Life Story Service
The family has asked if you have not been vaccinated, please wear a mask if you are planning to attend Jane's Life Story services or reception.
Life Story Reception
Saturday, November 13, 2021
3:00 PM to 4:30 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food, drinks and stories will be shared.
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.
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
314 S Park
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Hardworking, creative, and gifted, Jane Nelson-Holmes lived a life of purpose while holding her loved ones near. She lived to champion others, and by the example she set she encouraged others to be kind, tolerant and patient. Her love for her family was easy to see, and Jane was so blessed to spend the best years of her life with her true love, John. A longtime resident of the community she cherished, she made a career in helping others, yet also gained so much from the people she met along the way. Deeply loved, Jane will be forever missed.
Willis and Helen (Regenfuss) Nelson adopted Jane in 1941. Raised in the family home in Wausau, Wisconsin, she was joined in her family by her younger siblings, Judy and John. Jane’s father was a lumber broker while her mother was a secretary at Newman Catholic High School where Jane would later attend.
After graduating high school in 1959, Jane was eager for all that life had in store. As a strong Catholic, Jane’s mother enticed her to go to the College of Saint Teresa in Winona, Minnesota. There, she was on the literary magazine, and in 1963 she graduated with her BA in English. Jane then continued her education, earning her Master’s Degree in English from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1965.
Jane then went to Michigan State University to work on her Doctoral studies in English Literature, which proved to be a fateful move as it was there that she met the man of her dreams while at a party. His name was John Holmes, and he was a fellow English student. Jane and John began spending more time with one another and soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together they were married on August 15, 1970, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Wausau.
Eager to settle in, the newlyweds moved to Kalamazoo where John received a job at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Jane could not find a position in her field so she started working with the Alcohol Highway Safety Project. She soon found her calling as a counselor and returned to school, this time at Western Michigan University. Jane received her Master’s of Social Work in 1983, and in 1986 she received her family therapy certification through the Northwestern School of Medicine in Chicago.
Though she and John never had any children, Jane adored her nieces and nephews, Jim, Heather, Sara, Jennifer, and Peter. She looked forward to the times they came to stay with her and John, and she had so much fun exposing them to literature, the arts and museums. She was full of love and pride for her great nieces and nephews as well: Ainsley, Eva, Declan, Gillian, and Molly.
Throughout her life, Jane experienced a rewarding career. Because she truly enjoyed her work, she continued working until August of this year. Jane immersed herself in her work and made many friends along the way. She found much satisfaction in seeing people grow and change their lives for the better, and she was the right combination of open mindedness, approachability, and compassion to really be impactful in the lives of those under her care.
Never one to be still, Jane remained active and had many interests. Jane loved art and music including Shakespeare, classical music, ballet, symphony, and the opera. Jane was also a member of the Kalamazoo Institute of Art. She was a voracious reader who read a variety of books and professional journals. A true foodie at heart, she was a fantastic cook. Although she loved cooking and eating good meals, she did have a secret love of Cheetos. Jane and John traveled internationally, and among their most memorable trips were to Prague and Norway, and most recently, visiting their niece in London. Closer to home, they bought some property overlooking Lake Michigan in Charlevoix. Although John wasn’t on board at the time, Jane was persuasive and usually found a way to swing things in her favor when she put her mind to something. The cottage they built there became their little piece of paradise until they sold it in 1997.
All who knew Jane Nelson-Holmes would agree that she was truly extraordinary. She fully appreciated those in her life, too, even writing these words about her clients and colleagues in her final days, “Thanks to all who loved and trusted me in their thoughts and feelings. You have given a great gift to me. I had a great career which I loved. I met some wonderful people in that 45 years whom I have loved.” Jane treasured the relationships she had with her friends and loved ones, and she touched the lives of so many in such a special way. She leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her family and friends will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
Jane Nelson-Holmes, a longtime therapist and counselor and resident of the area died at her home on Thursday, November 4, 2021. Members of her family include her husband of 51 years, John Holmes, sister Judith Beier, and 5 much beloved nieces and nephews: Sara, Jen, Heather, Peter, and Jim. She was preceded in death by her brother John Nelson. A Life Story Service for Jane will be held at 2pm on Saturday, November 13, 2021, Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A Life Story reception where food, drinks and stories will be shared will be held immediately following the service until 4:30 pm in the Life Story Center. Visit Jane’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Jane’s honor.