Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Mary Hoyle

February 7, 1957 - May 31, 2016
Kalamazoo, MI



Monday, June 6, 2016
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and Drinks will be served.

Driving Directions


Tuesday, June 7, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
St. Thomas More Parish
421 Monroe Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
(269) 381-8917

Burial will follow at Mt. Home Cemetery.

Web Site


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.

From the Heart Gifts, Inc.
1037 Royce Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Web Site

Big Brothers Big Sisters
3501 Covington Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


When reflecting on the life of Mary Hoyle, words such as vibrant, hardworking, and loving come to mind, however, perhaps the word that paints the most vivid picture of her is selfless. She was always looking for ways to give to others whether her child, her parents, her family, her friends or others within her community. Mary did love being a mother, but she just might have argued that being a grandmother was her sweetest reward. She was a strong and resilient woman who faced whatever came her way, and as an agent of change in the world around her she was a voice for those who have no voice of their own. A longtime resident of the community she loved, Mary was a stranger to none and a friend to all. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.

It seems only fitting that Mary’s story began during a time that was as colorful as she was. It was the 1950s when James Dean was all the rage, Elvis Presley introduced the world to his rock ’n roll music, and shows like I Love Lucy changed the way we looked at the American family. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1957 when Hugh and Dottie Hoyle were pleased to announce the birth of the baby girl they named Mary Elizabeth in Evanston, Illinois on February 7th. She was the second of eight children in her family as she was joined in the Hoyle clan by her older brother, Joseph, and her younger siblings, Tim, Mike, Barb, Andy, Danny, and Cat. She was raised in a Catholic home, and with her birth her father’s hope of naming his first two children Joseph and Mary became a reality. As the oldest girl in the family, Mary was often the one tending to her siblings as her parents both worked. Times weren’t always easy and she carried a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, but she developed many of the skills she used throughout her life while growing up. She had a strong personality that could intimidate her siblings and friends at times, but she was also an amazing nurturer and had an authoritative personality as well.

Raised in Gurnee, Illinois, during her youngest years, Mary and her family moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan, when work at a local plastic plant became beneficial for the family. She fit right in to her new surroundings, and as a student at Kalamazoo Central High School she met her lifelong best friend, Lorri Brigham. These best friends were there for one another through thick and thin for the remainder of Mary’s life. She was very social as a student, and she loved going to football games and taking in a good party or two. Mary graduated early as she left school to have her daughter, Sasha, when she was just 17. Sasha's father is Todd Jones. Born on September 19, 1974, Sasha was forever the light of her life. Mary’s family was very involved in helping her raise Sasha, and many members of the Jones and Mitchell families were also instrumental in her upbringing.

As someone who excelled in her studies, Mary went to Western Michigan University and earned her BSW. She worked hard and built a successful career. For a time Mary worked for Youth Opportunity Unlimited, and she later spent time working in the Kalamazoo County juvenile home. Much of her career was spent working for Kalamazoo Public Schools in multiple social support roles at Northeastern, Woodward, Spring Valley, Milwood Elementary and Milwood Middle School. Over the years Mary helped hundreds of kids. She never judged and always had a solution to any problem. She was a passionate advocate for the kids first and foremost. Mary spent the last year of her life working for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Throughout her 30 year career, she worked hard in everything she did. For 20 years, Mary was very involved with The Greater Kalamazoo Area Holiday Food Drive along side her very good friend, Christie Enstrom-West where they helped provide up to 1200 families with two weeks of groceries every Christmas. She was not only very active with this organization, but she also served on their board.

There was never anything that was more important to Mary than her loved ones. Regularly involved with Sasha and Sasha's children, Mary devoted her life to her grandchildren - even living with them for many years. For years she cared for her parents, and it was Mary who helped organize many family reunions and important family events. She planned everything down to the last detail, as traditions were very important to her. Mary loved spending time with her three grandchildren reading, playing games, having fun, listening and always encouraging. Although she never really enjoyed cooking, Mary was fantastic in the kitchen. She did always say that she loved cooking for her grandchildren, however.

Always one to be busy, Mary was a woman of many interests. She loved Lake Michigan, especially while taking in the sunset walking along the beach. Mary also had the most amazing collection of Lake Michigan rocks and other organic things. She loved traveling, especially to Ireland and Italy, and as someone who hated shopping Mary loved Amazon. She was an avid reader, but it was always something lighthearted as it'd help offset the intensity of her work. Books on Ireland, time travel, and anything from Nora Roberts were among her favorites. She also enjoyed crosswords, word puzzles, and playing scrabble - particularly with Nancy Neva Gagliano. Mary liked a good shot of tequila, watching the ball drop in New York City, and she enjoyed the Dixie Chicks, the Eagles, and Joni Mitchell music. Mary was a news junkie who watched C-Span for fun and also enjoyed Big Bang Theory. With her artistic side and her own creative flair, she liked drawing, painting, and even writing.

All who knew Mary Hoyle would agree that she was such a blessing to everyone she met. It has been said that she had a wide net of people, and she has been called the rock of her family. Mary was the sort of person who could spot social injustice a mile away, and she was more than generous with her time and resources. Everyone who knew her knew that they would be kissed hello and then kissed goodbye, and there was no one who was better in a crisis than Mary. She will be remembered as a straight talker, a loyal friend and confidante, and the one who always gave the best advice. Mary’s memory will be forever cherished by those too numerous to count.

Mary Elizabeth Hoyle, of Kalamazoo, died unexpectedly May 31, 2016, in Kalamazoo. Mary’s family includes her daughter, Sasha Hoyle; 3 grandchildren: Alexander, Stefon and Felix; parents, Hugh and Dottie Hoyle; 7 siblings: Joe (Peggy) Hoyle, Tim (Kathy) Hoyle, Mike Hoyle, Barb (Mark) Novak, Andy (Donna) Hoyle, Danny (Andria) Hoyle, Cat (Anthony) Palin; and many nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Monday from 4:00 PM – 8:00 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler – Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Drive (375-2900). Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday 11:00 a.m. at St. Thomas More Parish. Interment at Mt. Home Cemetery, following the burial a luncheon will be served and location will be announced. Please visit Mary’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo of her and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to: From the Heart, Inc. or Big Brothers Big Sisters.