Thursday, February 4, 2021
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
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
Gracious, loving, and kind, Darlene "Dee" Chriscoe lived a life rooted in selfless generosity and rich in family and friends. Dee was a spitfire who embraced each moment and every person with her whole heart. Often the life of the party, her terrific sense of humor inspired much laughter and many sweet memories. Dee possessed a refined elegance that conveyed her confidence and her commitment to excellence in everything she endeavored. A devoted mother, grandmother, companion, and friend, Dee's creative vision and eagerness to be of service moved all who were blessed to know her. A powerful role model for how to live a heart-centered life, Dee will long be remembered and ever so missed.
Hope and prosperity were a hallmark of 1949. The first VW Beetle was sold in the U.S., Polaroid Camera’s became a bit hit, and Silly Putty began finding its way into the pockets of children across the country. Major stars such as Abbott and Costello, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby, brought joy and laughter to people everywhere. Nowhere was there more hope than in Port Jervis, New York, as Edwin and Gisela (Nowarra) Hinkley welcomed their daughter, Darlene, to their family on July 18.
Dee's mother left Germany to marry Dee's father, who was an American soldier she met during WWII. Born in the States, Dee lived in Germany for a short time in her early years and eventually became fluent in German. When she was 10 years old her family returned to America. After living in several places, including Pennsylvania and Colorado, the family settled in Michigan when her father, who was a steelworker, found work at the General Motors plant that was being built in Kalamazoo.
A proud graduate of Portage Northern High School, Dee met her first husband, Tom Henry, at Topps retail store, where she started working at 16 years old. The opposites were quickly attracted to one another and began dating. Setting their eyes on sharing the future, they married in November of 1967. The couple was blessed to welcome two daughters to their family. Michelle and Nicole were the centers of Dee's world, and she dedicated herself to their good care.
Dee was a hard worker who believed in always giving her best. She also understood the importance of leisure and fun. She often nurtured her loved ones with her exceptional cooking, and her wontons were famous amongst family and friends. Tom introduced her to the game of golf, which she instantly took to and played for many years in several different leagues, most recently a women’s league at Heritage Glen. She also enjoyed watching tournaments on TV. Dee picked up the game of bowling in her twenties. She played both on league and for regular date nights. Though she and Tom divorced after 13 years, Dee was forever grateful for their marriage's greatest gift, her daughters.
In 1980, Dee began working for Eaton Corporation, before the Kalamazoo tornado. She began her time with the company as an Administrative Assistant. After taking classes and furthering her training, she later worked in Human Resources until retirement. Dee was extremely dedicated to her work, never procrastinating and always working hard. Surrounded by a meticulous and robust sticky note system, she often brought bins of papers home to organize for the next day. Her attention to detail was evident in the way she always dressed for the day. Her mantra, “Do good. Look good.”
After retiring, Dee found time to relish in her creativity, focusing on home design and staging. While performing in a show in Vicksburg, Dee had the good fortune of meeting fellow actor, Ed Sharp. Dee and Ed quickly discovered a shared passion for life that found them talking for hours and forming a wonderful companionship. For the past ten years, they enjoyed one another's good company, creating much joy along the way.
Never one to be still for long, Dee lived a full and active life. As her family grew to include grandchildren, so did her joy. She doted on her grandkids and was their greatest fan. Whether attending their sporting and school events or listening about their day, she cherished every precious moment with them. She taught them to play her favorite card games and board games and showed them the fine art of dancing through life. Without hesitation, she danced anywhere! In the kitchen, while tailgating at U of M football games, and on the dance floor.
A connoisseur of life, Dee celebrated every moment she was gifted. Her magnetism resulted in many treasured friends and many amazing times. She enjoyed sharing progressive dinner parties and exploring new wines, everything from boxed to imported. She made a great Bloody Mary. She loved tending to the garden she and Ed built together and highlighting the bounty of their harvest at their annual salsa making party. Dee also loved traveling and exploring the wonders of the world. She especially enjoyed Yellowstone, and Italy was her favorite destination. She savored the wine and scenery with wonder and delight. In her quiet time, she enjoyed a good romantic comedy and holiday movies on the Hallmark channel.
Without a doubt, the world feels significantly duller in the absence of Dee's bright and beautiful light. While her sudden absence leaves us stunned, may we find comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying her legacy forward. As we greet each day with a smile, a song, and a dance, share our time and talents, and purposely seek out the beauty in the world, we celebrate the many ways Dee gifted our lives. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring the goodness of life.
Darlene "Dee" Chriscoe, age 71, died suddenly February 1, 2021, at her home in Portage. She is preceded in death by her first husband, Tom Henry; her brother, Edwin Hinkley Jr.; her parents; and her son-in-law, Jack Nuyen. Surviving are her daughters: Michelle (Ron) Geer and Nicole (Michael) Galiger; grandchildren: Brandon (Nicole Cook) Nuyen, Courtney (Chance Berry-Garrison) Nuyen, Jacob Galiger, Justin Galiger, and Ethan Galiger; step-grandson, Lee (Wendy) Geer; great-grandchildren: Kayden, Carter, and Tanner; 2 nieces: Michelle (Brent) Hostutler and Kelly (Chris) Hanna; her significant other, Ed Sharp; and too many special friends to name.
A Life Story gathering with food and refreshments will be held Thursday (FEB 4) 4-7PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900, where services will be held Friday (FEB 5) at 11 AM. Burial at Riverside Cemetery. Please visit Dee's webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you may read her Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or a charity of your choice.