Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Jovita Perez

July 25, 1946 - September 8, 2022
Kalamazoo, MI


Life Story Visitation

Thursday, September 15, 2022
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Life Story Service

Friday, September 16, 2022
10:00 AM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Burial will be in the West Cooper Cemetery.


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

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


With a warm, welcoming heart Jovita Perez lived a life rich in family and friends. Jovita led with love and hope and never shied away from hard work. She was a natural problem solver who met life’s challenges with confident faith and always found ways to make life better for those who struggled. She created a loving home where all were welcome, respected, cared for, and inspired to believe that all would be well. A devoted mother, grandmother, and friend, Jovita will long be remembered and so very missed.

World War II engulfed virtually every aspect of the planet during the 1940’s. Though the war officially ended in 1945 and many American soldiers came home to a better life and country at the conclusion of the war, this could not be said for all who fought. For those of Hispanic descent there was still a struggle to have their voice heard and to gain equal rights and benefits that other Americans were given. Through persistence of people such as Gonzalo and Felicitas Méndez who brought a segregation lawsuit against the Westminster California school district (and won) change was happening slowly but surly for the Hispanic Community. Change was also happening in the tiny town of Progress Texas as Pamphilo and Maria (Rada) welcomed their daughter Jovita into the world on July 25, 1946.

The youngest of 12, Jovita’s early years were rich in family, hard work, and resourcefulness. Her parents were migrant workers who traveled to Michigan, Montana, and anywhere work could be found. At a very young age, Jovita started working in the fields with her family. Hard work was the cornerstone of the Rocha family’s life and proved the foundation upon which Jovita would carefully build the rest of her life.

Jovita was blessed to become a mother to three beautiful daughters as her three girls, Maria Guadalupe, Anna, and Rica, were her world. The family moved to Southwest Michigan and settled in the Fennville area. Jovita worked at Birds Eye Foods canning factory, American Aerosol, and eventually Magna Donnelly. She worked at the automotive supplier until she retired.

A loving and resourceful mother, Jovita raised her daughters with the same values she grew up with, family, faith, hard work, and generosity. She taught the girls how to cook, clean, and the importance of efficiently running a household. She also shared the importance of nurturing relationships with others and creating a warm, inviting home that reflected her heart. Creative in the kitchen, she could make fabulous meals out of almost nothing and was often found cooking traditional Hispanic dishes. Though she tried in vain to teach her daughters to make flour tortillas, they never quite got the knack for it. She also loved to bake, and her grand-kids loved her rice.

Relationships were especially important to Jovita, and she ensured her loved ones knew she cared. With unwavering faith that God would provide what was needed, she maintained an open-door policy at her home for anyone in need. She never turned anyone in need away; there was always room at her table for more. Jovita’s open-mindedness, compassionate listening, unyielding hope, and loving advice provided a safe harbor for all who were blessed by her love.

Jovita never forgot her roots. She made many trips back to Texas to be with family and helped distribute food and clothes to migrant workers. Raised Catholic, the church was always an important part of her life, and she attended a Pentecostal Church for several years. She also loved flowers and enjoyed tending to the flower gardens around her home.

Without a doubt, Jovita’s family was her greatest joy, and she cherished every moment shared together. Her grandchildren, Phelipe, Cristina, Andon, Austen, and D'andre were her heart’s delight. Whether crafting with her only granddaughter or playing Loteria, a traditional Mexican game or dominos, Jovita made even the everyday simple moments special.

Though our days with her were far too few, every moment shared with Jovita was a gift. May we find comfort in our many treasured memories and in the honor of carrying her beautiful legacy forward. A powerful role model who showed us in every moment how to live a wholehearted life, Jovita will continue to live on in the hearts and lives of those she so dearly loved.

Jovita Perez, age 76, died on Thursday, September 8, 2022. Members of her family include her 3 children: Maria (Adrian) Flores, Anna (Don Tigues) Perez, and Rica Perez; 5 grandchildren: Phelipe, Cristina, Andon, Austen, and D'andre; 4 Sisters: Librada Hernandez, Pilar Belmares, Calixta Garcia, Cecilia Lara, and numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by Rafaela Reyna, Rafaela Martinez, Cipriana Rocha, Cevero Rocha, Luis, Rocha, Librado Rocha and Gonzalo Rocha.

Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where stories will be shared on Thursday, September 15, from 5–8 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Life Story Services will be held at 10 AM on Friday, September 16, 2022, at the same location. Visit Jovita’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign her guestbook.