Wednesday, March 11, 2020
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments.
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
All who knew Eva Van Beck would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was fully devoted to her family, and there was nothing she savored more than being surrounded by the love of her husband, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchild. Eva was strong and resilient, and at the same time she was gracious, compassionate, and selfless. It was easy to see that she lived life to the fullest until her last days. Life will never be the same without Eva here, but she leaves behind a timeless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
The 1930s are recalled as some of the most trying days we have faced as a nation as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and things only became more concerning when a drought covered much of our nation’s heartland for nearly two years during this time. Amidst some of the most trying days, Charles and Genevieve Hacker couldn’t contain their joy as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Eva on December 18, 1934, in Ironton, Ohio. Eva’s father was a coal miner who later manufactured Kalamazoo Stove while her mother was a cook for the local schools. The youngest of six siblings, she moved to Michigan with her family when she was three. Eva attended St. Augustine Schools, where she graduated. When she was 11, she babysat for the Donovan family, who at the time owned the funeral home that has now become Betzler Life Story Funeral Home. Her favorite summer- time memory as a child was sitting on the front steps waiting for the iceman to come by so she could get some ice chips. When she was young, she lived by the railroad tracks. She and the other kids would play by the railroads tracks and get tar from the telephone poles to chew on.
Not to be forgotten during Eva’s years in high school was her blossoming romance with the man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was Jim Van Beck, and she was smitten with him because she said he was a charming rebel. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Eva and Jim were married on June 8, 1953, just after high school. Soon, they were blessed with their first child, and over the years they welcomed seven children including William, Michael, Richard, Robert, Joseph, Linda, and Lisa. Together she and Jim raised their children in the family home at 1716 Homecrest in Kalamazoo. Eva was an amazing mother who devoted her entire being to raising and caring for her children. Even the in-laws were seen as hers.
As a strong and steady presence in the lives of her family, Eva made even the ordinary extraordinary. She was involved in their activities including with Cub Scouts. Every year Eva took the kids on vacation including to her favorite place, Myrtle Beach. It was her tradition, that on the first day of vacation, she would make sure the day started off with donuts for everyone. She especially loved camping, and everyone at the campground called her “mom.” Eva always did a head count by name every time they got into the car, which was a good thing since she once discovered that she had to go back to the gas station to get their daughter, Lisa! On another occasion, she loaded the kids into the station wagon and started on their way, only to have Bob roll out of the car on accident. Rick tried to tell her but didn’t because he was afraid of getting in trouble. Thankfully, Eva soon figured out someone was missing! She was a great cook, and her turkey on Thanksgiving and ham on Christmas were among the family favorites. Eva was very thorough in planning and organizing all the events and activities, and all holidays were something to remember. She always made sure to get her kids what they wanted for Christmas, and even though she had seven kids there was never a shortage of presents. Eva often helped with the Halloween costumes, and helped make the holidays special. She has been described as “the kool-aid house mother” with a pool and an ice rink in the yard and all the neighborhood kids flocking to her home where she took care of them all. Eva was playful with her kids and made sure everyone always felt like they were uniquely loved. Eva taught her kids that honesty, character, courage, strength, consistency, and love were the most important. That, and how to count to three!
In addition to caring for her family, Eva kept busy in many other ways. She loved camping and traveling throughout her life as she traveled until just this past year. Eva spent 18 years working for State Farm and then spent nine years working for her son, Rick, as office manager for Van Beck Roofing. She was a skilled golfer and even got a hole in one at Mullenhurst. Although she originally took up golf to spend time with her husband, it ended up being something she really enjoyed. Eva loved the casinos, penny slots, and playing cards, and it has been said that she did a happy dance every time she won. She liked reading, and for years she bowled with her husband. It was customary that after bowling, they danced. She loved camping on the weekend, and she made some amazing memories while camping last summer. Eva enjoyed bourbon while sitting around the campfire with family.
When reflecting on the life of Eva Van Beck, it is easy to see that her contagious zest for life colored everything she did. She was the life of the party wherever she went, and her sense of humor was second to none. Eva has been compared to Betty White with her quick wit and sharp personality. She was always the last person up at night, but some-how she could always manage to be the first one up, too. Eva’s deep devotion to her family was priceless, and her loved ones were her greatest source of pride and joy. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed. She had said that the first thing she would do when she got to heaven was dance. Jim and Eva are getting that opportunity yet again!
Eva Van Beck age 85, of Kalamazoo, passed March 7, 2020 at 9:45 a.m. Eva was preceded in death by her husband, James; two sons, William and Michael Van Beck. Eva’s family includes her sons: Richard (Cindy) Van Beck, Robert Van Beck, Joseph (Janeth) Van Beck of Kalamazoo, and daughters: Linda (Karl) Mott of Plainwell and Lisa (Harold) Sherer of Arizona and 28 grandchildren and many great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandson. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Wednesday (MARCH 11) from 5-7 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A celebration of her life will be Thursday (March 12) 11 a.m. A luncheon will follow in the Life Story Center with burial taking place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery at 2 p.m. Please visit Eva’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be given to Hospice of South West Michigan.