Life Story Visitation
Life Story Service
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.
Kalamazoo Animal Rescue
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Life Story / Obituary
Kind, generous, and loving, Joann Burton Hudson lived a life rich in faith and family. Joann was a caring, devoted, resourceful, and independent mother. While her directional skills were lacking, she never Shied from a difficult project that challenged her creativity and celebrated her gift for figuring things out to make the best of the situation. A natural teacher, Joann never hesitated to give her gifts in service to others and truly enjoyed sharing all that she knew. Regardless of life’s hardships, Joann always led with her heart choosing love and faith at every turn. An inspiration to all who knew her, Joann will long live in the hearts of those she so dearly loved.
1955 proved a year of vibrant growth, with consumerism taking off in previously unimaginable ways. With the sale of nearly 7.9 million cars, for the first time in history seven out of ten families in the US owned an automobile, and new laws were created to require seat belts to be installed on all new cars. This was the year Ray Kroc built the first McDonald’s, and TV dinners appeared, including the first fish fingers. Cans of Coca-Cola, Lego, Velcro, and The Mickey Mouse Club all debuted during this prosperous year while Rock and Roll music continued to grow in popularity with more idols including Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry and The Platters. Locally, this time of hope and plenty grew especially bright as Wynell and Donald Burton welcomed their daughter Joann into their hearts and home on September 26.
Growing up in an eastside neighborhood in Kalamazoo, Joann was a typical middle child. Shy and quiet. She did not like confrontation especially with her two sisters, Dolly and Joyce. As a child Joann and her sisters would play for hours outside. Building their own playhouses in the lot next door, playing kick the can, mother may I, hide and seek, and red light green light with the neighborhood kids, of course until the street lights came on! Joann always always loved animals. She would even talk to Lassie and Rin Tin Tin while watching television. Her father worked as a reserve deputy at the Kalamazoo sheriff's office and started his own business with plumbing and snow plowing in the 70’s, Burton Plumbing and Burton Snowplowing. Her mother tended to the home and children.
Joann attended Kalamazoo public schools and Kalamazoo Central High School for her senior year. For a time, she worked as a Candy Striper at Borgess Hospital and later worked at Shakespeare’s Rod and Reel. At the age of 17, Joann fell for George Nieman, who was much older at the time. They both enjoyed a good time and shared a lot of fun times and were blessed with their daughter Melony in 1978. Though they never married and the relationship ended after five years, the gift of parenthood was something Joann always treasured.
In 1982, while dating Thomas Nuyen, Joann was blessed to welcome her second daughter, Jennifer. For several years, Joann stayed home and raised her daughters as a single mother. In 1985, she married Orville Hudson and moved to Allegan in 1988. There they started a little homestead full of animals and love. She kept at home to tend to the house, children, and animals until the kids started public school in 1995.
Devoted to caring for her family, Joann poured herself into homeschooling her girls, tending a large garden, and having lots of pets. She was a great homeschool teacher and was very organized, crafty, and resourceful. She also taught her girls how to can the bounty from their garden. Lots of canned tomatoes, salsa, pickles, beans, and pickled watermelon rinds were just some of the treasures they preserved and delighted in eating throughout the year. She made simple meals such as beans with ham hocks, liver and onions, and goulash. She was also known for sprinkling brown sugar on vegetables and loved butter pecan ice cream. Joann relished the simple life and did the best she could with what she had. Over the years, she created a sanctuary for many animals, including four horses, chickens, ducks, rabbits, birds, fish, lizards, many dogs, and many, many cats. She loved her rescue dog Jasmine, cat Kiss (named after the band), and her horse Satin. “Hudson Animal Rescue” was a true reflection of her enormous love for animals.
Holidays were very important and enjoyed decorating and making them special for her children.
After 14 years of marriage, Joann and Orville went their separate ways. In time, she reconnected with Thomas, and they remained significant others. She was the love of his life.
Joann found her calling when she began working for the Sister of St. Joseph’s Nazareth Center. She loved the nuns and being a part of a sacred community. Smart, resourceful, and dedicated, she worked her way to becoming the manager of the housekeeping department and kept it all spic and span. Her unwavering commitment was evident in that, despite being sick, she never took a single sick day. She also never shared with anyone that she had been sick. Instead, she gave her all right up her retirement 22 days ago.
In her quiet time, Joan loved to read, listen to music, and share time with her loved ones. She read everything from mystery novels to the Bible, which she read many times over. She remained a passionate and devoted fan and loved watching her favorite football team the Detroit Lions and NASCAR. Yelling at the tv during games was a give in. She loved the music of her youth, often dancing her signature one gig move to Classic Rock artists like CCR, Fleetwood Mac, and James Gang. Simple travels to local parks like Milham Park and the Lake Michigan shoreline were always a good time. She loved the outdoors such as trips to Deer Lick park and camping where where she shared many special memories there. She treasured her faith community and loved nothing more than sharing time with her family. Birthdays, holidays, and family vacations were always treasured times together. A family trip to Miami that required sleeping in the car one night after missing a flight was definitely a special memory. She delighted in the Sugar Factory in Miami, and drinking fancy drinks on South Beach.
Though our days with Joann were far too few, every moment shared with her was filled with priceless memories and an abundance of love. Joann embodied the principles of her faith and, in so doing, proved a powerful role model for how to live a wholehearted life. It is this beautiful legacy that will continue to inspire those who were so blessed to know her.
Joann Burton Hudson, age 66, died peacefully at her home on August 17, 2022. She was preceded in death by her father, Donald Burton. Members of her family include 2 daughters: Melony (Ryan) Kurzava and Jennifer Burton (Stephen Rudy); stepson, Timothy VanTilburg; 12 grandchildren: Michaela, Christopher, Ava, Isla, Eliza, Ethan, Olivia, Joanna, Clara, Amira, Jonah, and Jude; her mother, Wynell Burton; and 2 sisters: Dolly (Dean) Roselip and Joyce Burton. A Life Story Service will be held Wednesday (AUG 24) 11AM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 with visitation beginning at 10AM.
Cremation will follow. Please visit Joann’s personal web page at BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read her life story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Animal Rescue.