Kathryn Betts, 64

All who knew Kathryn Betts would agree that her heart was as big as the sky is blue. She offered love freely and without condition to all who were within her reach. Being surrounded by her family that grew to include the children and grandchildren she treasured brought her the greatest joy she had ever known. She was selfless when it came to her family as she put them first and foremost whether she was preparing a favorite meal, thoughtfully making a blanket, or attending a sporting event with her grandchildren. Kathryn was deeply loved and will be forever missed by those too numerous to count.

The decade of the 1950s was one of the most colorful times in our nation’s history. Elvis Presley took the music world by storm, James Dean made young girls swoon while on the silver screen, and with television shows like Father Knows Best the way we saw the American family was forever changed. It was just as this exciting decade was dawning that Kathryn was welcomed into the world on March 15, 1950, in Kalamazoo, Michigan to parents Wencher and Leona (Thomas) Kellogg. She was actually a twin and was one of 16 children as her mother remarried and had additional children with her new husband. Kathryn was raised in the family home alongside several of her siblings including her twin sister, Kathleen. She attended Portage and Schoolcraft schools where she was a cheerleader. Their family raised their own chickens, and everyone in the family was responsible for their upkeep. As a result, Kathryn never did like chicken.

Life was forever changed for Kathryn when she met a man named Jerry Franklin KIrby through a friend when he was home on leave. They later married, and together they were blessed with the births of two children, Jerry Jr. “Little Jerry” and Marie. Kathryn and Jerry were married for 19 years.

Kathryn found love again in a man named Ray Betts. At the time she had been working with his daughter at a tanning salon in Three Rivers, and over time they fell deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Kathryn and Ray were married in August of 1991.

There was nothing Kathryn loved more than being with her family. When her children were younger she loved taking them to a hotel to spend the night once a month, which was such a special treat. While there it was certainly something to see when Kathryn went and jumped into the hot tub, which was something she loved to do. She also loved going to the movies. Kathryn’s family appreciated her fantastic cooking skills with her scalloped potatoes, enchiladas, and macaroni and cheese being among their favorite dishes. When it was someone’s birthday she always made the birthday person feel so special by preparing whatever their favorite foods were. As grandchildren arrived later in life, Kathryn couldn’t have been happier, and she was blessed with six grandchildren altogether. No matter what they were doing she loved being with her grandchildren. Kathryn enjoyed taking her granddaughters shopping, and she was also known for taking them to sporting events as well.

Throughout her life Kathryn was a woman of many interests. She did enjoy going to hotels, and although she only went to Las Vegas on one occasion she had always wanted to return some day. During her younger years Kathryn collected bird figurines, and she treasured the companionship of her shih tzu, Sarge. When it came to music she enjoyed classic country and music from Johnny Cash in addition to classic hymns such as “Amazing Grace” and “The Old Rugged Cross.” When she could, Kathryn always loved getting out for a fun-filled ride on a jet ski. More recently, she got into scrapbooking and making fleece blankets for her grandchildren.

Although she could be a sit stubborn at times, it was only when Kathryn Betts felt strongly about something as she was a passionate woman of many interests and experiences. She has been described as a loving woman with a very good heart and a devotion to her family that was unmatched. Kathryn was never one to worry about building wealth or accumulating possessions, rather, she was focused on fully embracing the days she was given. She will be deeply missed and forever cherished by those too numerous to count.

Kathryn Betts, of Constantine, died on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. Kathryn’s family includes her husband, Ray Betts; two children: Jerry Franklin (Heather) Kirby Jr, of Three Rivers and Marie (Ray) Pierce, of Mendon; stepdaughter: Missy (Tim) Lake, of Petoskey; six grandchildren; twin sister: Kathleen Simpson, of Dowagiac; siblings: Bob & Val Carten of Ionia, Doug & Bonnie Kellogg of Marcellus, Kathleen Simpson of Dowagiac, Betty Kellogg of Kalamazoo,and Berry & Angel Bly of Vicksburg. She is preceded in death by her brother, Richard Kellogg and sister, Gloria Kellogg. Please visit Kathryn’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can find updated service information, sign her guestbook, share a story and/or photo.

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