Thursday, February 20, 2020
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
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
A devoted mother, grandmother, and friend, Evelyn Schmidt, embraced life's joys and challenges and firmly believed in the power of service. It was important to Evelyn to always be honest and sometimes to remind you of things you didn’t want to hear. Her ability to help her kids think through tough issues or decisions was especially cherished.
In Mendon Michigan, William and Anna (Sesterhenn) Selzer welcomed their daughter Evelyn into their family on January 2, 1932. Born at home, Evelyn was welcomed by her six older siblings. While Evelyn's mother ran the home, her father worked various jobs to provide for the family but was happiest working the fields. Though her mother passed when she was just eight years old, Evelyn fondly remembered her mom baking several loaves of bread each week and sewing in her favorite chair.
Evelyn attended and graduated from Mendon Public schools. During her high school years, she played the clarinet in the marching band. She absolutely loved band and the band teacher. Another fond memory she held of her teen years, was when she attended a specialty dance with the coolest guy from Howe Military Academy.
On April 24, 1954, Evelyn married Richard Andrew Schmidt. Over 11 years, they were blessed to welcome five children to their family. While they later divorced, Evelyn felt the best thing from her marriage were her children. During these early years, Evelyn's family also grew to include Merv Mascarenhas, and later his brothers Ivan and Ron when they came to attend Western Michigan University. When the whole family later immigrated to Canada they became part of the extended Schmidt family.
Settling in Portage, Evelyn found great pleasure in building her home on the firm foundation of faith, love, and tradition. Many of these traditions began in the kitchen. Her children fondly remember their mom making homemade donuts and french fries. She made a lot of goulash and chipped beef on toast. Sundays were marked by the delicious smells of pot roast, potatoes and carrots. Birthdays centered around each child's meal of their choosing. A big white container above the stove held a stash of sandwich cookies the kids could always count on. She would buy windmill cookies for herself as she was the only one in the house who enjoyed them.
Christmas traditions included stockings full of goodies, the beloved cardboard fireplace and awaiting Merv's arrival with the anticipation of finally opening presents. Every year the tree was firmly tied to the front door and crowned with the same angel, even after her feathers began to molt. It delighted Evelyn to surprise the kids with an abundance of presents under the tree.
Well-known for her traditional "because I said so," and "Don't cry, or I'll give you something to cry about," parenting style, Evelyn also supported her kids in all their endeavors. For many years, the family ran a business making parakeet toys. They made the toys together in the basement then sold them to make some extra money. Evelyn also shared her love of Neil Diamond and Cat Stevens playing their classic tunes so often that all of her kids still know the lyrics by heart.
With a passion for family and a gift for event planning, Evelyn started an annual Selzer family reunion, which has continued for over 40 years. Many cherished memories have been made over the years playing bocce ball, badminton, and croquet. Evelyn's passion of family history and her German heritage led to an interest in genealogy. She was very good at tracing family roots for both her own family and for others'. She absolutely loved researching and discovering new information.
Evelyn was involved with many volunteer organizations both at her church and in the community. Her commitment to the community gave her cause to raise funds for organizations in which she strongly believed. She was particularly invested in the AED Fund. The cause was important to her because her son, Larry, died and was brought back to life by a defibrillator. For five years, she tirelessly worked for the organization she co-founded, and as a direct result of her efforts, 33 devices were placed with first responders!
Literacy was very important to Evelyn. She loved to read and delighted in gifting her grandchildren with books for birthdays and Christmas. She relished in the tradition of reading to her grandchildren and was particularly thrilled to be blessed to continue the tradition when she became a great-grandmother. Willow and Cole were her heart's delight, she also knew there was soon to be a third on the way. G.G. was immensely grateful for the gifts of their lives.
Though it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Evelyn's steadfast presence, may we find comfort in knowing that she always looked forward to reuniting with her mother. May we also find comfort in knowing that we carry the best of her legacy forward. Whether it is giving back to our community, playing bingo, scratching a lottery ticket, or playing cards or games with loved ones, we celebrate the many ways Evelyn gifted us. And, in so doing we keep her spirit alive.
Evelyn (Selzer) Schmidt went home to God on February 16, 2020. She was born in Mendon, MI, the daughter of William and Anna (Sesterhenn) Selzer. Along with her former husband, Richard, she raised five children in Portage – Rev. Kenneth, Dianne (William) Zeman, Michael (Lael Mulder), Lawrence (Marilyn), and Mary Anne (Rob) Baird. She also loved her three grandchildren - Christina, Taylor (Brandon), and Andy, and two great-grandchildren – Willow and Cole. She was a charter member of St. Catherine of Siena Parish. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Thursday, February 20th from 5-7PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home (6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900) where services will be held at 7PM. Private burial at Mt. EverRest Cemetery. Please visit Evelyn's personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming into the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts may be made to World Vision, her favorite charity; Huntington's Disease Society of America, or Trauma Recovery Associates. You're invited to wear mom's favorite color: any shade of green – she thought that would be "really cool!"