Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Jackie Crow

January 7, 1940 - January 23, 2020
Kalamazoo, MI



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.

Crow Family Trust FBO Jayne Franklin
13880 G K Dr
Bath, MI 48808


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
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Life Story / Obituary


Vivacious, loving, and beautiful, Jackie Crow lived a life filled with family and friends. With a generous heart and lively sense of humor, Jackie welcomed each day as a gift and embraced every person as a friend. Born with a natural affinity for people, Jackie loved talking and could strike up an engaging conversation with anyone, even the most committed curmudgeon. She never hesitated to give of her time and talents in the service of others, and naturally knew how to lighten even the darkest of days. It was simply impossible for anyone not to feel welcome, cared for, and hopeful when sharing her good company. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Jackie's legacy of love and laughter will long be remembered in the hearts of those she loved.

With the rearming of US forces, the strains of the Great Depression began to ease. Americans' incomes grew fueling the economy. The optimism of leaving the depression behind inspired the making of several classic movies, including "Gone With the Wind,” while the invigorating sounds of Benny Goodman and Count Basie's Jazz filled our homes with hope. Newly invented Nylon stockings were all the rage with women, and FDR was elected for an unprecedented third term. It seems fitting that within this time of rebirth, generosity, and hope that Jackie entered the world on January 7, 1940.

Born in Lansing, Jackie's parents divorced when she was very young, and she lived for a time with her grandparents, Fred and Clara Eyestone, on Beal Street in East Lansing, MI. Her early years were marked by days spent running up and down the street, adventuring and playing near the then Michigan Agricultural College, where her grandfather was a long-time employee. She often stayed out all day, causing her grandparents angst in trying to find and keep up with her. Later, Jackie moved to the end of Frederick St. where she lived with her father, Harold B. Eyestone, and stepmother, Peggy. She enjoyed fishing with her father at the pond near their home and the thrill of eating their catch. Over the years, she enjoyed the company of many of the family and hunting dogs, but her most beloved canine companion was Pepper, a toy Manchester Terrier.

Jackie was proud of her family. While her father drove a cement mixer for Boichot Concrete, and her stepmother worked as an office supervisor for the State of Michigan, her mother, Vergeline M. Miller, worked in the UAW union office as an office clerk. She was especially proud of her older step sister, Peggy Ann Parsons. Ten years younger than Peggy, Jackie looked up to her talented older sibling and frequently shared her pride in Peggy's painting, writing, and horsemanship skills.

As a teen, Jackie enjoyed the special dresses and shoes she wore going to school dances and the prom. Her first job was working as a carhop at the Nip-n-Sip Drive-In, where she wore roller skates to wait on the cars. She frequently told the story of how the boys liked to stack coins on her tray and dare her not to spill them to keep the tip. Never one to run from a challenge, Jackie triumphantly skated away with their money.

After graduating from Lansing Eastern High School with the class of 1957, Jackie began working for the State of Michigan as an office clerk in the Department of Education. She proudly served the state for many years until she retired.

Jackie married school sweetheart, Robert Mote, in a small family ceremony at the Valley Farms Baptist Church just a few weeks after her high school graduation. As his wife, she was able to follow him to Norfolk, Virginia, for a year while he served in the Navy. In time, they welcomed their daughter, Julie, and their son, Rob, into their family. Jackie relished in motherhood and delighted in creating a loving home for her family. She and her husband enjoyed playing cards and canoeing with family and friends. Jackie also liked playing board games, but she had a competitive edge that could make it tough to agree to play with her. Her children were warned about how their mother once dumped the Chinese checkerboard and sent the marbles flying because she didn't want to lose.

When her children were young, the family often traveled on weekends to her mother's cottage on Horsehead Lake where they enjoyed fishing and swimming. In the evenings and when it rained, she and her mother would play Scrabble and card games. Jackie enjoyed being "room mother" and helping with classroom parties. A bit mischievous at heart, Jackie enjoyed a good surprise. One Halloween, she disguised herself as a duck hunter for the school parade. She carefully drew on a beard so her daughter would not recognize her and surprised her at the end of the party.

After divorcing in 1980, Jackie had the good fortune of finding love again when she met Merle at a square dance. They partnered and married in November 1984. When she married Merle, she was also happy to welcome the families of Sharon, Daniel and Michael, and the long running joke she liked to tell was that she had to marry into the Crow family to be a grandmother. In addition to dancing, they enjoyed bicycle riding, traveling, and woodworking. They trained and volunteered for disaster relief with the American Red Cross and spent some time in service in Florida following a hurricane. They also worked on several mission trips at church camps. Always open to an adventure, they went on an Alaskan bus tour and toured the New England coastline on a tandem bicycle.

