Life Story Visitation
Saturday, April 9, 2022
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Loving, generous, and kind, Christine Lanning lived a life rich in family, faith, and friends. A woman who graciously answered the call to a life of serving others, Chris embodied the principles of her faith. With a vibrant smile and unwavering hope, she proved a powerful role model for all who were blessed to know her. Chris never hesitated to give of herself. She radiated a goodness that afforded comfort and encouragement, especially in times of challenge. A devoted mother, Chris's greatest joy was her sons. Cherished by many, Chris will long be remembered and so very missed.
1969 proved a year of innovation and excitement. While the Beatles took the stage together for the final time, the Boeing 747 and Pontiac Firebird Trans Am made their debuts. 350,000 rock-n-roll fans gathered at Woodstock, and Neil Armstrong took his "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." It seems fitting that the year would begin with tremendous excitement in Kalamazoo, Michigan, as Terry and Jean (McNutt) McIver welcomed their daughter, Chris, into their family on January 13.
From her earliest years, Chris's awareness and care for others were as much a part of who she was as her beautiful smile and welcoming eyes. Once, while she and her brother were riding bikes in the early morning, while riding down a hill, she found herself afraid of waking people up with the loud squeal of her brakes. So, she jumped off her bike but held on and tried to stop as quietly as possible. Despite scraping her knees, she was content in knowing that she had put others first.
After graduating from Comstock High School, Chris attended Hope College. In 1988, along with her roommate, Chris helped reinstate the Kappa Betta Phi Sorority, which had officially disbanded in 1971. Together, this inspiring group of women dedicated themselves to the values and ideals of the Dorian Society, which included the core belief that sympathy and unselfishness should dominate all actions toward all others.
Chris proudly earned her Bachelor's degree in Communications and then worked in hospitality as an event coordinator and a travel consultant. Once she became a mother, Chris stayed home and raised her boys. Stuart and Gabe were her heart's delight, and she dedicated her life to providing them with a loving and supportive home. Chris possessed a great sense of balance, and while she could be firm when needed, she was always loving and kind. She gifted her sons with the balance between hard work and fun, affording them typical childhood fun while teaching them clear moral values and good manners.
A conscious role model, Chris allowed herself to be silly and playful with her boys while encouraging them to be strong young men. She made sure holidays and birthdays were special. She planned fun crafts and created themed events for her boys. Once, she printed baseball game tickets as invitations and provided custom baseball hats to her guests. Her attention to detail made every event a big deal and, more importantly, made her boys feel special. The family enjoyed vacations to Torch Lake, where they enjoyed rides on her parent’s boat. Chris also relished lying in the sun on the dock while her boys would hunt for crawfish. The family also enjoyed many trips to Aunt Carolyn’s in Palm Desert, California.
As her boys grew older, Chris began working at Talbot's and loved it! It proved the perfect job for her to pour her organizational skills and excellent work ethic into. She enthusiastically supported her co-workers and served customers with signature care. Though she enjoyed her work, her boys were never far from her mind; she bragged about her kids to her co-workers all the time. Chris was an active member of Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, where she worked with Teen Mothers of Pre-Schoolers and served as a Deacon at the church. She also volunteered at the Worship Center, Sunday school, and IHN, a program that houses homeless families.
Embracing every moment as a gift and an opportunity to make the world a better place, Chris inspired others at every turn. Anyone who had the pleasure of eating her cooking knew that she infused every bite with love and devotion. She could make a delicious meal out of anything she found fresh at the store, and her famous chicken puffs, tacos, and chicken tetrazzini were unrivaled.
Chris found humor in most situations and could turn a phrase with her non-serious vocabulary. With a ready laugh and an affectionate "Dude," even the darkest moments were lighter. Even in the face of a cancer diagnosis, Chris maintained her faith and commitment to work and support her family. Never one to want to worry others, she continued to put others before herself. For those who knew her best, it was abundantly clear that in Chris's good company, joys were always greater, and there was no hardship that could not be lessened.
Without a doubt, the world feels less certain in the absence of Chris's bright and beautiful presence. And though our days with her were far too few, the power of her legacy will surely live on in the hearts and lives of those she so lovingly touched, moved, and inspired. In every moment that we choose faith over fear, freely give of our time and talents, encourage others, and greet the day with gratitude, we celebrate Chris's life. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
Christine Lanning, of Grand Rapids, age 53, died on April 2, 2022. Surviving are her children: Stuart Lanning and Gabriel Lanning; her parents; her brother, Brian (Amy) McIver; and nieces: Madeline and Hope. Cremation has taken place. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Saturday (APR 9) from 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Visit Chris' webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Calvin Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids or Centrica Care Navigators (formerly Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan).