Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared
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Ann McClendon

September 6, 1935 - June 20, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI

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Family Visitation

Friday, August 9, 2024
3:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900
Driving Directions

Life Story Service

Friday, August 9, 2024
4:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

A Repas will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.

Driving Directions

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Kairos Dwelling
2945 Gull Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
(269) 381-3688
Driving Directions
Web Site

Alzheimer's Association - Michigan Great Lakes Chapter
200 Turwill Ln Suite 6
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
(269) 342-1482
Driving Directions
Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ambati
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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Ann McClendon was a beautiful person and easy to love. She lived her life selflessly giving so much of her time and energy to her family and community. Never one to hold a grudge, she modeled the virtues of accepting and understanding others. Ann was a loving daughter, a nurturing mother, devoted grandmother and proud great-grandmother. She will be dearly missed by her adoring family and many special friends.

The Great Migration was in full swing in 1935, bringing thousands of African Americans to northern cities in the U.S. At the same time the Great Depression ushered in soaring unemployment that left countless families destitute. Despite these tough times, baby Ann’s arrival on September 6, 1935, in Chicago Illinois, was a blessing to Andrew and Lorraine Bell.

During her childhood in the small town of Sturgis, Ann’s father, along with her Uncle George, operated a cleaning business in addition to working several side jobs to support his growing family. It was her father who taught Ann to approach every day with a smile and optimism. Her mother was a homemaker and visionary parent who planted the seeds of Ann’s wide range of interests and activities. Summers in Chicago, visiting relatives, were also filled with concerts, plays, poetry readings, dance recitals, ballet, and museum tours. The peak of the season was the annual visit to Riverview Amusement Park.

Always ready for new challenges, Ann played the sousaphone (a tuba-like instrument) in the Sturgis High School marching band, the school’s Brass Quartet and Solo Ensemble and band tours in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Her years as a musician brought her many warm and fond memories to share with those close to her. Despite the rules of the 1940s and 50s, she was not deterred from performing at her best and enjoying herself along the way.

In 1953, when Ann graduated from Sturgis High School, doors were just beginning to open for women and African Americans in the workforce. Moving along with the changing times, Ann began her work-life as an office clerk and secretary. She worked at the county and federal levels of government, as well as short stints in the health care and manufacturing industries. She took advantage of a training course in Personnel Management and built a 15+ year career as a Personnel Management Specialist. Ann was proud of her work in Veterans Affairs and the departments of Defense and Agriculture. She felt it was a privilege to help veterans and government employees.

In 1959 Ann’s life-course changed when she became a wife and a mother. Despite the marriage’s short life, Ann had enough love and family support to raise five children as a single parent. She was fiercely supportive of both boys and all three girls. Continuing her parents’ legacy, Ann exposed her children to the arts, swimming, bowling and travel. The family started with frequent road-trips to Detroit and Chicago. Later destinations included New York, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Virginia, Kansas and Florida. She was the Rebel and raising well-rounded children was her cause.

Ann was an avid bowler and won many trophies and tournament prizes sponsored by her league. She loved baking German chocolate cakes from scratch-they were her specialty. She enjoyed flying to various locations and riding the waves on cruise ships. Roller skating and relaxing anywhere there was water were pastimes she held dear.

A die-hard sports fan, Ann followed the Detroit Lions faithfully through thick and thin. She loved gathering with family and friends to watch college AND professional basketball AND football on television. It was a challenge watching anything else Saturdays through Mondays during either season.

At 75 years old, Ann said good bye to Michigan’s long, cold, grey winters and headed for sunny south Florida. She called the Fort Lauderdale area home for 12 years and fulfilled another life-long dream.

Ann’s sense of humor was one of her most-prized gifts and it will be deeply missed. She could light up a room with her beautiful smile and infectious laughter. Her favorite catchphrases always had others laughing out loud. Ann lived her life fully as an easy-going and pleasant person to be around. She was always welcoming and made sure everyone around her felt cherished. There is no doubt that her loving nature and warm spirit is her legacy to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her brother, Clyde Bell; mother, Lorraine (Bell) Brown and father, Andrew Bell. Surviving are her sister, Musette El Mohammed; children: Narda, Sean (Erin), Lorraine, Andrea and Marlon McClendon; grandchildren: Shauntae (Rodney), Andre (Cheryl), David, Andrew, Sam (Jenna), Shatiera (Ivan), Sendolo and Damien; great-grandchildren: Iyana, Diamond, Desmond, Gabriel, Sammy, Selena, D.J., Mya, Silas, Kojo, Zuri, Kwabena, Mekhi and Zion. She is also survived by loving nieces, nephews, cousins and cherished friends.

Family Visitation will be held Friday, August 9, from 3-4 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A Life Story Service will begin at 4 PM. A Repas will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks and stories will be shared. Celebrate Ann’s life online by sharing your favorite stories and photos on her dedicated webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com.

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