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Lyle Playter

June 5, 1928 - May 31, 2019
Grand Rapids, MI

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Visitation

Wednesday, June 5, 2019
10:00 AM EDT
Holy Spirit Parish
2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Web Site

Service

Wednesday, June 5, 2019
11:00 AM EDT
Holy Spirit Parish
2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Web Site

Contributions


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.

American Cancer Society, W. Michigan Area Service Ctr.
129 Jefferson Avenue SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 364-6121
Driving Directions
Web Site

Faith Hospice
2100 Raybrook Drive SE, Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 235-5113
Driving Directions
Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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Born in a time of plenty and raised during a time of tremendous challenge and much change, Lyle Hazen “Yogi” Playter lived a life rich in family and service to others. Generous, loving, and kind, Lyle was a man to be admired. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, he met life’s challenges with humble confidence and embraced his good fortune with much appreciation. While he will be sadly missed, Lyle’s legacy will continue to live on in the hearts and lives of those he loved most.

1928 continued to ride the decade’s roaring wave of peace, prosperity, and hope. The nation celebrated the recent inventions of Penicillin, the iron lung, bubble gum, and the Yo-Yo, as well as Charles Lindbergh’s Congressional Medal of Honor and Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. As the wave of sweeping social and economic growth rapidly increased nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the hearts of Hazen & Bernice (Muma) Playter as they welcomed their son Lyle into their family on June 5th.

Growing up at 730 Eastern SE in Grand Rapids, Michigan during the 30s and 40s, Lyle enjoyed a childhood rooted in family values. While his father worked as a firefighter for the city of Grand Rapids, his mother was a homemaker. Along with his older sister Fern and older brother Bud, Lyle was raised with many traditions and strong connections to their parents’ English ancestry. Lyle was very close to his siblings, and the family created many wonderful memories at their cottage on Green Lake.

A natural tinkerer, Lyle had a knack for fixing things and relished in a challenge. When not trying to figure out the latest project, he enjoyed fishing, hunting, running, and riding his bike to Green Lake. During his high school years, he played halfback on the football team. Though he took two years off from his high school studies, he quickly re-enrolled when his brother Bud returned from the war and told him to "get back to school." He graduated from Grand Rapids South High School with the class of1948.

Lyle proudly enlisted in the US Air Force in 1951. After completing his basic military training at a boot camp in Texas, he was stationed at Tempelhof Air Force Base in Berlin, Germany from 1951-1954. While stationed there, he had the good fortune of meeting his wife Karin on a blind date. Karin was an interpreter on the base. After dating for two years, the happy couple was married by a Catholic priest in a small ceremony at the base’s chapel, on January 2, 1954. They began their marriage traveling by Jeep through West Germany. Completing his service as a Staff Sargent, Lyle was ready to return with his bride to West Michigan.

Soon, he and Karin made their home at 3017 Tuell NW, where they were blessed to welcome their son Steve in 1955 and daughter Christina in 1956. Lyle was a proud father who was driven to be a good provider for his family. An excellent father he doled out punishment fairly and supported his children in all their endeavors. He was loving and kind man who never hesitated to volunteer his time and talents to help others.

Not only was it important for him to teach his children the values of hard work, sacrifice, and service, he also modeled the values of resourcefulness and perseverance. A master tinkerer, Lyle loved working in his garage on a variety of projects. He never bought anything new as he much preferred to buy something used and enjoy refurbishing it. Whether rebuilding old cars or repairing a small appliance, Lyle relished in breathing new life into seemingly lifeless objects. No project was too big, and no challenge was too great for Lyle. Over the years he masterfully transformed many old cars and boats including a 1934 Hot Rod and a 1955 Chris Craft boat.

Not only was Lyle a hard worker who enjoyed a good challenge, but he was also a man who enjoyed the simple things in life like traveling with his family. They traveled to Florida every February, and in 1965, 1972, and 1995 they returned to Germany. Closer to home, Lyle often took to the waters casting his line and fishing for the ever elusive lunker. Detective stories, McDonald's hamburgers, and a good Chinese buffet were always sure to put a smile on Lyle’s face.

In 1958, Lyle began his career as a firefighter for the city of Grand Rapids. Serving on Squad 1 at the LaGrave Street Station for many years, Lyle was on the rescue team for 20 years and earned the rank of Lieutenant. In 1975, he was selected as Firefighter of the Year, and in 1985 he retired as Captain of Truck 1 at the Leonard Street Station. Lyle was very well liked and respected in fire service; a good cook, he often cooked for the crew at the firehouse.

Upon retirement, Lyle shocked the world when he bought a brand-new travel trailer! For many years he and Karin enjoyed traveling to Florida and across the country. Lyle loved sharing retirement with Karin. Whether spending time at their home on Spider Lake near Traverse City, wintering in Florida, traveling to Italy or taking cruises to Alaska, the Mediterranean, and Panama, life was good.

It is hard to imagine life in the absence of Lyle's steadfast company. And while he will be ever-so missed, his legacy of service and devotion to family will long live in the hearts of those who knew him best. Whether enjoying a McDonald’s hamburger, vacationing to Florida, completing a difficult project, or enjoying one another’s company, Lyle’s family will find comfort in their favorite memories of a man who lived and loved so well.

Lyle “Yogi” Playter of Grand Rapids, MI, Age 90, passed away peacefully at home on May 31, 2019. Lyle is survived by his wife of 65 years, Karin; son, Steve (Linda) Playter; daughter, Christina (Dan) Niedzwiecki; sister, Fran Giuffra; sister-in-law, Orma Playter; grandchildren, Brooke, Lisa, and Vicki; 8 great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Hazen and Bernice Playter; and brother, Glen “Bud” Playter. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday, June 5 at 11 AM at Holy Spirit Parish, 2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW where friends may visit with family beginning at 10 AM. Memorials may be made to Faith Hospice or American Cancer Society. Please visit Lyle's personal web page to read more of his life story, leave a message or condolence at www.heritagelifestory.com.

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