Tuesday, December 27, 2022
11:00 AM EST
Zion Lutheran Church
2122 Bronson Blvd
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.
NOTE: Due to the current weather forecast and family travel, the service date has changed.
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.
A Charity of Your Choice
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Life Story / Obituary
Intelligent, driven, and committed to continual growth, Gloria Boodt lived a life rich in active learning and teaching. Gloria embodied the principles she believed in and led by example. She eagerly welcomed opportunities to grow her understanding while generously sharing all she knew. She relished witnessing people strive for and attain their goals, never hesitating to support them in any way she could and cheering them on at every turn. Gloria was steadfast in her belief in the potential of the learners she led, often loaning them her confidence until they built their own. A passionate and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, mentor, and friend, Gloria proved a powerful inspiration for all who were blessed to know her.
In the depths of the Great Depression, during which the nation strived to endure and build a better future, Lester and Irene (Warboy) Weiss welcomed their daughter, Gloria to their family on August 9, 1936. Gloria was the youngest of four children, which included her brother and sisters, Jim, Leslie, and Patricia (Pat).
During World War II, Gloria and her family lived in Plainwell, Michigan. There, her mother operated a boarding house for travelers within their home. Gloria frequently recalled how interesting it was to meet the people who stayed with them. In 1946, after the war, the family moved to Kalamazoo, where Gloria's father worked downtown as a motion picture projectionist at the State Theatre. Gloria's parents bought an old Victorian house on South Westnedge. Gloria had fond memories walking to school every day.
During her teen years, Gloria, who often went by the nickname "Glo," participated in many activities. These included Debate, Choir, Social Committee, French Club, Blue and Gold Revue, and Operetta. She was also a classically trained singer. She and her best friend Eva, who was also a singer, regularly performed together at gatherings of family and friends, sometimes with Leslie as well. They also enjoyed attending the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, where they would get the opportunity to watch accomplished musicians and singers perform.
After graduating from Western State High School with the class of 1954, Gloria received a partial scholarship to pursue a singing degree at a university in Arizona. However, she couldn't afford the remaining cost of attendance and had to pass on the opportunity. Instead, she stayed in Kalamazoo and worked at a doughnut shop. She later worked as the secretary for Zion Lutheran Church in Kalamazoo.
While working for the church, Gloria met her future husband, Neil. Gloria loved Neil for his kindness, his gentle elegance, his confidence, and the way he believed in her. With his encouragement, she accomplished things she never thought possible. Neil loved Gloria for her kindness and serious nature. He loved listening to her sing, especially in church, where she was occasionally a soloist. They were married on May 6, 1961, at Zion Lutheran Church.
During their marriage, Gloria and Neil enjoyed going out for coffee and a doughnut almost every day, during which they would discuss the day's events. They had a remarkable ability to effectively communicate with each other. Neil had great confidence in Gloria and constantly encouraged her. In Neil, Gloria found a companion and her greatest cheerleader.
Once married, Gloria had the opportunity to attend college. A natural student, Gloria earned both a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree from Western Michigan University. She began her teaching career with the Battle Creek Public Schools around 1970, where she taught elementary and middle school students at several different schools within the district. In her early years, she taught specific grade levels, later becoming a reading specialist. She was extremely good at teaching young kids to read. With great skill and tremendous wisdom, Gloria combined kindness, patience, high expectations, and an optimistic spirit that helped young people believe in themselves and want to succeed. Some of her students, particularly some of the underprivileged ones, came to her with no reading experience and left not just knowing how to read but loving it.
In 1978, Gloria graduated from Michigan State University with a PhD in Reading, Children's Literature, and Language Arts. She continued to teach with the Battle Creek Public Schools while also serving as an Adjunct Professor for Michigan State University. During those years, she taught during the day in Battle Creek. In the evening, she taught Michigan State University Education Department students at the main campus in East Lansing and other MSU locations around the State of Michigan.
