Robert J. "Bob" Betzel, 79, of Sheffield Township, passed away Friday, January 11, 2019, Bob's six and a half year battle with cancer ended in a draw. He departed peacefully at home surrounded by his family. He was born October 18, 1939, to Louis and Stella (nee Poweska) Betzel.
Bob graduated from Clearview High School in 1957 and worked on the family farm, eventually building Betzel's Greenhouse in 1959. He married his life partner and beloved wife, Karen (nee Johnson) in 1961.
Bob helped innumerable people throughout his life. He was always ready to lend an ear or tell a joke or solve a problem, no matter how large. Mr. Fred Rogers was talking about Bob Betzel when he advised children to look for the Helpers in times of crisis. Many of his lifelong friends were met when they worked for Bob at the greenhouses or on the farm. Bob had a gift for growing things. He grew tomatoes and cucumbers in his greenhouse, transitioning to bedding plants, hanging baskets and foliage that was shipped to chain stores in all the Great Lakes states. Outdoors, he grew the best sweet corn anywhere, period. Bob raised soybeans, wheat and many types of vegetables that his children helped him harvest and pack, often under duress. In his later years, he enjoyed filling his cooler with produce from Blooming Grove and County Line Produce Auctions and he made many friends there.
Despite the hours he spent toiling on the farm, Bob had many hobbies. He played guitar, especially when a big party was starting in a few hours. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and was recognized for his trapshooting skills. He kept bees, collected "certain ethnic" jokes and his CB radio handle was "Tomato Picker". He was adept at black and white photography and had a darkroom in his basement, in which he developed and printed many photographs of family and friends. He loved fireworks and threw huge 4th of July parties with near-professional fireworks displays. He loved dogs and always had at least one faithful companion that rode everywhere in his truck with him. He enjoyed riding his horse, Bree, down the abandoned railroad tracks. While his roots were firmly planted in Ohio, he found true happiness spending time with his family and friends at his cabin and then his home in Michigan. His greatest source of pride was the family and friends that he grew throughout his life.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Karen (nee Johnson); daughters, Jackie Betzel-Conrad, Karalynne (Mark) Vitas, Kristin (Jesse) Cortez; son, John Betzel (Ruth Keller); adopted daughter Cecilia Peasley; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; brother, Louis Jr. (Gail, deceased); sister, Nancy (Ron) Miller; several cousins, many nieces and nephews, as well as his extended, blended family and he will be missed by his riding partner and loyal dog, Bear.
He was preceded in death by his father, Louis Betzel, in 2004 and his mother, Stella Betzel (nee Poweska) in 1981.
The family would like to thank the doctors and staff at UH Seidman/Mercy Health-Cancer Center in Elyria, especially Dr. Belagodu Kantharaj, for providing compassionate care to Bob throughout his journey.
His family will receive friends Saturday, January 19, 2019 from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. at Christ Lutheran Church, 4501 Clinton Avenue, Lorain, followed by a memorial service at 2 P.M. The Reverend Laurie Miller, Pastor will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.
Funeral arrangements are by Richard J. Reidy Funeral Home, 1783 East 31st Street, South Lorain (440) 277-8164.
For expressions of sympathy and further information please see, Reidyfuneral.com