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Life Story / Obituary
Age 94, died on April 21, 2020. Alice was born August 31, 1925 in Leonidas, MI, the daughter of John Paul Rockelein and Anna Viroqua (Tutewiler) Rockelein. Alice grew up on a farm near Leonidas, Michigan, and was a life-long resident of Kalamazoo. She attended Mendon High School and graduated as salutatorian of the Class of 1942. Alice then graduated from Maher’s Business School and worked for the unemployment office at the end of WWII, which the returning soldiers knew as the “22-50 Club”. It was through this connection that Alice met John Kelly. They were married in 1949.
Alice and John raised three children, first in Flat Rock near Detroit and later in Kalamazoo. A Girl Scout leader for many years, Alice took her scouts on several memorable camping trips. Alice also worked at WMU’s Department of Blind Rehabilitation as Departmental Secretary for fifteen years in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. She and John had an eventful retirement, were active members of the Knight of Columbus, and traveled to Europe, Asia, Mexico, and all over the US visiting friends and family. Alice stayed engaged in bowling, golf, and volunteer work at St. Vincent DePaul’s, even after her husband’s passing. Well into her advanced years, Alice washed and refurbished thousands of stuffed animals for charity, a feat that was celebrated in the Kalamazoo Gazette. Most recently, she lived in Colorado with her daughter, Ellen, and later at a senior care facility in Poway, CA.
Alice was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers Robert Rockelein and Joseph Rockelein, her loving husband, John, her infant daughter, Mary Jane, and her son-in-law Tim Shanahan. Alice is survived by a large and loving family including: her sister Jane Bokhart; her children Linda (Tim) Vanderveen, Charles (Hae-Oak) Kelly, and Ellen (Tim) Shanahan; six grandchildren: Bomee, Kelly, John, Katie, Kelcy, and Charlie; 11 great-grandchildren: Owen, Zach, Brady, Will, Altan, Audrey, Annie, James, Andrew, Johnny, and Evrim; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Private burial will take place at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a memorial mass will be celebrated at a later date. Visit Alice’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Vincent de Paul Society c/o St. Augustine Cathedral (542 W Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007). Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009, (269) 375-2900.