Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Barbara Aitken

May 22, 1937 - March 2, 2020
Kalamazoo, MI



Wednesday, March 11, 2020
1:00 PM EDT
Vineyard Assisted Living
8170 Vineyard Parkway
Kalamazoo, MI 49009

The services will be held in the activity room.

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.

NF Michigan (Neurofibromatosis of Michigan)
PO Box 6026
Grand Rapids, MI 49516
(616) 451-3699
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


Deeply committed to her family, Barb Aitken’s life will forever be remembered as both loving and selfless. Born with an infectious personality, she was always one to look on the bright side of life and made everyone she met feel special. Equipped with a remarkable skill set of serving others and a hearty sense of adventure, Barb lived her life to the fullest. She leaves behind a rich collection of wonderful memories for her many special friends and family.

Barb’s story begins in the year 1937 when the Golden Gate Bridge opened giving Americans renewed pride and faith in the economy after a tough period in the nation’s history. Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated to his second term in office and Amelia Earhart attempted a flight around the world. Born on May 22nd, the oldest of her siblings, to Frederick and Mary Ann (Newburry) Hoag of Kalamazoo, Michigan, her birth brought great joy into their hearts and home.

Barb’s childhood taught her to face life and its challenges with grace as well as the strength to manage tough times. As a result, throughout her life, she was a hard worker and never gave up on anything that she set her mind to doing. Barb approached every life endeavor with determination and the drive to be successful. As a young adult, she entered the world of work at Humphrey Products assembling masks and other apparatuses. Well-liked by her co-workers and employers, she remained there for many years. Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the love of her life, Bill Aitken. He was a soldier in the United States Navy at the time they met. Smitten from the very start, they wasted no time in making wedding plans as well as plans for a family of their very own. Together, they raised two wonderful children, Patricia and Terry, and shared the best of memories.

Barb took her role as a mother very seriously. Patricia was lucky to have her mother all to herself until her baby brother, Terry arrived. Patricia had asked for a black and white Cocker Spaniel and was a bit surprised when Barb brought home a bundled-up baby brother! A military family, Barb and the kids were accustomed to Bill’s deployments. He proudly served in Vietnam as well as duties that divided his time between home and his growing family. Barb never missed a beat, managing the home as well as the children. She loved their special moments together and never looked back on these years with regret. Patricia also stepped in to help watch her brother as Barb often was juggling a work schedule as well as getting food prepared for dinner. Terry was ill as an infant and often required extra attention from Barb at times. Busy and stretched thin, she never left his side whenever he needed special medical attention. Despite the harried years of raising their children, their home was always a welcoming place for neighborhood kids or their friends from school. Both Barb and Bill were parental figures to many local kids. Their generous hearts were seen in the tender way they cared for so many children often offering snacks or a place to nap on their living room floor. The two of them created a lifetime of fond memories for countless kids.

In addition to her love of children, Barb also loved to travel. The family lived in several states while Bill was in the service. They lived for a short time in Florida and later in New Jersey and California. Anytime Barb was near the ocean her heart was happy. She respected the wonders of its beauty from the shoreline however after experiencing a scary undercurrent once many years before. Any time she was near the water, she appreciated the serene feeling that came over her. It was no surprise that her ocean-loving personality led her on many cruises over the years. She especially enjoyed her time in the Bahamas with her best friends, Jim and Lill Hopper. Once she had the taste of the rich food, the chance at winning at the gambling tables, and the endless ocean view for miles, she was hooked! They also took a memorable trip together to the casinos in Las Vegas. Win or lose, they always loved traveling and spending time together.

Barb was a woman of many interests. For many years, she enjoyed sewing, a hobby she picked up from her grandmother, and made many unique pillowcases. A natural lover of all animals, Barb enjoyed her many furry companions over the years. Her kitty, Bailey, was a special treasure for her. Always one to take in strays, at one time she had six cats! Barb loved to find the best bargain at local garage sales and reminisce about special items she found from yesteryear. She and Bill frequented the local casinos where she would play the slots while he took a seat at the Blackjack table. Whenever she was feeling lucky, she enjoyed playing slots during her time at the Vineyards Assisted Living. Barb’s exceptionally kind and patient heart meant the world to her children. She was always ready to be there for their every need, offering up her listening ear or her caring words. There is no doubt that she will be greatly missed by her many special friends and loved ones over the years.

Barbara Aitken, age 82, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, died on March 2, 2020. Barb was preceded in death by her loving husband, Bill. Surviving are her children; Patricia Newman and Terry Aitken; two brothers; Fred Hoag and John Hoag. Cremation has taken place. A gathering at to celebrate her life will be held at 1 pm on Wednesday, March 11th at the Vineyard Assisted Living, 8170 Vineyard Parkway, Kalamazoo. Private burial at Mt. Ever Rest Memorial Park South. Visit Barb’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 Neurofibromatosis of Michigan, PO Box 6026, Grand Rapids, MI 49516. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900.