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Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Jan Taber, it is easy to see both her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She was always willing to go above and beyond to serve others in ways both great and small. Nothing brought Jan greater joy than spending time with her loved ones, even in the simplest of moments. She faced challenges head-on with a spirit of determination, and her solid work ethic formed the foundation of her life. Forever loved, Jan will be dearly missed by those who knew her best.
The 1950s in the United States are remembered as a time of great and influential change. Elvis Presley took the music world by storm, and James Dean and Marilyn Monroe were influential names on the silver screen. It was during this exciting time that Robert and Doreen (Raymer) Klaiss of Battle Creek, Michigan, were eagerly anticipating the arrival of their second child. On May 3, 1956, their wait was over, and they welcomed their daughter, Doreen “Jan”, into the world.
Growing up, Jan was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home in Augusta alongside her sister, Annie, who was ten years older. Jan’s father supported the family by working at Kellogg’s while her mother remained at home, caring for the children. Throughout her childhood, Jan always loved swimming and would always make sure that any hotel the family visited had a pool. Her mother was the leader of Campfire Girls, so Jan would spend a lot of time with her mother from a young age. During her school years, she could be found sleeping on her books during class, a trait she continued her entire life, and was a cheerleader. Jan graduated from Gull Lake School in 1974, ready to move on to bigger and better things.
All who knew Jan can certainly agree that, of all the things she loved in life, she treasured her family above all else. Over the years, she was overjoyed to welcome her two children, Jessica and Bob, into her heart and home. Jan thrived in her role as a mother and did her best to raise her children into kind and hardworking individuals. Later in life, she was thrilled to become a grandmother to Chad “CJ” and Charlie as well. Jan loved her cat, Bear, who was a constant companion. Throughout her life, she always considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
It was easy to see that Jan was never afraid to work hard when it came to providing for herself and her family. She worked in hospitality throughout her entire life. Jan started working as a maid and server and eventually worked her way up to general manager. Her current position was GM at Holiday Inn Express on Cork Street, changing the shape of a male dominated industry and earning respect from her peers along the way. As many can attest, she was known for her efficient systems and strong work ethic. Jan was always willing to do what needed to be done, whether working at the front desk or cleaning rooms or solving complicated problems. Later, she was proud to introduce her grandson, CJ, into the hospitality business. Jessica was also working for Jan, and work became a true family endeavor. CJ spent the last year with Jan and was learning the ropes from the best. They were a great team, and the future was bright. Jan was so proud of CJ and was humbled by his genuine interest. Though her children often wished she would slow down, Jan was dedicated to her career and strove for success.
Never one to sit still, Jan pursued many hobbies to stay busy in her free time. She enjoyed staying active and worked out with her daughter. Jan was not a cook and would often joke, “If you want something burned, I’ll make it for you.” She did, however, have a sweet tooth and especially liked frosted chocolate donuts. Disney World was Jan’s happy place. She loved the magic of it and enjoyed singing Disney songs. Over the years Jan visited Disney World at least a dozen times. She met several celebrities that would stay at her hotel and was particularly fond of the time she meet Alice Cooper. She enjoyed watching musicals and plays at Miller Auditorium. Jan liked going to Frankenmuth and the Holland Tulip Festival. She loved doing arts and crafts and always seemed to have a project in process.
Jan was a serving member of her community and truly valued the needs of others above her own. She had a true passion for talking to people and making their day better in any way she could. Jan always did her best to accommodate those around her. Making other people happy made her feel happy, and she was only comfortable if others were, too. She was naturally conversational, and interacting with others came very easily to her, and Jan also loved making those around her laugh.
As her family and friends can surely attest, Jan Taber truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times, and she always had an encouraging word to say. A proud mother and grandmother, Jan was deeply loved by many and a friend to all she met. She was devoted to serving those around her, and she poured her heart and soul into all that she did. Though she will be deeply missed, Jan leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
Jan (Klaiss) Taber, of Mattawan, age 67, died unexpectedly on December 16, 2023 at her home. She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Doreen (Raymer) Klaiss and by her dog, “Lady.” Members of her family include her children: Bob Hewitt and Jessica Hewitt; grandchildren: Chad and Charlie; sister, Annie (Larry) Potgiesser; cat, “Bear” and countless friends. Cremation will take place a Celebration will be held at a later date. Visit Jan’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign her guestbook. In Jan’s honor and memory please do a random act of kindness. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009 (269) 375-2900