Life Story Service
Friday, May 12, 2023
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Friday, May 12, 2023
1:30 PM EDT
Mount Olivet Cemetery
2003 Mount Olivet Rd.
Kalamazoo, MI 49004
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
With a warm smile and a welcoming heart, Collette Conway lived a life rich in family and friends. Collette was sweet and quiet, but adventurous. Never one to demand the spotlight, she liked experiencing things with her husband and family. She was a lovely companion, and people enjoyed her good company. Collette embodied her faith, welcoming each day as a gift and every person as a friend. Whether caring for her family, school staff, and students, shopping, or spending a quiet moment on a beach, Collette lived wholeheartedly, showing us in every moment how to live life to the fullest. Loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Collette will long be remembered and so very missed.
Growing up in West Michigan, Collette's early years were rooted in faith and family. Her parents had immigrated from Poland and worked hard to provide their children with support, encouragement, and an education. Collette graduated from St. Augustine High School before working at Upjohn Company, delivering mail to the various departments.
While in high school, Collette met her future husband, Jim Conway. Collette was a quiet introvert while Jim was outgoing and social with a gift for gab. Their opposite personalities were simply magnetic, and they became true companions. With great happiness, the couple married on August 23, 1958, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Kalamazoo.
Blessed to become parents, Collette's children, Michael, James Jr., Timothy, and Michelle, were the centers of her world. Devoted to her family, she stopped working outside the home to focus on raising her children and creating a loving and supportive home. Once they were older, she began working for Kalamazoo Public Schools as a secretary, where she could keep a close eye on them. Her kids couldn't get away with anything at school since she was usually there too. After retiring in 2001, Collette continued to work as a substitute secretary to stay involved.
Before marrying, Collette and Jim made their first trip to Pentwater. The tent was large enough to sleep separately, since his parents were along as well. They fell in love with the area and visited often. Collette loved going to the beach and wanted to spend as much time there as possible. In 1976, they built a second home in Pentwater; it quickly became a special place where many wonderful memories were made. It was important to Collette to support the community, and she even bought a brick for the pathway in the park leading to the beach she so loved.
Collette loved traveling. Spring breaks were always spent in Clearwater, Florida; she couldn't get there and to the beach fast enough. For seventeen years, she and Jim enjoyed taking cruises, often with as many as a dozen friends. They particularly loved the Caribbean and were happy to celebrate their 25th anniversary on a Hawaiian vacation. Closer to home, she enjoyed attending the Hot Rod Car shows in St. Ignace and other areas around the state, arriving several days ahead of the car show so they could explore and enjoy the area. She loved to shop; if there was a store nearby, she wanted to be in it. She and her best friend, Sharon Rafferty, took several trips together and often went shopping. She also greatly enjoyed her yearly trips to Shipshewana, Indiana with her daughter.
Her heart's delight, Collette treasured her family. She was proud of her grandchildren and cherished every moment they shared together. Always ready for a hug and a kiss, she expressed interest in what everyone was doing in their own lives. Holidays and family gatherings were always special and important and often included her famous cabbage rolls (golumpki). Her favorite gathering was the big party the family had to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They had a delicious pig roast and were even able to get a full family photo which was a rare occurrence.
Without a doubt, life feels far less certain in the absence of Collette's steadfast love and companionship. May we find much comfort in our many beautiful memories and in the honor of carrying Collette's legacy forward. In each moment, we lovingly tend to our home and family, support our community, explore retail opportunities, take an adventure with loved ones, or walk along the beach, we celebrate the many ways Collette touched our lives. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired each of us.
Collette Conway, of Kalamazoo, age 84, died on May 7, 2023. Surviving are her husband, James; children: Michael (Nancy) Conway, James Conway Jr., Timothy (Judy) Conway, and Michelle (William) deWeever; grandchildren: Joshua, Matthew, Joseph, Alex (Bess), and Kailey; great-grandchild, Kaden; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings.
A Life Story Service will be held on Friday (May 12) 10 AM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center, where food, drinks, and stories will be shared. Burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Visit Collette's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Centrica Care Navigators.