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Life Story / Obituary
Hardworking, kind, and contented, Roger Szczepanski lived a life rich in family and friends. Roger lived an active life dedicated to caring for others. He was proud of his Polish heritage and was never one to complain. A happy man, Roger welcomed each day as a gift to treasure. Cherished husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Roger will long be remembered and so very missed by those he so dearly loved.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as John and Clara Szczepanski welcomed their son Roger to their family in the summer of 1933.
Roger and his family lived in an upper apartment near American Seating, and his grandmother lived below them. Sadly, Roger's two sisters both passed away as children. Roger attended St. Adalbert School and enjoyed playing baseball and all sports. While in high school, he played on the football team for a time but was kicked off because of his attitude.
After graduating from Catholic Central High School, Roger took on a few part-time jobs. He did not enjoy these jobs and decided to enlist in the military in 1952. During his service, he was part of the 10th Air Squad and was stationed in Germany as well as a few other places. He was a member of many military baseball teams, including the Spartans.
Following his military discharge and safely returning home in 1956, Roger married his first wife. Though the marriage ended after 24 years, it gifted Roger seven beautiful children. Matthew, Terry, Susan, Debbie, Patricia, Kathy, and Karen were the centers of his world, and he was proud to be their father.
Roger worked for the United States Postal Service from 1953 to 1993. He was known to be very friendly and knew many of the people on his mail route that covered Hall and Division. He was proud of his Polish heritage and attended the 5th Street Polish Club. He also reffed high school baseball and even reffed the team at Creston High School, his second wife's alma mater.
In 1980, Roger's family hosted a birthday party for him. His best man at his first wedding and his wife invited their neighbor, Judy Marcellus, to the party. After this fateful meeting, the pair began dating. Judy was previously married, had two children, and was not interested in marriage, so the couple dated for 13 years.
Roger became a father figure for Judy's two children, Eric and Charamy, and treated them as if they were his own. He coached Eric's and his granddaughter's Little League teams. When Roger wasn't working, he and Judy spent time at Judy's trailer on Wolf Lake and traveled to Florida. They also enjoyed going out to eat at Lannings' Restaurant in Grand Rapids.
In January of 1993, Roger and Judy married and celebrated with a weekend in Traverse City. He retired from the post office that same year and began working at Spartan stores as a merchandiser. He'd start his work days at 5:30 am so he could golf in the afternoon. Sometimes even playing three times a week, he'd hit the greens at Lincoln and Gracewil country clubs. After having surgery, Roger was forced to retire permanently and give up the game of golf.
Following retirement, Roger enjoyed listening to oldies, taking care of the family pool, and sharing a big part of his grandchildren's lives. A lifelong University of Michigan football fan, every year, he and Judy, who was a Michigan State University fan, would watch the big game at a friend's house. As a result of health issues, Roger moved to American House for a time before moving to Allendale Nursing Home.
As we celebrate Roger's life, may we find much comfort in our many treasured memories and the honor of carrying his legacy forward. Whenever we confidently meet life's challenges without complaint, cheer on our loved one's endeavors, choose kindness and hope, and give thanks for the day, we keep Roger's spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired each of us.
Roger Szczepanski, age 90, passed away peacefully on January 4, 2024, with his wife by his side. Roger was born in the summer of 1933 to the late John and Clara (Wiktorowski) Szczepanski. Roger is preceded in death by his parents, his daughter Karen (Rick) Lewis, and his sisters. He is survived by his wife and friend, Judy Marcellus; his children, Matthew (Dawn) Szczepanski, Terry (Pam) Szczepanski, Susan (Don) Johnson, Debbie (Dave) Tronovich, Patricia (Terry) Sandee, Kathy (Bob) Kramer, Charamy (Thad) Cleary, Eric Marcellus (and special granddaughter, Aaleyah), and his brother. Roger was a grandfather to sixteen, great-grandfather to twenty-nine, and great-great-grandfather to one.
A service to remember Roger will be held on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, starting at 1:00 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Alt and Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW 49504. Friends are invited to meet with Roger's family for an hour prior to the service. Memorials in Roger's honor may be given to the Grand Rapids Veterans Home. To leave a memory or sign the guest book, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com