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John Arlon BuelkeJohn died suddenly on July 6, 2021. He was born June 8, 1947, in Plymouth, Wis., and his date of birth coincidentally matched his sister Karen’s birth-date three years prior. He was one of five children born to Eleanor and John Buelke. The family eventually moved to Kalamazoo, and John wound up staying in the area for his entire life. He is survived by his beloved wife Margie, his two sons Robert and Brian, two sisters Karen Parrish and Barb Dircks, and a host of nieces and nephews on both sides of the family. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Jeanne. John grew up during time when soapbox derbies, baseball, and riding bikes until the streetlights came on ruled the day. His neighborhood was made up of large families who met for marbles and kick-the-can; these were formative activities and John continued to love playing and staying active his entire life. John attended University High through middle school and went on to graduate from Kalamazoo Central High School. He then graduated from Western Michigan University where he obtained a teaching degree (with additional majors in mathematics, history, and religion) before the military decided they had different plans for him. Once drafted, he was stationed at Fort Knox, in Louisville, Ken. and served as a Chaplain’s Assistant. While in Louisville he met his future wife Margie Baker (Buelke.) After completing his service John and Margie returned to Kalamazoo where John began teaching at South Junior High School. He continued teaching for the remainder of his career and eventually retired from Mattawan High School. John was a husband and father, a brother and uncle, a son, and a friend to many with whom he played racquetball and pickleball. He loved reading mysteries and was a farmer at heart, as well as a traveler, veteran, builder, and lover of all things he grew in his garden. His roles evolved as age, interests, and hobbies increased, though he continued to tend to the community garden he started at the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church in Schoolcraft, Mich. He passed from a sudden heart attack while doing what he loved, surprising everyone and leaving many with broken hearts. In accordance with the family's wishes cremation has taken place and a memorial gathering has been scheduled for Thursday, July 15, 2021, at the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church, 342 North Grand Street, Schoolcraft, MI 49087 with a time of visiting from 11:00 a.m. until the time of service at 12:00 noon. While visiting John’s webpage at www.avinkcremation.com please sign the guestbook by lighting a candle, and/or sharing a memory with the family. The family is being assisted by the Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society, 129 S. Grand St. in Schoolcraft. 269 679-5622 In lieu of flowers, friends and family are invited to honor John by supporting South County Community Services – and perhaps by planting a rose bush in their garden.
Margie, Bobby and Brian, We are so sad to read about John in the South County News paper today. We will never forget how we really enjoyed being neighbors with you on 10th street when the boys were all young. We have great memories that we will cherish forever:heartpulse: You are all in our thoughts and prayers, Rick and Jackie Hrab
jackie Aug 4 2021 8:27 PM
I am so saddened to hear this news. John was always a steady presence in my life even though we didnt connect too often. We would always pass at the athletic club where he would be eagerly heading to play a game of racquetball. It makes me happy to know that he lived his life fully and with ambition to the end. Rest In Peace, friend.
Terisa Pollock Jul 17 2021 5:36 PM
So sorry to hear about John's passing.
Lo Linn Jul 17 2021 5:16 PM
Back row from right are myself, John and another good friend, Jack Stuart. We shared a lot of good times back then. Sorry to hear of John's passing. Rest in peace, bud.
Ron Dundon Jul 15 2021 11:08 AM
1 file added to the album Memories Album
Ron Dundon Jul 15 2021 11:04 AM
John was my sister Margies husband and I have known him all of my adult life and for a good number of my adolescent years. While I never got to benefit from John in his chosen profession as a school teacher; I have always appreciated his knowledge, interests and capacity for stimulating conversations. John had a wealth of stored information and facts about an endless list of topics and was always interested in a lively discussion. He was a great friend and family member who never hesitated to say that he loved his extended family like his own. An avid gardener, sportsman & sports fan, reading enthusiast and church & community volunteer, John had an inquisitive mind that was also interested in the thoughts, ideas & opinions that others had. There was never a conversation with John over the phone or in person where he did not ask me about Debbie, my children and their families. And best of all, John was a caring husband and father who always had his family foremost in mind. Rest in peace John, you will be missed. I love you brother. Ron
Ronald Baker Jul 14 2021 8:16 AM
We're lost for words. John meant a lot to us all. We will miss seeing and talking with him at church and around town. I'm sure John was one of Gods chosen ones here on this earth. A math teacher, and a gardener. Special caring man! With love, Jim and Annalee Henning.
jim henning Jul 13 2021 4:10 PM
I remember as a very kind man and teacher. I had him for math in my Freshman year of High School. I remember that he let me go to the library so I could have a quiet place to work. He was always nice to me. During class he sometimes got off topic and talked about history and his time in the service. I loved when he told me those stories. He was a wonderful teacher. Sabrina Miller MHS class of 2004.
Sabrina Miller Jul 13 2021 1:24 PM
A teacher that didn't just teach for the money but really cared whether you passed and succeeded. Definitely a great teacher and caring person. If you was this caring at teaching I could only imagine the rest of your life. An Angel that was taken to go on to do more work for the Lord. Prayers to his family.
Lisa Jul 13 2021 11:48 AM
Mr Buelky.... OMG... One of my favorite teachera if all times. Algebra A and Algebra B. 9 th an 19th grade.. Last room on the right of the long hallway.... A great teacher a great person and funny as all get out. You will be missed my friend from all of us students colleagues and especially your FAMILY.... God bless
Kathy Shank Ford Jul 11 2021 8:38 PM