University students loved taking Gloria's classes because she was both knowledgeable and had a way of explaining complex concepts in concise and accessible ways. As she had decades of "real world" classroom experience, she was also unique for a college professor in that she understood teaching from both philosophical and practical standpoints. Students quickly learned they could trust Gloria because she had actually applied at the classroom level, the concepts and techniques she taught at the university level.
In 1984, Gloria took a one-year sabbatical to teach as a visiting professor at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. During this experience, she developed her passion for university life. When later presented with the opportunity in 1989 to teach at Idaho State University, she accepted and moved to Pocatello, Idaho, for a year. After her husband died in 1992, Gloria taught at universities around the country, including Alma College (Alma, Michigan), Central College (Pella, Iowa), Western Oregon University (Monmouth, Oregon), and the College of Southern Nevada (Las Vegas, Nevada). She was one of the founders of Hillsdale Academy in Hillsdale, Michigan. She was also the author of several articles that appeared in academic publications and quoted many times by others. Though Gloria retired from full-time teaching in 2004, she continued to teach as an adjunct professor in online programs for several years thereafter.
The Boodt family was a sports family. A lot of Gloria and Neil's free time was spent at swim meets and baseball games. Many of the swim meets were all-day/all-weekend affairs. Gloria often graded papers in the stands between moments of exuberant cheering for her kids during their events. Gloria also spent a lot of time reading to her kids and grandkids and then, when they were older, teaching them how to write essays and classroom papers.
In 1998, Gloria moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to be close to her son, Bradley and his family. She later moved to Denver, Colorado when Bradley and his family re-located there. During these 24 years, she was a constant fixture at her grandchildren’s swim meets and baseball games, at holidays, family meals, vacations, and countless “life events.” She loved animals, and for many years had a dog (miniature Schnauzer) named Leo who was her constant companion. Even though she lived out West during her later years, she never lost her love of Michigan, and especially Lake Michigan. From 2004 until 2016, she would spend every summer at the beach in South Haven. She also spent considerable time in Northport. She was able to take one last trip there in June 2022, during which she spent hours looking at and listening to the lake and watching the ships go by.
Gloria loved classical music and opera her entire life. For a long time, she kept up on the events happening in the opera world and knew all the big names. She loved attending the opera in Chicago, Las Vegas, and Denver and spent many hours listening to classical music. She was also a voracious reader and enjoyed most genres of books but particularly loved fiction, murder mysteries, and stories set in Michigan. After retirement, she volunteered at several libraries where she would read to young children.
The first person in her family to attend college, Gloria was driven by a belief that she could always be better and go beyond present circumstances. Disciplined, hard-working, and constantly striving, she was proud of her academic accomplishments. Putting herself through college and graduate school while working two jobs made her walk across the stage to receive her PhD all the richer. Because education and continuous growth were her passions, witnessing all her children earn bachelor's and advanced degrees proved a great joy. As her family grew, she also had the privilege of sharing several of her grandchildren's college educations. Gloria is survived by three children, Douglas (Chicago, Illinois), Bradley (Greenwood Village, Colorado) and Jenell (Seattle, Washington), and seven grandchildren, Brittany, James, Dylan, Ryan, Anne, Rachel and Trevor.
Without a doubt, life feels less certain in the absence of Gloria's steadfast love and companionship. May we find much comfort in our many treasured memories and in the honor of carrying her legacy forward. In each moment we gather with loved ones, confidently face life's challenges, pursue our passions, share our gifts and talents, and cheer on our loved one's endeavors, we celebrate the many ways Gloria inspired us.
Gloria Boodt died on Thursday, December 8, 2022 at the Denver Hospice in Colorado. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, December 27, 2022, 11 AM at the Zion Lutheran Church, 2122 Bronson Blvd, Kalamazoo. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Gloria will be buried next her husband Neil at the Riverside Cemetery in Kalamazoo. Visit Gloria’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.