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Life Story / Obituary
Clara Duhan was a loving wife and an exceptional mother and grandmother. She lived her life fully by caring for her special family. Always ensuring they were well taken care of, she was known to keep a spotless home and iron everything right down to their underwear! Her warm spirit made her an everlasting friend to many special people over the years. She truly loved to socialize and anytime she was surrounded by laughter and conversation her heart was content. Deeply loved, there is no doubt that Clara will be missed by her many special friends and loved ones.
Reflecting on the 1920s, it was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge. The media was focused on jazz music and celebrities, and at the brink of what would be known as the Roaring Twenties, Frank and Johanna (Koens) Drydyk welcomed home their newborn daughter, Clara, on June 16, 1921, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born into what became historically known as the Greatest Generation, her birth brought great joy into the hearts of her loving parents.
Growing up on the east side of Kalamazoo, Clara lived a typical childhood of the times. Her mother was a homemaker and her father worked as a mason. She and her older brother, Marinus shared many memorable moments during their growing years. Raised with a strong foundation of faith, Clara graduated with the Class of 1939 where she was known for her outgoing personality. Eager to make her way in the world, she worked at the State Theater before transferring to the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment company which was one of the fastest growing paper mill company’s in the region.
Clara’s career path took many turns over the course of her lifetime. While working at KVP, she met the man that would change the course of her life forever, John Duhan! Although she was a few years older, the two of them hit it off right from the start. Eager to spend the rest of their lives together, the happy couple joined in marriage on August 31, 1954, at St. Augustine Church. Settling down in Paw Paw, her career was derailed when they welcomed home their one and only son, Robert.
Clara immensely loved her roles as a wife and mother. She enjoyed baking and cooking and did laundry nearly every day. Her main focus became her family until the time her son, Bob was in junior high and she stepped back into the workforce. She landed positions with Sears and the Gilmore company before her final position as a clerk at the K-Mart in Kalamazoo. When Bob was older and she and John became empty nesters, they returned home from work and shared a nightly ritual of sharing a Stroh's longneck or an Old Milwaukee together. Active and outgoing, Clara played on a bowling league and enjoyed entertaining family and friends. She and John were content to sit in the front yard or enjoy a pontoon ride at their cottage on Gun Lake. They never took a trip unless it was to visit family in the east Chicago area. As a matter of fact, their first vacation was in 1988 when they visited Florida. They were so enamored with the area they purchased a place of their very own in the beautiful Bradenton area. She and John wintered in Florida for many years where they enjoyed their 2 pm happy hours. Living a life of simple pleasures, they cherished taking in new sights and visited the magical Busch Gardens nearly every Sunday. Another favorite spot was the pristine Anna Maria Island where they enjoyed countless sunsets. With comfortable weather, Clara was able to continue a favorite pastime of strolling through the local Flea Markets in search of a good deal or bargain. Many times she would land on a special treasure to bring home to decorate their lovely home.
Although she was a fantastic mother, Clara was overjoyed when she was blessed with her two wonderful grandchildren. They spent many of their summers back in Kalamazoo hanging out at the pool at Knollwood Apartments only to take breaks to visit or to pick up some Wendy’s or McDonald’s. She often entertained them by playing their favorite games and almost always changed the rules as they played! She wanted nothing more than the very best for them both. Whenever she had the opportunity, she was sure to share in their special occasions and celebrations as well as any of their school events. There was no doubt that she loved them without reserve.
Frugal and resourceful, Clara spent a good portion of her time living comfortably at home at peace with her surroundings. She never wanted for much. Content to read novels and recite her Rosary almost daily, Clara modeled a life of selflessly giving so much of herself to others. Clara desired to live a long and happy life and that she did. May her loved ones hold her special memories close to their hearts now and forevermore.
Clara Duhan, age, 97, of Kalamazoo, Michigan passed away on May 13, 2019. Clara was preceded in death by her loving husband, John Duhan in 2009 and a brother, Marinus Drydyk. Surviving are a son, Robert J. (Jane) Duhan; two grandchildren: Julia (David) Trowbridge and Jack Duhan; sister-in-law, Lois Duhan, and several special nieces and nephews. Cremation will take place. Mass of Christian Burial will take place Saturday, June 22, 2019, 11 AM at St. Mary’s Church in Paw Paw with visitation beginning at 10 AM. Burial at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Paw Paw. The family would like to thank the staff of Park Village Pines and Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan for their loving care. Please visit Clara’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Park Village Pines or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.