Life Story Visitation
Sunday, October 30, 2022
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Please join us for a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Monday, October 31, 2022
11:15 AM EDT
Mt. Ever Rest Memorial Park North
1717 N Drake Rd
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
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.
Alzheimer's Association - Michigan Great Lakes Chapter
200 Turwill Ln Suite 6
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
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
When reflecting on the life of Janice Burrous-Farrell, it is easy to see that her focus was never on material things, rather, it was on creating meaningful relationships and experiences with those she loved. She gave everything she did her all, and she was someone who knew what she wanted and made sure others did as well. A more devoted wife and mother would be hard to find, and Jan’s heart only grew more full when grandchildren came into her world. A longtime member of the community she loved, a stranger was never a stranger for long when Jan was around. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
With the end of WWII in 1945, America was making the shift to being a nation at peace once again. Rationing had become a thing of the past, and the baby boom was underway. It was during this exciting time that George and Clara (Raymond) Schoenmaker were filled with some excitement of their own as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Janice on July 28, 1948, in Muskegon, Michigan. She was the oldest of five and the only girl as she was joined in her family by her brothers, Tom, Bruce, Gary, and Larry. As the oldest, Jan often babysat for her brothers. She attended local schools where she played the flute in the band during high school. In addition to holding down her studies, Jan got her first job in a local ice cream parlor.
Life was forever changed for Jan when she met the man with whom she would create an amazing life. His name was Richard (Dick) Burrous, and they met during high school in Muskegon. Together they welcomed two children, Shelly and Craig, into their hearts and home. During these early years, Jan worked making molds of teeth in a dental lab. They moved to Grand Rapids while Dick was finishing up school and, once he was finished, they moved to Mattawan where Jan focused on raising their children. They settled into a home they built in 1972, doing much of the work themselves. Through this they also established a group of friends within the neighborhood who remained close for the rest of Jan’s life.
One of the things Jan and Dick loved doing together was traveling, especially in the Caribbean. They also went to Mexico a few times. Their plans changed once Dick was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He quickly set to work building a business so that Jan would be able to have a steady income after he passed away. While he fought his cancer battle, Jan was there to be his champion and strongest supporter. After his death in 1986, Jan owned Mattawan Mini Storage, which became a perfect fit for her as she loved fostering relationships with her customers. She was the sort of person who took someone at their word, and because she focused on truly knowing her customers, she never really had to worry about whether or not a tenant would pay their bill. Jan just loved learning about her customers’ lives, and she often came home and shared their fascinating stories with her loved ones. The business was built on the good rapport with customers and the word of mouth this brought about. Jan continued to operate the business until just a few years ago when she retired.
New and exciting changes were in store for Jan in 1987 when she met a man named Dave Farrell through his sister, Jeannie, who also lived in Jan’s neighborhood. They later married, and together enjoyed so many of the same things such as cards and golf. They maintained a close group of friends who regularly met for dinner. Since Jan was someone who knew what she wanted, she always had a question for the waiter. It was impossible for her to simply order off the menu. As a result, Jan’s friends made sure she was the one to order last so she had all the time she needed!
Jan’s most treasured moments were spent making memories with her friends and loved ones. She genuinely enjoyed feeding the people she loved, and she was known to make far too much food. Leftovers were a way of life in Jan’s kitchen, but they were always so amazing for everyone except Jan, who never cared for leftovers! Jan and a friend also did some catering for events together for a while as well, often bringing the leftovers home to share. Pine Lake was a favorite getaway, and it started in the late seventies when her children were young. Jan and Dick were introduced to this amazing place by some friends in the neighborhood. Over the years they met other couples from Grand Rapids, and this led to a lifetime of annual trips there. This is a tradition that still remains with both Dave and Jan’s kids, and their grandkids, complete with seven cabins for the same seven families for more than 40 years now. Jan and her girlfriends often got up before the sun to go fishing. Their thermoses were famously filled with their cocktail of choice - pink squirrels! Jan loved gardening and flowers, and she also had a lifelong love for sewing. For many years she had a sewing project going with her mom, crafting quilts for each of Clara’s granddaughters. Christmas was always a special time, and she loved spoiling her kids and grandkids. Their stockings would be overflowing with goodies, and of course the food delicious…and endless.
Although most of her time was centered on her family, Jan kept busy in other ways as well. Truly selfless, she continually gave of her time and talent. Genuine, kind, and compassionate, she was an amazing caretaker of others. Jan could be a bit persnickety in how she liked things to be done, and she always won these kinds of conversations. Once, while renovating their basement, Dave had been completing the work himself as he was a talented builder. When it came time to choose the carpet, Jan had her opinion. However, in a rare instance, Dave won the conversation and chose the carpet himself! Jan also enjoyed music and was known to sing to the Beach Boys, but anything from the sixties and seventies always made her smile.
All who knew Jan would agree that she had a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. She lived to love, care for, and nurture others, and she made such an impact in the lives of those around her in ways both great and small. Jan faced whatever came her way head on with grace, humility, and unwavering strength. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
Janice Burrous-Farrell of Kalamazoo, age 74, died on October 23, 2022. Jan was preceded in death by her first husband, Richard “Dick” Burrous; and her father, George Schoenmaker. Surviving are her husband, Dave Farrell; her children: Shelly (Tim) Claflin and Craig Burrous; and stepchildren: Tim Farrell and Paige (Eric) Daniels; grand-children: Jace and Benjamin Claflin, Aidan and Garin Farrell; mother, Clara Schoenmaker; siblings: Tom (Gayle) Schoenmaker, Bruce (Naomi) Schoenmaker, Gary (Sally) Schoenmaker, and Larry (Sue) Schoenmaker; and many nieces and nephews.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Sunday (OCT 30) from 2-4 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Burial will take place Monday (OCT 31) at 11:15 AM at Mount Ever Rest Memorial Park North. Visit Janice’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer's Association.