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Life Story / Obituary
Seemingly reserved and even a little shy, not a soul would imagine Beverly was capable of frequent and infamous pranks. We will never forget her unique mix of quiet and fun-loving livelihood. She embraced a classy sense of style, yet she was always willing to share a good laugh. Her family was most important to her and Beverly treasured all the little ways she could make them feel loved.
Beverly began her life at the start of a new decade. The 1930’s brought about big changes in America. Instead of thinking about where one might find the next alcoholic beverage, the majority of the people worried about where they were going to get their next meal. The United States was growing larger every day, for the population of the country had grown to 122 million people.
In the same year Beverly's life began, the country faced one of the worst droughts in recorded history, which created many issues, including horrific dust storms and farming hardships. The Depression worsened and unemployment was on the rise. Thankfully, the cartoon, Betty Boop, made her debut, creating some much-needed entertainment. This was also the year in which the invention of sticky tape became a reality.
Meanwhile in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Milford and Beulah (Sanford) Sanborn were anticipating the newest addition to their family. Jean, Newman, Donald, and Mary Alice helped welcome their little sister into the world on July 21, 1930. They named her Beverly. The Sanborns later completed their family with their youngest daughter, Ellen.
Beverly and Ellen were lovingly called the "little girls" of the family while growing up. They spent their childhood on the east side of Kalamazoo, where they dearly loved and cared for their family pets. Beverly was quite a shy girl, and she maintained this trait throughout her life.
Her siblings, however, brought out the prankster in Beverly. There was always a prank or joke in the mix of their home, and she was often heavily involved if not the instigator. She’d hurriedly rouse Mary Alice telling her it was time to wake up even though it was not. On many occasions, Beverly would search her older sisters' closets for the perfect outfit. Once, she even frosted a six-pack of beer to look like a cake for her sister's birthday, creating quite a roar of laughter when she tried to cut the cake.
All in all, the kids got along well. Beverly was very close with her sisters as well as Babs Pocernic, who remained a steadfast best friend for 76 years! The entire family looked forward to Sunday drives to their aunt's farm. The drive was nice, but her animals especially provided great entertainment. At home, hours of Monopoly were the norm, and sometimes, they would preserve an ongoing game and slide it under the sofa for continuation the following day. Beverly loved to play the game even as an adult, and she would always use the shoe as her game piece because she loved to shop for shoes.
Beverly graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School. From there, she began working as a bookkeeper at Woolworth's. In time, she found love and entered a new phase of life: motherhood. She stayed at home for many years to help raise her children and keep the house organized. Once the children were older, she began working as an administrative assistant for Checker Motors.
Fate provided the opportunity for Beverly to meet Walter at Checker Motors. Their friendship grew into something wonderful from the start, with one exception. On their first date, Walter suffered from a gallbladder attack, which forced them to head to the Emergency Room to have it removed. She helped nurse him back to good health, and their relationship continued to turn into a story of true love. Beverly adored Walter, as he was a big teddy bear with an incredibly kind heart. On August 30, 1970, Walter and Beverly united their families together in marriage. They both loved all of their children as if they were their own. Their love story was genuine and beautiful, filled with great joy and laughter.
They enjoyed hosting all the family gatherings - including several surprise birthday parties. Christmas was always special in their home too, as they loved to share gifts with others. When their children were older, they planned a trip to Florida for just the two of them over the Christmas holiday. They missed the kids so much that they came home earlier than anticipated. As time went on, they were able to enjoy many cruises together and other trips together.
Beverly cherished her black Miniature Poodles. When she was in her 30's, she rescued her first poodle named Shawn. From there, she fell in love with the breed. Walter bought her the next poodle named Misty. Finally, they adopted Shadow, who followed them everywhere, and Bogie, who was named after her favorite actor. Beverly enjoyed grooming them and was often seen walking them around the Winchell neighborhood.
Aside from her dogs, Beverly participated in many pastimes. She was practically born with a green thumb, as her gardens were meticulous. It was not unusual to see her moving plants from one location to another for better growth. She would perfectly prune them and create neat and tidy landscapes. When the weather turned cold, she liked to work on arts and crafts or bake. She never disappointed visitors, as her cookie jar was always full and often the sound of the lid being placed back on the cookie jar was a sign her children were home.
She was a frequent big winner of BINGO jackpots. She played the local halls, winning often. Once, however, she tried her luck on an Indian Reservation in Florida. She won a big enough jackpot to require a police escort home! Even Walter was a bit nervous about that ride with all that cash.
She won in life for years, enjoying her time with the love of her life, Walter. Sadly, she was forced to say goodbye to him when he passed away in 1997. With the love and support of her family and friends, she found the goodness in life again. With memories of him, she would watch baseball games, knowing everything about the game because of him. She cherished her time with their grandchildren, as they brought her tremendous joy.
Beverly surprised herself when she traveled to Europe with her daughter, Susan. Their adventure took them to London and Paris, and Beverly remarked that she never thought she would travel so far. They also flew to Hawaii together. Beverly and Susan created many great and memorable moments on these trips. Taking in a show at the Kalamazoo Civic, Miller Auditorium, or Farmers Alley Theatre, were a frequent night out. Beverly and Susan particularly enjoyed The Jersey Boys on the London stage.
Sadly, Beverly died peacefully on November 16. 2019. We will remember her for her kind soul and elegant spirit. After 89 years of a full life, we can find comfort in knowing she has found eternal peace.
Beverly was preceded in death by her husband, Walter; 5 siblings: Jean Gustafson, Newman Sanborn, Donald Sanborn, Mary Alice Stinson, and Ellen Clapp; and a stepson: Ronald McDonald. Surviving are her children: James Fletcher, Susan (Richard) Battista, and Scott Fletcher; grandchildren: Leigh (Jehan) Fletcher, Jessica Fletcher, and Keith Fletcher; great-granddaughter: Aveen Fletcher; stepchildren: Barbara Howard, Phyllis VanDussen, Lee McDonald; and many nieces and nephews. Interment has taken place at Mt. Ever Rest Memorial Park South. Services will be held at 11 AM on Monday (NOV 25) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo, 269-375-2900 with a reception following in the Life Story Center where food and refreshments will be served. Visit Beverly's personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may read her Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Animal Rescue Project.