Life Story Visitation
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Please join us for a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Life Story Service
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
11:00 AM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
A reception will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories can 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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Samantha Knight could attest to her fierce love of her family. A wonderful wife, mother, daughter, and sister, she cherished the time she spent with those closest to her. Gone too soon, Samantha will be deeply missed, but her beautiful collection of memories will live on in the hearts of her loved ones forever.
Reflecting on the year 1981, it was a time of celebration across the nation. Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer exchanged vows at the royal wedding. NASA launched its first space shuttle, Columbia, and Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross topped the Billboard charts with their hit, “Endless Love.” A truly special gift arrived just in time for Christmas when on December 4th, Earl and Nancy (Averill) Hyde welcomed home their newborn baby daughter, Samantha, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her birth brought great joy into their hearts and home.
Samantha’s free spirit could be seen at an early age. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, she loved to dance and perform but never liked to practice. Luckily, most of her talent came naturally to her. Throughout her childhood, several neighborhood parties included dancing. She recruited her brother Ben to participate, and in return she was there to cheer him on at his local sporting events. They grew closer, and a recent highlight in her life was when Ben surprised her with tickets to a Detroit Lions game for her 40th birthday. Even better, they won that day! He also taught her the ropes of Fantasy Football, which she enjoyed.
Being the daughter of two music teachers, music was always the anthem of her life, but dancing was her greatest passion from her youngest years through adulthood. Samantha thrived onstage at the Montessori Opera sponsored by the Montessori school. At the age of eight, she started dancing at the Farrell Ballet Theater of Kalamazoo College and later performed in all of the yearly musicals during her high school years. Graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School in 2000, Samantha enrolled at Hope College to study business. While attending Hope, she danced in several performances. Although she could sing as well as play the flute, she was drawn to the discipline of ballet and dancing simply made her feel beautiful. She danced with grace and ease. She was comforted by dance during the global pandemic, even though she was not able to physically participate.
Samantha graduated from Hope in 2004 and later studied to be a Veterinary Technician through Baker College. An avid animal lover, all she wanted for her college graduation was to adopt two black cats from the Holland shelter. Not long after, her beloved sheltie, Chauncey, came into her life. She had an extraordinary gift with animals. During her time at Oakwood Animal Hospital, she could do many things for her clients and their animals that had not been successful for even seasoned technicians. It brought her great joy to help others.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of her husband, Adam. Meeting through their church instrumental group, they gradually got to know each other. Then, one day, they began leaning on each other for greater support, and a true love quickly developed. Sharing many commonalities including a love of nature, animals, and movies, the two of them were a perfect match. On their honeymoon, Adam rode his first roller coaster, and luckily he survived the ride. Samantha had warned him that if he didn’t like roller coasters, their marriage might not work out. Obviously, it did and soon they welcomed their sons, Keaton and Greyson.
As a family they enjoyed watching movies, going to the zoo, visiting the bird sanctuary or hiking the trails at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. They enjoyed sharing some of their own childhood traditions with their kids. Samantha introduced them to the movies she loved during her younger years, particularly the song “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tale, which she performed on karaoke nights with friends for many years. New Year’s Eve held a long-standing tradition of completing jigsaw puzzles together, which were often annual gifts from Samantha’s parents. Her children will always remember their mom for her warm sense of humor and silliness. Samantha loved her children unconditionally. She modeled for them a positive outlook on life and taught them never to take life too seriously.
Without a doubt, Samantha’s favorite pastime was simply being on the water; floating on the pontoon with her parents on Gun Lake or kayaking with Adam and the kids for a lazy afternoon on the river. Her love of the water began as a child. Her parents owned a sailboat and she took solace during the warm summer months on the lake. Samantha found her peace along any stretch of water where she could hear the birds and ripples of the waves around her.
Born with a strong and resilient mindset, she was completely humbled by the generosity of her co-workers at Charles River Laboratories who organized a trip for her family to Disney World, an adventure that had long been on her bucket list. Once she received her diagnosis of cancer, Samantha was an open book. She shared her journey with others in an online blog, which she hoped would not only help her but others on the same path.
Samantha shared these words with her mom, “You’ll stumble and fall along the way. We all do. But if we don’t, we never learn how to pick ourselves back up and keep going. Falling down isn’t failure. A stumble along the way doesn’t mean that you should hang up your dreams. You’re the only one that can make them come true.” This was her message to her children and to all who knew her.
Samantha’s smile could light up a room and her heart was always open for anyone in need. Willing to lend a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or a joke or comment to end in laughter were the many gifts she gave over the years. Samantha was a beautiful friend, loving mother, devoted daughter, and faithful wife. Her presence among her special friends and family will be deeply missed. May they lean on the countless moments she leaves behind and may her memories bring them smiles as bright as her own.
Samantha Knight, age 40, of Mattawan, Michigan, died on April 9, 2022. Samantha was preceded in death by her grandparents: Glenn (Anita) Averill and Earl (Faye) Hyde. Surviving are her husband, Adam; children: Keaton and Greyson; parents: Earl and Nancy Hyde; brother, Ben Hyde; brother and sister-in-law, Jefton (Jamie Sue) Knight; nieces and nephews: Elsbeth and Weston; aunts and uncles: Dana (Katherine) Averill and Tim (Karen) Carr; and Adam’s parents: Andy (Pam) Knight.
Cremation has taken place. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, refreshments, and stories will be shared on Tuesday (APR 19) 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. A Life Story Service will be held Wednesday (APR 20) at 11 AM also at the funeral home with a reception following in the Life Story Center. Visit Samantha’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or Kalamazoo Humane Society.