Life Story Visitation
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EST
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.
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 Animal Rescue
P.O. Box 3295
Kalamazoo, MI 49003
SPCA of Southwest Michigan
6955 W KL Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
VanderSalm's Flower Shop and Garden Center
1120 S Burdick St
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Life Story / Obituary
In many ways, Barb DeYoung-Sprau defined the meaning of a devoted wife, nurturing mother grandmother, sister, and friend. Her dedication was without end, and her passions and interests exemplified her one-of-a-kind nature. Although she always did the best she could, once Barb put her mind to something, there was no stopping her. With her sassy and witty nature, Barb was someone others could rely on for an honest opinion, and a positive word. In the hearts of many, there was no one quite like Barb. Ever lovable and loyal all rolled into one, her memory will be long remembered with love.
Born on February 10, 1935, in the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Barb was one of four children born to her parents. The Wendt family made their home in the Kalamazoo area where young Barb attended the local schools and later went to Kalamazoo Central High School. A spunky young woman with a zest for life, Barb was a friend of many from her earliest years.
Barb’s life turned in an exciting new direction with the birth of her beloved daughter Pam. She would become the light of her life. Mother, daughter, best friends they had an unbreakable bond that never waivered. Barb’s life turned again when she married Fred DeYoung and to their union she welcomed the love of his children into her life. Son Scott and daughter Sheryle brought her great joy. As a mother, Barb was a wonderful and caring woman and thought the world of all of her kids. Considered their best friend, she always tried to give them good, sound advice, and never hesitated in letting them know when they were veering off the straight and narrow path! She thoroughly enjoyed trips with her kids and even took her daughter, Pam, to Las Vegas when Pam was just 21 years old; kicking off her young adult life with an adventure. Barb was always a very hard worker. At times she held several jobs, always striving to support and to provide the best for her family. She eventually landed a position working in the meat department as a meat wrapper and packer for Meijer where she happily remained and retired after 30 years.
Love, as Barb would come to know it, came about one night while at one of the local watering holes where she met Jim Sprau. The pair struck up a conversation with each other and the rest is history! From that moment on, the two would become a couple, sharing a special bond for the remainder of their lives together. Married in Las Vegas, Nevada, Barb welcomed Jim’s children, Cherri and Jim as her own.
A very lovable woman, it was easy to admire Barb. She loved with all her heart, and anyone who came to know her couldn’t help but love her in return. Even though Barb had a small family, she believed in staying close with them, and that included her grandchildren whom she loved dearly. However, Barb was a mom and grandma to many throughout the years. She had many “adopted” family and friends who loved her like their own mom and grandma which meant so very much to her.
Saying Barb was a people person is an understatement! She could strike up a conversation out of thin air, even with people she didn’t know, and make you feel as if you’d been longtime friends. There may have been times when Barb may not have wanted to go out, but once she and Jim hit the town, she’d find people to talk with and wouldn’t want to leave. C.J.’s and the Sugar Bowl were her favorite local pubs.
Barb’s love of music brought her comfort, happiness and joy. She enjoyed many varieties of music from her generation and loved to dance and sing along with her favorites such as Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline and Barbara Streisand.
Barb was the life of the any event and enjoyed hosting and throwing parties. Everything from the planning to preparing, grocery shopping and cooking, and bringing it all together was right in Barb’s specialty. She particularly liked preparing tasty hors d’oeuvres and simply making everyone feel welcome. Every year she put on a huge Christmas Day party where family and friends were always welcome. Halloween may just have been her favorite though, but mostly because she’d coerce Jim into dressing up with her for the festivities! It brought gladness to Barb’s heart to be surrounded by those she loved and cared about, and the more the merrier!
Barb and Jim enjoyed their shared love of travel. Together they spent time out west and down south, which was typically prompted by a trip to a casino. Barb liked to try her luck on the slots and video poker, hoping for that all elusive jackpot! Aside from traveling with Jim, Barb and her daughters took a memorable vacation to Hawaii where Barb took in her love of the water and relaxing on the beach watching the waves. When it came to treats, Hostess cupcakes were one of her favorite indulgences which Jim would bring her each morning along with a cup of coffee. Not only was Barb a people person, but her love of dogs was well known. She always had a canine companion by her side, and usually a small, lap dog given to her by family or friends. She liked taking the dogs on rides or walks in the park. Her sweet dogs, Buffy and Goldie, continued to hold a special place in her heart.
Tiny but mighty, Barb was known to have a fiery, feisty personality in a good debate or attempting to get her point of view across, but don’t get her mad because she could be the Tasmanian devil! Barb may have been talkative, but she was a good listener, too. Above all, she listened with her heart. She was a confidante to many, and her loyalty knew no bounds. It was in Barb’s nature to help others and she’d give the shirt off her back for those in need. Barb had a golden heart when it came to others and never expected anything in return. She lived fully surrounded by those she held most dear, and leaves a lasting legacy to be forever remembered.
Barbara DeYoung-Sprau, age 86, of Portage, died on Monday, February 7, 2022. She was preceded in death by her son, Scott DeYoung; and by her brother, James Wendt. Surviving are her husband, Jim; children: Pam Stenger and Sheryle (Bruce) Sage; Jim’s children: Cherri (Merlin Mason) Sprau, Jim (Shelly) Sprau Jr.; several grandchildren; siblings: Margaret (David) Rice, Mary (Chris) DeYoung; her “honorary sister,” Kathleen Wendt; and several nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, from 4-6 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. A toast will be shared at 6:00 PM. To share a favorite memory of Barb, sign her online guest book and to archive photos, please visit Barb’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Animal Rescue or SPCA of Southwest Michigan.