Pritchard, John, age 64 of Delton passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 3, 2017 at The Springs in Oshtemo. John was born October 22, 1952 to Roy “Bill” Pritchard Jr. and Gertrude (DeMink) Pritchard. Preceding John in death were his father, his son Roy, and brother Kenneth. John is survived by his mother of Kalamazoo, brother Thomas Pritchard of Lawton, sister Janis (Tim) Beurmann of Portage, sister-in-law Keri Pritchard of Delton and their children; Marcie (Mike) O’Brien, Jason (Janelle) Pritchard, Andy (Brittany) Blank, Justine Pritchard (Brian Zack), Danielle (Justin) Northrup, former wife Lynn, her daughters Shannon (Chris) Keizer and Krista Barnes (Ethan Higuera) several great nieces, nephews, and step grandchildren. Cremation has taken place and in order to honor John’s wishes, there will be no service or visitation.
John enjoyed the outdoors, and of course a good old fashioned good time. He had many a story to tell. One of John’s jobs required him to install skylights atop high rise buildings from the East Coast to the West, including Alaska and Hawaii. This job and his no fear of heights, made it possible for John to obtain his pilot’s license--courtesy of his first wife Debbie. John was a proud member of the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local Union #7.
He met his second wife, Lynn Barnes in California. They resided in Gobles on Brandywine Lake with her two daughters, and their son Roy was born in 1987. As time went by, the physical labor had taken a toll and he was no longer able to work. John, Lynn and Roy moved to Bradenton, FL. Not long after the move, in 2004, their son Roy was tragically killed in a car accident. After Roy’s death, John spent his time between Florida and Michigan. His health continued to decline and he returned back to Michigan and bought a place on Wilkinson Lake in Delton, where he loved to cook, can tomatoes, enjoyed fishing, and flying his remote control plane.
As a Diabetic, walking became increasingly difficult, the nerve pain and circulation continued to worsen. Throughout his life, he had numerous visits to the hospital. One hospital stay was for Cat Scratch Fever that almost took his life. John seemed, however, to have had nine lives. We would get a smile out of him when we would say ‘God won’t take him and the Devil doesn’t want him’, or he was too stubborn to give up.
The last couple years were tough. John suffered a stroke which caused his left side to be paralyzed, Vascular Dementia, and his right leg to be amputated. This past year and a half John resided at The Springs at Bronson Place, a Full Skilled Nursing facility. The days and nights were very long as his mobility was limited to say the least.
Most of us know that John spent much of his life with a grumpy disposition. But somewhere deep inside was a big heart. He was a good looking, charming man with a great sense of humor and sheepish grin. Eventually, Hospice of Southwest Michigan began working closely with the caregivers at the nursing home, hiring some extra help so he had someone with him all the time. One of the Hospice Chaplains anointed him with oil and prayed with John, and it seemed as if a heavy burden had been lifted. He appeared to be peaceful, perhaps for the first time in his life.
During John’s final hours, we shared the songs ‘Imagine’ by Mercy Me, ‘Tears in Heaven’ by Eric Clapton –songs that were played at Roy’s funeral in 2004. The final song we played for him was Precious Lord by Thomas Dorsey;
Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on, to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home
When my way grows drear, precious Lord linger near, when my life is almost gone, hear my cry, hear my call, hold my hand, lest I fall, take my hand precious Lord, lead me home.
When the darkness appears and the night draws near and the day is past and gone, at the river I stand, guide my feet, hold my hand, take my hand precious Lord lead me home…..
We held his hands, we told him we loved him, it was time for his new body, no more pain and suffering, no more anger, and to be reunited with loved ones. He finally accepted God’s love, and he is home at last.