July 4th, 1961 while our Nation celebrated its birthday with magnificent firework displays, Anthony and Yolanda Donetz of Clifton, New Jersey rushed to the hospital to give birth to a firecracker of their own, Andrew Michael Donetz.
Andrew Michael Donetz, 58, passed away unexpectedly November 27, 2019 at his home in Kalamazoo MI. He was preceded in death by his "Mommy" and Dad, Yolanda and Anthony Donetz. He is survived by his faithful companion Rusty who never left his side; sister, Ramona "Monie" (Jim) VandenBerg; brother, Anthony "Tony" (Pam) Donetz, Jr.; nieces and nephews, Abby and Paige VandenBerg, Anthony (Kaye) III, Michael, Julia, Tommy, Peter, Alyssa, and Christine Donetz; great-nephew, Matthew Donetz; many aunts, uncles, and cousins; as well as his Maple Hill Auto Group family.
Andrew, AKA Andy, BeeBop, and Uncle A, lived in Clifton, New Jersey most of his life. He briefly attended St. Michaels Byzantine Catholic school before transferring to the Clifton Public School Learning Disability Program. Despite his learning disabilities Andrew was proud to graduate from Passaic County Vo-Tech in 1979. He swam for the Special Olympics where he was a medal recipient. Andrew worked for Keystone Camera and IDS in Clifton as a dye technician. He was a member of a billiards league where he enjoyed socializing with his special friends.
In 2006 Andrew and his parents relocated to Hillsborough, NJ to be closer to his older brother Tony and his family. While in Hillsborough he worked for Lowes. A loyal son, he cared for his parents taking them grocery shopping, to the doctor and to mom's weekly hair appointments. It was a happy time for Andrew.
Spring of 2008 would be a changing point in Andrews life. Devastated by the sudden passing of his parents within a month of each other, he then lost his lower leg to an aggressive gangrene infection and was diagnosed with Diabetes. When well enough to travel, he moved to Kalamazoo MI to live with his sister Monie and her family. The remainder of 2008 proved to be a lesson to all who knew Andrew. With a goal to walk and get back to work, Andrew taught what it was to be determined, to accept challenges without complaining and to overcome adversity all while maintaining an attitude of thankfulness.
Andrew was able then to be rehired at Lowes in Kalamazoo where he was nationally recognized for his perseverance and comeback. Andrew later worked for Maple Hill Auto Group as a Car Wash Attendant. He loved his Maple Hill Family. He took his job seriously and always took pride in his work. He loved teasing his brother-in-law, the owner of being a "Slacker" and had affectionate terms for many of his co-workers such as "Turkey" "Slacker," and often told them to "Stop Busting My Chops". He loved being called "The Creeper" because he was so light on his foot. He volunteered for the SPCA of Southwest Michigan and The ARC Community Advocates at the Rib Fest.
Many humorous events happened around Andrew. One in particular that sums up Andrew and his life happened at "New Year's Fest." While being dropped off in busy traffic, outside of the Kalamazoo Library, everyone piled out of the car, except for Andrew. After being asked repeatedly to hurry he turned to say, while laughing with tears in his eyes, "My leg fell off!" With his leg now laying in the gutter, family and strangers came to help him, as they always did. He put his leg back on and continued the night laughing the whole time, but none worse for wear. No embarrassment, just proud of who he was and who he was with. That was how he lived his life; happy, laughing, and surrounded by people inspired by his persistence, independence, and heart.
The family will greet friends Friday, December 6, 2019 from 5-7:00 PM at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 3926 S 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009, where a memorial service will take place Saturday, December 7 at 11:00 AM with Pastor Michael VandenBerg officiating.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later time in New Jersey where Andrew will be laid to rest with his parents.
In lieu of flowers donations in Andrews memory may be made to charities which were close to his heart; SPCA of Southwest Michigan or The Arc Community Advocates.
Please visit Andy's personalized online guestbook at https://www.langelands.com.
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