Life Story Service
Life Story Reception
Sunday, December 3, 2023
2:00 PM to 4:00 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.
Youth Advancement Academy (YAA)
The YAA was created to serve at-risk students of Kalamazoo County. It is a charter school for middle and high school students who are proceeding through the juvenile court system and/or needing a place to continue their education in a different atmosphere.
Checks may be made payable to Charles Brown, member of the YAA Board of Directors, and mailed to Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes. All donations will be given to the YAA director to encourage and improve learning opportunities.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Marcie Brown was a kind and caring person and her gentle spirit and beautiful smile will be missed. She approached every obstacle in life with confidence. Her presence filled those around her with humor, generosity, and love.
In August 1953, Leo and Clarice Rench welcomed their daughter, Marcie, into their home. Raised in the picturesque town of Adrian, Michigan, Marcie had a childhood colored by the warmth of her family. Her father, a dedicated teacher, and her mother, an administrative assistant, instilled in her the values of education and hard work.
Marcie grew up alongside her brothers, Leo and Steven. Several years apart in age, the trio bonded mostly during her college years and beyond as they shared a group of friends and found common interests together.
It was also during her college years that Marcie’s passion for the University of Michigan blossomed. As a student there, her enthusiasm for the Wolverines became infectious and only grew deeper. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree and, later in life, continued to Antioch College where she earned her master’s in education. Following in the footsteps of her father and grandmother, Marcie was excited by the choices a career as an educator would bring her and she believed her energy and knowledge could make a tremendous impact on bright, young minds.
It turns out, she was right. Marcie started teaching 1st and 4th grades in Adrian Elementary Schools. Her career culminated as the Principal at Lincoln Elementary and, to her credit, she spearheaded various programs to support her students, particularly those struggling with learning to read. After retiring, Marcie’s reputation and expertise drew the attention of Adrian College. They invited her to head their education program which, of course, Marcie was thrilled to do.
Marcie’s bright light grew even brighter when she met Chuck Brown, who was also a fellow educator. Chuck facilitated a program aimed at improving teachers’ skills; a program Marcie attended. Before long, a spark grew between them. They soon married and blended their families creating a bond that stood the test of time.
Marcie’s talents went far beyond the classroom. Family became the epicenter of her world, and she orchestrated celebrations and gatherings that left an indelible mark on her loved ones. The place never mattered because the people always did. The lake house in Charlevoix became a haven for reunions and a place where joy echoed through the generations. Many such parties were themed, which made it impossible not to have fun. She created matching t-shirts for the Fourth of July, and even a Star Wars Christmas. Whatever the theme, laughter ultimately followed.
Marcie also had a knack for knowing just the right way to make everyone feel special and included. For many years she had a friend play the role of Santa and pass out presents. He was so perfect (and had the inside scoop on what the kids were up to) that the magic became real. Her Christmas decorations, particularly her Santa Bear collection, were the stuff of legend. Stockpiled in the attic, it took several trips to set them all up around the house. It’s fair to say that Marcie’s passion for Christmas knew no bounds, just like her love for family.
Her fandom for University of Michigan continued as she and Charles shared season tickets to football games. It’s often said that if you weren’t yet a fan of the maize and blue, you soon would be after meeting Marcie. Only the bitter cold and rain would keep her from attending a game, which excited her kids as they got to attend in her place.
Marcie’s passions were many. She loved shopping, especially whenever she came across an unexpected find for the perfect someone. She would buy it and save it for just the right occasion to share it as a gift. She was a voracious reader, going so far as to create a book club in her condo community, and she enjoyed her magazines as well, collecting them by the stack. Her talent as an interior decorator could very well have been featured in any such magazine.
Marcie continually expressed gratitude for her life and the connections she made. She loved her friends, fostering life-long relationships with a small group of women who loved her in return. She led by her actions, encouraging those around her to go after their dreams. Her battle with cancer in her final weeks did not dampen her spirit. Instead, it fueled her gratitude. Her legacy is one of resilience and a relentless pursuit of happiness for all those in her circle.
Marcie Brown, 70, died on November 9th, 2023. She was preceded in death by her father. Surviving are her husband, Charles; children: Cori (Jim) Ignatovich; Cullen (Genevieve) Brown; Benjamin (Shana) Brown; and Mandy (Louie) Calvin; grandchildren: Austin, Ben, and Andy Ignatovich, Mackenzie and Hannah Brown, Aiden and Ella Brown; mother, Clarice Rench; siblings: Leo (Diane) Rench, Jr, and Steven (Teresa) Rench; and five nieces and nephews.
Please join us at a Life Story Service on Sunday, December 3rd at 1 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories will be shared. Visit Marcie’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial donations may be made to The Youth Advancement Academy. Donation checks may be made payable to Charles Brown, member of the YAA Board of Directors, and mailed to Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes.