Life Story Visitation
Thursday, December 30, 2021
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Please join us for a Life Story Visitation where food, refreshments, and stories will be shared.
Life Story Service
Friday, December 31, 2021
10:00 AM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
A reception with food and refreshments will follow in the Life Story Center. Burial at West Cooper Cemetery.
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
As her family and friends can attest, Gloria Stender truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a shining example of kindness and charity, and she had an insatiable zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. Gloria was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times, and she took whatever came her way in stride. She treasured her family above all else, and she was always willing to go above and beyond to serve others. Deeply loved, Gloria will be dearly missed.
With the end of WWII in 1945, America was making the shift to becoming a nation at peace once again. Rationing had become a thing of the past, and the baby boom was underway. Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole filled our radios with their tunes and Loretta Young and Gregory Peck entertained us on the silver screen. It was also during this transitional time that Ardell and Francis (Tenney) Henry were pleased to announce the birth of the baby girl they named Gloria on June 29, 1948, in Flint, Michigan.
Growing up, Gloria was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home in Flint as one of eight children as she was joined in her family by her siblings, Kenneth, Darryl, Ardeth, Terry, Trudy, Linda, and Debbie. The family owned a summer cottage on Lake Fenton, and this cottage was one of Gloria’s favorite places to visit as well as the setting of many priceless memories. She worked her way through local schools and excelled as a student, forming the strong work ethic that would serve her well through her entire life. Following her high school graduation, Gloria went on to attend Western Michigan University. She continued to work hard, and was determined to succeed at everything she put her mind to. Gloria graduated from WMU with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Gloria as she met the man who would become the love of her life. His name was Dale Stender, and the two first connected in the fall of 1969 while both were attending WMU. They met at a party after a football game. Dale was immediately attracted to Gloria, and eventually caught her interest. Over time, their relationship continued to deepen, and it didn’t take long for the two to realize they were made for each other. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Gloria and Dale were married on August 1, 1970.
Once she had received her degree, Gloria began her career as a dental assistant. After becoming a mother, she worked part-time so she could be home with her children. She later taught evening classes at Grand Rapids Educational Center, where she became the Director of Education. When a location in Kalamazoo was opened, Gloria was asked to run the school. She gratefully accepted the opportunity and used her career as a way to serve others tirelessly. Gloria went on to become president of Everest Institute in Kalamazoo, a medical vocational school. She had a natural talent for running the school and leading others, and she loved to offer students a quality education.
All who knew Gloria can certainly agree that she loved her family and friends above all else. She was overjoyed to become a mother, and she and Dale welcomed their two children, Deric and Rachael, into their hearts and home. Gloria was truly the best mom ever. Since she only worked part time when her kids were young, she was able to be very involved in their lives. Gloria was her children’s biggest supporter, and she could be found at every sporting and cheerleading event. She did her best to make sure that Deric and Rachael never wanted for anything, and she loved to take care of and provide for them. Later in life, Gloria was thrilled to become a grandmother and watch her family grow to include six grandchildren. She served as an example of parenting for her own children and gave them a solid foundation. Gloria was known to organize activities for the whole family to keep them close, and she considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Never one to sit still for long, Gloria pursued many hobbies to stay busy in her free time. Every Thursday, she would have lunch with the girls. They would also take trips to Chicago for Christmas shopping. She liked to go camping and spend time outdoors, and she was always ready to try new things. Gloria loved going on adventures so long as her feet remained planted on the ground as she was terrified of heights! Among her favorite memories were time spent skiing in Colorado and water skiing on Gun Lake. Gloria and Dale bought a home on Gun Lake, right next to the state park, and loved spending days on the water. They spent as much time there as they could, especially in the summer. Gloria enjoyed watching her grandchildren as often as possible and keeping family traditions alive. Holidays were always planned in advance, and everyone received a Valentine’s gift every year. She organized Easter egg hunts and Halloween parties, and on Christmas Eve, she would take the grandchildren for some personal time together. During isolation through COVID these past few years, Gloria and Dale liked to take their grandchildren hiking on local trails to get everyone out of the house, even in the snow. She truly loved being outside, and she seized every opportunity to spend time with her loved ones.
When reflecting on the life of Gloria Stender, it is easy to see her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She loved to serve others, and she would often feel called to secretly look out for those in need. Gloria was known for her positive outlook on life, and her resilience and endurance were truly a testament to her inner strength. Her kind heart and serving spirit allowed her to touch the lives of countless others. Though she will be deeply missed, Gloria leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
Gloria Stender of Kalamazoo, age 73, died on December 26, 2021. Gloria was preceded in death by siblings: Kenneth Henry, Darryl Henry; Surviving are her husband, Dale; children: Deric (Fawn) Stender and Rachael Stender; grandchildren: Tyler Stender, Caleb Stender, Emma Patrick, Alivia Stender, Lindsey Stender, and Griffin Stender; siblings: Ardeth (Jay) Archer, Terry (Cindy) Henry, Trudy Iverson, Linda Argue, and Debbie (Tim) Meadows; and many nieces and nephews. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation 5-7 PM Thursday (DEC 30) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Funeral services will be held at 10 AM Friday (DEC 31) also at the funeral home with a reception to follow in the Life Story Center where food, refreshments, and stories will be shared. Burial at West Cooper Cemetery. Visit Gloria’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries.