Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Emilia Crookston

January 6, 1925 - February 25, 2018
Kalamazoo, MI



Thursday, March 1, 2018
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

The Rosary will be recited at 8 PM.

Driving Directions


Friday, March 2, 2018
10:00 AM EST
St. Mary's Catholic Church
939 Charlotte Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
(269) 342-0621

Burial 12 Noon Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Lunch will follow at Fr. Bart Hall.

Web Site


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.

Great Lakes Caring Hospice
6120 Stadium Drive, Suite 100
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 379-1600
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

Life Story / Obituary


Emilia Anna (Czernecki) Crookston died February 25, 2018, at home. She was 93.

Millie was the daughter of Polish immigrants Julius and Anna Czernecki and lived her entire life within two miles of her birthplace in Parchment. She raised children from the birth of her first in 1948 to the high school graduation of her last in 1986 and beyond. At the same time she founded and ran two successful companies with her husband, Joe, and ran the household and the farm.

The sheer enormity of the work did not stop her from a constant pursuit of knowledge. Her shelves overflowed with books and interesting articles, she practiced alternative healing long before it was popular, she was active in politics, a proud American, grateful for our freedoms, and keenly aware of the state of the world.

Unaware of what an excellent driver she was, she was more remarkable for never criticizing others for their sometimes death-defying maneuvers. Her favorite short trip was to visit her Amish friends, and she loved recounting a drive through Ireland in the 1990s when she and Joe picked up and befriended a hitchhiker.

She enjoyed watching football and baseball, doing puzzles, and playing pinochle with her husband, kids, and friends Jack and Dorothy Welborn. She especially looked forward to the Monday night meetings of her Fat Ladies’ Club, a special group of women. As a young mother she was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church choir; she had a beautiful alto voice. And for many years she was active in an effort to preserve the traditional Catholic mass and teachings. The enduring legacy of her faith is the comfort that reciting the rosary afforded her.

She leaves behind her husband, Joseph Crookston, a decorated army veteran, with whom she had recently marked their 70th wedding anniversary. She is survived by their 14 children and their spouses: Sr. Anne Joseph Crookston of Cleveland, Ohio, Joe Crookston and Susan, Jane Middleton and Vern, John Crookston and Linda, Emilia (Amy) Nordquist and Ron, Denny Crookston and Teresa, Martha Pacheco and Ruben, Tim Crookston, Agustin Crookston and Lilia, Fred Crookston and Julie, Mary O’Brien and Patrick, Chris Crookston, and Julie Thomas all of the Kalamazoo area and Margaret Lombard and Brendan of Quincy, Massachusetts. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Todd Middleton, Jennifer Beebe, Chris Middleton, Eric Newton, Keith Newton, Rob Crookston, Bill Crookston, Katie Crookston, Jeremy Nordquist, Angie Schuster, Brad Nordquist, DJ Nordquist, Miles Crookston, Mackenzie Vandenbos, Scott Pacheco, Lee Pacheco, Peter Pacheco, Gina Pacheco, Madison Crookston, Timothy Lombard, Pearse Lombard, Mary Helena Nunes, Hannah Crookston, Micaiah Crookston, Isaiah Crookston, Jeremiah Crookston, Hadassah Crookston, Drue Crookston, Carly Kellerman, Shelby Warner, Taylor Crookston, Daniel O’Brien, Brendan O’Brien, Kieran O’Brien, Emilia (Emme) O’Brien, Chris Thomas, Cory Thomas, and Nikki Thomas. One sister, Mary Hale, lives in San Diego, California. She had numerous nephews, nieces, and extended family.

Millie was grandmother to 41 and great-grandmother to 23, and will be greeted in the next world by Amy Marie Middleton, Nathan Nordquist, and Elizabeth Nordquist, sweet babies who never saw their first birthdays. She is also predeceased by three brothers: Edward Czernecki who gave his life in WWII, Paul Czernecki, and Mike Czernecki, and two sisters: Helen Roberts and Julie Schiebergen.

Visiting hours 5-8 PM, with a rosary at 8 PM Thursday, March 1, Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo. A funeral mass will be held Friday, March 2, 10 AM, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 939 Charlotte Ave, Kalamazoo. Interment at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Battle Creek, following the service. Mourners are invited to a luncheon immediately following the interment back at Fr. Bart Hall at St Mary’s in Kalamazoo. Please visit Millie’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo of her and sign online guestbook. Sending flowers is encouraged. Memorial contributions may be made to Great Lakes Caring Hospice.