As her children grew into adulthood, Jackie embraced her growing family and delighted in being a grandmother and great-grandmother! She treasured her grandchildren and found ways to support them in each of their endeavors. She proudly and enthusiastically attended their soccer games, plays, and band concerts. And, she helped with fundraisers, college, and career certifications. In Jackie's eyes, her grandchildren easily saw how loved and valued they were. Her unwavering faith in each of them is a gift they will long treasure.

Jackie was very talented in knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, and quilting. In her youth, when money was tight for thread, she once unwound used doilies so she could use the thread to crochet a complex deer pattern. She was a member of the Asbury Methodist Church Quilting club. The club members worked together to make quilted sleeping bags for the homeless as well as many other quilts for charity. Throughout her life, Jackie lovingly created numerous hand-crafted items for her family and friends. She made baby blankets for every new member of the family and signature quilts for each grandchild when they graduated high school. She also taught many of them to sew and quilt.

It's no surprise, with her love for people, that Jackie's home often opened its doors for entertainment and fellowship. She loved and hosted many big holiday dinners and enjoyed large family gatherings. She kept her Christmas tree up well into February because she enjoyed the lights and decorations so much. She had each family member provide an ornament that represented them on her tree.

A woman who easily found joy in just about everything, Jackie enjoyed romance novels, Lifetime & Hallmark movies, and listening to the many songs of her favorite singer, Elvis Presley. She loved feeding and watching the birds. She liked to whistle like a bird for the young children and was delighted in the nickname "Grandma Birdie" bestowed upon her by her great-granddaughter. Her favorite colors were maroon and red, which she often wore. After retiring, she had long fingernails that were always meticulously manicured. As she dealt with some health issues, she said no matter how rough her day was going, at least she had beautiful nails.

With her lively sense of humor, Jackie could be a bit outrageous and a little mischievous from time to time. She thrilled in nothing more than sharing a laugh with a loved one and knowing she'd inspired a little joy in their life. She often spoke fondly of her dear friend, Jayne, who she loved to spend time with. Their friendship inspired Jackie to have Merle build a wheelchair ramp so Jayne could visit her house. She and her friends played Euchre and Bingo regularly at the Williamston Estates clubhouse, her participation in The Red Hat Society afforded her time with like-minded women who also embraced life and enjoyed a bit of mischief. While she enjoyed giving her time and talents, she also recognized the need to do so in a way that honored other's sense of pride. Once, when she wanted to help her sister, who was in a rough spot but too proud to accept help, Jackie had her daughter mail Peggy Ann an unidentified envelope from a remote location while on vacation. When the envelope of cash arrived, Jackie enjoyed letting her sister puzzle about and tell her the tale of the mystery gift she received in the mail. Never revealing the gift was from her, Jackie simply enjoyed knowing the cash helped her sister pay for her winter heating.

Without a doubt, Jackie was a gift for all who were blessed to share time with her. She knew how to create a good time for all; she listened with sincerity, saw the best in everyone, and made others feel that they were the most interesting person she had ever met. She lived each day to its fullest and inspired others to do so as well. Though her steadfast presence will surely be missed, her loving legacy will continue to live in each of our lives. With each moment we welcome a stranger with a smile, engage in a little mischief, envelop ourselves in one of her quilts, or find the sunshine amid a cloudy day, we celebrate the many ways we were loved by Jackie. And, in this way, she will continue to inspire others as she so inspired us.

Jackie Crow, age 80, died on January 23, 2020. Jackie was preceded in death by her husband, Merle, parents, and stepsister, Peggy Ann Parsons. Surviving are her children: Julie (Ric) Kienbaum and Rob (Sue) Mote; stepchildren: Sharon (Daniel) Wright, Michael (Diane) Crow, and Daniel (Mari-Jo) Crow; 17 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren and niece, Sandra Howard.

Services will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Crow Family Trust ℅ 13880 G K, Bath MI 48008, for Jayne Franklin. Jayne is Jackie's dearest friend, who was injured in a car accident. It was Jackie's wish to help Jayne with reliable wheelchair accessible transportation.

Visit Jackie's personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may read her Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, (269) 375-2900.