Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Catherine "Katie" Lyman

December 15, 1928 - November 29, 2021
Portage, MI


Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, December 15, 2021
10:30 AM EST
St. Augustine Cathedral
542 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 345-5147

A reception where food, drinks, and stories will be shared will follow the mass at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home.



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.

Centrica Care Navigators - Rose Arbor Hospice
5473 Croyden Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 345-0273
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

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


With a bright smile and a true zest for life, Katie Lyman had a joyful personality that was contagious to all who were near. She was someone who always wanted to be busy and she gave everything her all. A loving wife and devoted mother, Katie might just have argued that becoming a grandmother and great-grandmother later in life brought her the greatest thrill. A longtime resident of the community she loved, she greeted everyone as a friend and never met a stranger. Although she will be deeply missed, Katie leaves behind a brilliantly colored mosaic of memories that her friends and loved ones will forever hold dear to their hearts.

It seems only fitting that Katie’s journey began during a time as vibrant as she was. It was the 1920s when advancements brought us conveniences like the washing machine and the refrigerator, while cars were more affordable thanks to the mass production capabilities of the assembly line. It was on December 15, 1928, that Harry and Dorothy (Kimmins) Orr welcomed their baby girl they named, Catherine. Hers was a typical upbringing for a young girl of her generation. Katie held a close relationship with both of her parents and her brother, Bruce, especially during their adult years.

A blind date arranged by friends would forever change Katie’s life as she met the man who would forever hold the key to her heart, William (Bill) Lyman. Sparks flew over many dates, although it took Bill seven years before he proposed. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Katie and Bill were married in 1953. Sentimental by nature, she kept their wedding invitation in one of her many photo albums.

Nothing was of greater importance to Katie than family. Together, she and Bill were amazing parents, and she was actively involved in the lives of their children. As a family they enjoyed annual trips to Boyne Mountain and Harbor Springs for many years. Summers found them staying in a cottage in Traverse City until they bought the lake house on Bankson Lake in 1970 beginning the tradition of endless boat rides with family and friends. Taking full advantage of lake life, Katie always had the kids involved in activities like ice skating or skiing. In fact, she taught her kids to ice skate while holding on to an old chair, a tradition and method she carried forward to her grandkids as well. She was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandmother to ten amazing grandchildren who were her greatest source of pride and joy. Katie’s family later grew to include ten great-grandchildren, and she loved spending as much time with these younger generations as she could. This meant traveling across the country at times, but she was all too happy to do it! She had a way of making everything special including dressing up for Easter with a pink robe, bunny ears, and a cotton tail to entertain the grandkids. Katie even put on big elf slippers for Christmas morning. It didn’t matter if she looked silly as long as the kids were happy.

Katie impacted so many in such a special way. She played “cupid” with her daughter, Peggy, and the boy next door as they ended up marrying one another. A stranger was never a stranger for long with Katie, and she could connect with anyone anywhere she went. In fact, she loved traveling and could even carry-on long conversations with random people she met along the way. Over the years her travels took Katie to Scotland, England, and Nova Scotia just to name a few. She also traveled with the Portage senior group during her golden years.

A true servant at heart, Katie volunteered at many local organizations and churches, and was even named “volunteer of the year” in Lawton. Other volunteer efforts included as a Girl Scout leader, with Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, the women’s guild, in the choir at St. Margaret’s in Marcellus, and she was an active member with St. Kieran, St. John Bosco, and St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church’s. She even got her husband to volunteer alongside her at the Chicago Convention Bureau.

For years Katie worked as a special education aid at Brookwood Junior High in Glenwood, Illinois. After retiring she worked retail selling Frango Chocolates at Marshall Fields, which is where kids gave her the nickname “Frango Lady.” She also continued volunteering at the Portage elementary schools. Katie treasured the companionship of her dog, Tootsie, during her sunset years. Her daughters often took Katie and Tootsie on car rides, particularly enjoying a fall color tour of the changing leaves.

Throughout her life, Katie was one to remain busy. She loved finding treasures at auctions or antique shops. Her love of antiquing led to the opening of “Katie’s Korner” in the Lawton Antique Mall, where you could find some of her beloved refinished antiques. She kept tons of pictures that chronicled her entire life. Some carefully placed in albums and many more filling drawers throughout her home. Katie was an avid artist who also loved to knit sweaters, hats, and mittens for the grandkids. She even knitted the small caps for newborn babies at the hospital. Because of Katie’s love for art, she was known to stop anywhere along the roadside if she saw a pretty barn to pull out her paint and easel set and start painting. Among her many hobbies Katie managed to find the time to participate in many bridge groups as well as playing with the Portage Seniors.

Independent, and outgoing, Katie Lyman leaves a legacy of selfless devotion to community. She lived her life to love and serve others, and her devotion to her family was unmatched. A quintessential storyteller herself, Katie was never at a loss for words and took every opportunity to share a bit of her past with those who’d listen. Cherished by many, she will never be forgotten.

Catherine Lyman of Portage, MI, age 92, died peacefully on November 29, 2021. Katie was born December 15, 1928 in Niagara Falls, NY to Harry and Dorothy (Kimmins) Orr. Katie was preceded in death by her husband William (Bill); brother, Bruce (Judy) Orr, and brother-in-law, Thomas Lyman. Surviving are her children: Susan (Chris) Warren, Jane (Paul) Nadolny, Peggy (Rudy) Marcelletti, and Michael (Karen) Lyman; grandchildren: Tom Warren, Doug (Caroline) Warren, Jennifer (Tony Abbatte) Nadolny, Tricia (Cory Francer) Nadolny, Katie (Steve) Sherburn, Jimmy (Lauren) Marcelletti, Laurel Lyman, William Lyman, Patrick Lyman, and Caroline Lyman; 10 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law June Lyman, nieces and nephews: David Orr, John Orr, Bruce Orr, Tom Lyman, Mark Lyman, Jim Lyman, Dawn Kulis.

Cremation has taken place. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10:30 AM Wednesday (DEC 15) at St. Augustine Cathedral, 542 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007. A Life Story Reception where food, drinks, and stories will be shared will follow at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Visit Katie’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Centrica Care Navigators - Rose Arbor Hospice.