Life Story Visitation
A reception will follow.
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.
Kalamazoo Refugee Resource Collaborative
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Elizabeth Walker was a devoted wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend to many. A lover of all people, it was no surprise that she touched many lives over the years. No one could deny the love she had for her family, especially her children; Hadley, Jonah, and Eloise. Deeply loved and fondly admired, Lil will be forever remembered by her special family and all who knew and loved her.
Lil’s story begins in the year 1984. The first Apple Macintosh computer went on sale and Sally Ride became the first American woman in space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. During the height of the pop music culture, Daniel and Gayle Green welcomed home their newborn baby girl, Elizabeth, on April 15th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born the youngest of four children, her birth brought great joy to her loving parents.
Lil grew up in Constantine until her family relocated to Portage by the time she was nine years old. She was born with a creative spirit and enjoyed art projects and exploring nature, which included camping and fishing on the St. Joe River. Back at home, she loved playing in the pool, bike riding, and reading books with her mom. She was also caught on occasion eating an entire stick of butter! Lil enjoyed science and math from an early age. She thrived in school and never settled for less than her best.
Active and on the go, Lil loved playing water polo on her high school team with her sister while balancing her work schedule at Bilbo’s Pizza in town. In addition to water polo, she also swam competitively during these years. Lil was a proud graduate with the Class of 2002 from Portage Central High School. She set off for Michigan State University to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree. During her summers and time home for college, she worked in an assisted living facility which sparked her interest in caring for the elderly. Anything she put her mind to doing, she gave her all.
After graduating from MSU in 2006, Lil went on to receive her Master’s degree from Winthrop University in 2010 completing research thesis based in evolutionary genetics. After graduate school, she managed a bioinformatics lab at the University of Michigan for doctoral and postdoctoral students. Lil assisted in published research using CRISPR and mapping traits of the human genome, as well as helping with the work leading to U of M's expansion of its student diversity policies in her last two years there.
Her passion for science and research was a perfect fit for her role at Pfizer as a microbiologist. She focused on medicinal quality, taught Chemistry and Biology classes to members of the leadership team, as well as participated in numerous company-sponsored outreach groups. Lil loved the people she met in the field. Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the man who would change the course of her life forever, Jason Walker. They met while Lil was working at McHales Irish Pub in Rock Hill, South Carolina. One of their first dates was a camping trip, a pastime they both thoroughly enjoyed. Surrounded by the wonderment of the outdoors, they fell in love. Eager to settle down, the happy couple married in August 2009. Together they raised three beautiful children.
As a mother, Lil was committed to ensuring her children were active and involved in their school community. She held high expectations and always made sure they kept up with their homework. They particularly bonded over bedtime stories each night. Dedicated and involved in their activities, Lil enjoyed coaching Girls on the Run as well as the global reading club. Some of her favorite memories as a family were their camping trips in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula, North Carolina, and Long Point, Ontario. Lil and Jason shared trips to Disney World, Maine, visiting family down south, and numerous trips to any of the great lakes. She instilled in her children the value of living a life of service for others, being forgiving, and genuinely loving and cherishing one another.
Lil was never one to remain idle. In addition to her hard work in her professional field, she always thought of others first. She was committed to the Kalamazoo Refugee Resource Collaborative and passionate about many issues including human rights, the power of literacy, the necessity of kindness and common sense, and the strength of diversity. Remarkably committed to her community, she organized the Steam night/ science fair for her kids elementary school and served on the PTO. When it came to her own special pastimes, Lil was an excellent euchre partner and would run the table with her dad as her partner! She also belonged to a group of quilters, Grandma’s Peacemakers. Above all else, nothing brought her more joy than being surrounded by people.
Selfless and giving, it was no surprise to those who knew her that during her battle with cancer she participated in clinical trials at Duke, Henry Ford, the University of Michigan, and others. As a result, her journey has provided invaluable data to numerous academic sources. Everyone who knew her will miss her beautiful smile, kind heart, and determined personality. Although it was heartbreaking to let her go, her family is grateful that she is now without pain. May they never doubt her love for them and may her memories be eternal.
Elizabeth “Lil” Green Walker, age 38, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, passed away on December 23, 2022. Her life was cut short by glioblastoma; a form of brain cancer. Lil lived by the words of Mae Jemison, Engineer, Physician, and Former NASA Astronaut, “Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it and make it the life you want to live.”
Lil is survived by her husband Jason; daughter, Hadley; son, Jonah; and daughter, Eloise; as well as her mother, Gayle; father, Daniel; siblings: Monica (Mark) Graham, Jeremiah (Jill) Green, and Samantha (Mark) DeVries; many nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and maternal grandmother and grandfather Sherman and Maryann Greider.
Please join us for a Life Story Visitation on Thursday, December 29, 2022, from 5-8 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A funeral service will be held at Portage Chapel Hill Church on Friday, December 30, 2022, at 1 PM with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, Lil would prefer that you donate to the National Brain Tumor Society, Planned Parenthood, or the Kalamazoo Refugee Resource Collaborative. Please visit Lil’s webpage BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, and photos, or sign her guestbook.