Friday, November 16, 2018
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Deborah Pettit would agree that she was one of the kindest people around. She lived a life of faith and her journey exemplified what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Deborah took her roles as a wife and mother to heart, but she just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother later in life. She was meticulous in many ways, and just ask her family about her competitive nature when it came to playing her favorite games. Although she will be deeply missed, Deborah leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on, but with the end of the war in 1945 we were making the shift to being a nation at peace one again. It was during this transitional time that Amos and Isabelle (Little) Reger were filled with great joy as they announced the birth of their baby girl they named Deborah on January 21, 1949, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The youngest of four children, she enjoyed the time they spent in the family's summer home at Lake Cora in Paw Paw alongside her brother, Dean, and her sisters, DeAnne and Donna. Lake Cora was always a place she loved, and she took her kids there at times. She even tried to buy the family cottage there later in life. To support their family, Deborah’s father worked as an foreman at Allied Paper Company while her mother was a foster parent who frequently volunteered at her church.
In many ways Deborah was a young girl of her generation. She was Valedictorian of her Freshman class at Millwood Jr High and gave her ninth grade graduation speech. She went on to attend Loy Norrix High School where she was a drum majorette, and she later earned her associate’s degree from Grand Rapids Community College. As a teen she modeled for Jacobson’s Department Store, but since they couldn’t pay Deborah in cash they paid her in clothes which she was thrilled with! While in high school, she also worked as a nanny, preparing meals, completing laundry, and keeping the household running smoothly. She also was the salad girl at Gull Lake View.
Not to be forgotten during Deborah’s years in high school was her introduction to the man of her dreams. His name was Steven Pettit, and they met through a mutual friend when she was 16. From that point forward, Deborah became the most important person in Steve’s life. She was an integral part of him finishing school as he wasn’t necessarily interested in school. Deborah also played an important role in Steve gaining confidence in meeting and speaking to people. In fact, he later went on to become a wonderful public speaker as was needed in his job. As young sweethearts, Deborah and Steve loved to go on motorcycle rides together and share a pizza from Joe Cecola’s. They even carved their initials in the bench in Kindleberger Park in Parchment where he asked her to marry him. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Deborah and Steve were married on November 11, 1967 at United General Baptist Church in Cooper Township. Together they welcomed two children, Stacia and Steven, into their hearts and home. For their 50th anniversary, Steve surprised Deborah by shopping around for house numbers from Belgium, Germany, and France to make the date of their wedding. Deborah and Steve could communicate just with their eyes, and others always knew what an effective eye-roll from Deborah meant.
There was never anything that was more important to Deborah than her family. Since Steve's work took him to various places, their family experienced what they called, “Adventures in Moving.” When the family lived south of Chicago, they frequented the museums and aquariums there. Any trip always involved packing a cooler with lunches and snacks rather than spending too much on restaurants. When they went on overnight trips Deborah regularly asked to view the hotel room in advance to make sure the cleaning was done to her standards. More than once she took advantage of “100% satisfaction guarantee” policies when something didn’t meet her standards. Deborah drove a hard bargain and always got what she paid for. It has also been said that she had a coupon for just about anything. Around home she ran a tight ship, and cleanliness was next to godliness in her book. If Deborah’s kids were ever bored on weekends, they would be busy scrubbing baseboards. There was no cleaning professional who would ever meet her standards. As someone who didn’t fall for things, Deborah’s kids knew they would never pull one over on her. While she was particular about things, she wasn’t above letting her kids call in sick to school if they were behind on their homework or just to play a game of Trivial Pursuit together. However, she did demand the kids got all A’s. Later in life Deborah treasured becoming a grandmother, and she had a very close relationship with her grandchildren who affectionately called her Nana. As someone who was always there for others in any way, many of her grandchildren’s friends also called her Nana.
Someone who enjoyed being busy, Deborah was a woman of many interests. She was happiest while serving others, and one of the most meaningful ways she did this was through her position with the Red Cross. Deborah worked tirelessly for the families of veterans, doing whatever it took to cut through the red tape whether it was to bring a serviceman home for a birth or if a soldier was killed in action. She poured her heart and soul into these families, touching so many in the process. Deborah’s faith in God was unwavering, and she was a longtime member of Kalamazoo South Side Church of God. Deborah was fiercely competitive, especially with her sister, and she would not be outdone at Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly. She never tired of playing Trivial Pursuit and also played Boggle for hours on end. Deborah collected antiques and loved all kinds of music including Barbara Streisand, Kenny G, and Jim Brickman. Her theme song became “Crazy” while traveling to the hospital and back as she blared the music in her car and sang loudly with her daughter.
Through the life she lived each day, Deborah Pettit touched countless others in such a significant way. She was there to listen and always had the best advice, and she was always honest. Deborah was known for doing things on her own time, which means that she was always late, and everyone knew not to call her unless they had time to chat. Happiest while serving others, she was an inspiration to all who were near. Deborah will never be forgotten.
While we cannot physically be with her here on earth, she would love to see you again! Just follow this Romans Road Map to Heaven: Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9&10. God Bless You!
Deborah Pettit, age 69, died on November 12, 2018. Surviving are her husband, Steven; 2 children: Stacia (Carl) Dortch and Steven Pettit; 4 grandchildren: Kimberly, Seth, Monica and Steven who all knew her as Nana; 1 brother Dean (Nancy) Reger; 1 sister Donna DeLobel; and many special nieces and nephews. Deborah was preceded in death by her parents and her sister DeAnne Vining. Visit with family and friends while sharing refreshments on Friday from 5-7 p.m. at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Services will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Cross Community Church of the Nazarene, 5625 Oakland Dr. with a luncheon following the service. Burial will take place at Blackman Cemetery. Please visit Deborah’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.