Life Story Visitation
Friday, March 10, 2023
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where 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 Humane Society
2272 River St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Life Story / Obituary
Lillian Jane Stiefel passed away peacefully at home on February 17, 2023, while surrounded by her loving and devoted family. Jane was a wonderful and supportive mother to her children and a reliable, trusted confidant to her many friends. People were drawn to her because she was funny and could make you laugh. She was a straight shooter with a natural sense of humor and quick wit.
Born in Camden, NJ, on March 2, 1930, Jane is the younger child of George and Mary (McKenna) Engel. Growing up as a child of the Depression with her brother, Louis, in rural south New Jersey, she forged the qualities that would define her character: self-reliance and a fiercely independent personality.
Jane had two children from her first marriage (Carol and Brian Kelly) and two children (Kathy and William IV) from her second marriage to William Stiefel III. Bill's career as an engineering professor led the family to Nigeria, Afghanistan, and South Korea. Aside from living overseas for six years, Jane traveled the world extensively throughout her life.
Jane had an instinctive connection to animals and was a lifelong advocate for their well-being. She always had pets around, owned horses, and often ensured the local birds, turkey, and deer were fed. Many of her trips were motivated by her desire to see wildlife in its natural habitat. Some of her most memorable trips were solo adventures in Borneo, South America, and on safari in Africa.
Life was an adventure to be lived and she lived it well. However, no matter where she travelled, Jane was a Jersey girl at heart who loved the ocean and spending end-of-summer vacations with Bill at the Jersey shore.
Jane was a long-time employee at the State of Michigan (MESC) and H&R Block. She continued to prepare taxes for her family and friends until the end. She had many talents. She was an awesome cook and skilled seamstress. She relished all types of puzzles, often completing multiple crossword puzzles before the break of dawn. She also enjoyed playing cards and attending the theater. She was tech savvy and insatiably curious about the world around her. As a long-time YMCA member, she enjoyed water aerobics classes and the friends she met there.
Jane was preceded in death by her husband, William James Stiefel III; and her eldest son, Brian Kelly (Lynne Jaffe), of Tucson, AZ. She is survived by her two daughters: Carol Kelly of Nice, France, and Kathy Farrow (Tim) of Kalamazoo, MI; and her son, William Stiefel IV of Birmingham, MI. She is also survived by grandsons: Zachariah Kelly (Christine Butorac) of Louisville, KY and David Kelly (Irina Kobylevsky) of New York, NY; along with great-grandson, Jayden Butorac.
One of the conclusions to be drawn from Jane's life is simply that after 90+ years, it is still not enough time to spend with the people you love and who love you. She will be dearly missed.
An Open House will be held Friday, March 10, from 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009, (269) 375-2900. Visit Jane's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories or photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Kalamazoo Humane Society or PARSA Afghanistan.