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Agnes "Nanette" Beaton

August 1, 1931 - August 27, 2023
Kalamazoo, MI



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 Nature Center
7000 N Westnedge Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 381-1574
Web Site

Planned Parenthood
4201 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 372-1200
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Nanette was an avid naturalist and artist who loved quiet time and intellectual pursuits. Reading was a passion she enjoyed throughout her entire life and continued until the last week. Her family was very important to her, and she loved spending time with grandkids and great grandkids. Exercise and sports were also important throughout her life including tennis, golf, yoga, and she shared the family’s love of downhill skiing.

Her dream was to stay in her beautiful home in the woods in Kalamazoo and, with the help of her children, especially her son, Ian, she was able to do that. In her last days as family and aides asked what she wanted, she often said, “I just want to look at my trees.” Nanette maintained her humor until the end and, in her final days, she perfected the eye roll when words were too hard to get out.

Nanette was born August 1, 1931 in Paisley, Scotland to William and Helen (Mutrie) McKay. She met and married her intellectual equal, John, in 1954. They emigrated from Scotland to the U.S. and settled in Kalamazoo. She volunteered for Planned Parenthood and worked for the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Midlife, Nanette joined the staff of Kalamazoo College where she worked until her retirement in 1993. She had a pragmatic outlook and valued her independence, while delighting in everyday joys like fresh flowers and oatmeal cookies.

Her kindness and gratitude to all the staff helping her in those last weeks was a joy for all. She asked Renee to move in with her and Renee accepted! She recited a few poems by heart the last week which were perfectly apropos for the situation.

Dying Speech of An Old Philsopher, by Walter Savage Landor:

I stroke with none, for none was worth my strife;

Nature I loved, and next to nature, art;

I warmed both hands before the fire of life.

It sinks, and I'm ready to depart.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, by William Wordsworth:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

Nanette Beaton of Kalamazoo, age 92, died peacefully at home on August 27, 2023. Preceding her in death are her parents; her husband, John; sister, Rena Cooley; and nephew, Robert Cooley. Surviving are her children: Elinor (Joe) Gressick, Kay Beaton, and Ian (Jill) Beaton; grandchildren: Brett (Heather), Kimberly (Rock), Allison (Justin), Heather (Carrie), Tyler, Nigel, and Fiona; great-grandchildren: Zoey, Quinn, Kennedy, and Koen; and niece and nephew, Jacqueline Heckhaus and Boyd Cooley. The family would like to thank Absolute Home Care and Centrica Care Hospice for their care and comfort allowing Nanette to stay in her home, as was her wish. Visit Nanette’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Planned Parenthood or Kalamazoo Nature Center. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.