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John Michael Kuzma, Jr.

August 23, 1955 ~ September 17, 2021 (age 66)

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Well, I’m here.  You know, Heaven.  At 66, I got here a lot sooner than I had planned but then I remembered, it was never my plan, it was always His.

And it was really easy to get in, too!  Because I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior a long time ago, He met me and welcomed me home.  None of this St. Peter checking you in at the Pearly Gates stuff.

Right after I arrived, I was met by Dad.  He got here a number of years before me as did Gran, Grandma, Great Aunts Liz and Alice, Uncles Frank, Steve, Bud….well, you get the idea.  So many of my relatives and friends are here there’s not enough space to list them all, even on the Internet!

It was funny, too.  As soon as I got here, Dad handed me a fishing pole and buckets to collect raspberries and he insisted we get started right away.  The early bird gets the worm you know.

And I’m glad I’m busy here because if I slow down, I begin to realize how much I already miss everyone I left behind. 

I can only imagine, Mom, how hard it was to say good-bye to a child.  Just know that I’m at peace now, pain-free AND they have an unlimited supply of Mountain Dew and strawberry milkshakes here.  And Dad can’t wait to hold you in his arms again.  We both miss you but please take your time getting here.  You still have so much to offer your family and no doubt, the folks at the Regency hunger for your banana nut bread!

To my siblings Joe (& Becky), Drew, Mark (& Sandra) and especially Kris (& Erik) Zigman….I am so proud to have been your older brother.  It wasn’t always easy being “the man of the house” after dad passed so young, but I always tried to set a good example. Looking back, I’ve always been amazed at how each of you are so different from each other and yet you share a bond that can never be broken.  Kris, I truly believe that old adage that mom and dad kept trying until they got it right.  You’re my only sister and what a special sister you were to me.  I wish you and your brothers the very best that life has to offer. 

It’ll be nice watching over my nephews and nieces Alex, Nik (Kuzma), Erika, Rachel, Casey and Joey (Zigman) from up here, too.  My hope for each of you is that you have the confidence to always know your self-worth, the strength to chase your dreams and the ability to know how deeply loved you are.

And while I’ve never been a fan of cliches, I’ve saved the best for last.  Amber and Kylene (& Greg) McCombs….you have no idea how hard it was for me to leave you so soon.  I had so much more that I wanted to share with you two, and with Coen and Makayla.

Amber, I am so proud of the woman you have become. Strong, independent, adventurous, the Queen of America and more recently, the Commander of Maui! I know much to your dismay, not everyone recognizes your (ahem….overly indulgent) titles, but I always did and will.  I will miss our travel adventures together and your ridiculously detailed itineraries. There are so many places in the world I would have enjoyed visiting with you and your sister, but I will enjoy watching over you while you continue your travels. I’m mostly disappointed that my National Park Passport will now have fewer stamps than yours. I will miss our California visits – both the planned ones and the ones in which I caught you by surprise. The Padres were never a great baseball team, but I will miss our annual tradition of attending Opening Day games and eating crab cakes afterwards. I hope you know it was never about baseball but rather just spending time with you.  That’s what it all was for. 

And Kylene, I don’t even know where to begin.  I am so proud of you and the woman you have become.  Wife, mother, teacher…you play so many roles in life, and you live each so well.  It truly breaks my heart that I won’t be with you as you and Greg live out your lives.  I will especially miss our Friday night dinners and the post-dinner entertainment.  There was no greater feeling than having Coen and Makayla sit on my head!  Without a doubt, my greatest joys were being a father and then a grandfather.

Well, I have to go now.  Heaven is such an amazing place but for whatever reason, they ration internet time.  (I could teach them so much about data management!)  Until we meet again in Heaven, know that I love you all so much.

Oh, I almost forgot.  I’ve always been a private person but I understand there will be a Celebration of Life at some point at my church home East Richland Evangelical Friends Church.  I appreciate that gesture, but may you never forget to always celebrate the life our Heavenly Father has given to each of you.

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