Zackrey Bower, age 21, died unexpectedly on June 30, 2021. Zack was born May 30, 2000 in Kalamazoo, the son of Jeffrey Bower and Nicole VanderMolen. Zack was preceded in death by his grandmothers: Linda Bower and Pamela Owens. Surviving are his parents: Jeff (Maria) Bower and Nikki VanderMolen; siblings: Austin “Woody” Lahr and Justine (Kenny) Dickens; and grandfathers: Steven Bower and Ron VanderMolen.

Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Friday (JULY 9) from 4-7 PM at Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40 Hwy, Paw Paw (269) 657-3870. Private burial at Hamilton Township Cemetery. Visit Zack’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook.