Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Judith "Judi" L. McManus

August 8, 1942 - September 6, 2022
Portage, MI



Sunday, September 11, 2022
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Please join us for a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.

Driving Directions


Monday, September 12, 2022
10:00 AM EDT
4408 S. Westnedge Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008

A luncheon will take place following Mass in the church hall.



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.

St. Monica Church
4408 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 345-4389
Web Site


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


The very heart of Judi McManus was enveloped in the selfless love she had for family and those with whom she gave tirelessly. Although she was a “tell it like it is” type of woman, Judi’s giving nature and thoughtfulness was something to be admired. She had a way of drawing others in and anyone who came to know and love her would agree that she had a natural generosity from which she so freely gave. She used her time and talents in helping others, and with ways all her own, Judi always knew what needed to be done and did so with planned precision. Always to be remembered, the memory of Judi will live on in those she loved and cared for.

By 1942, news of the day included the perils of war during World War II and the sacrifices of battle. In the U.S., young men not in uniform were often found dancing the jitterbug with their saddle-shoed sweethearts, or taking in a picture show like Cagney‘s, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. Women entered the work force in droves, and rationing was commonplace on the home front. Despite these changing times, in the northwestern city of Lima, Ohio, Norman and Catherine (McCray) Blust found cause for celebration on August 8, 1942, when they welcomed the birth of their little girl, Judith “Judi”.

To support their family, Judi’s father held many jobs over the years working as a security guard and for a meat packaging company. Her mother worked in admissions at a local hospital, at a physician’s office and as a real estate secretary. While they never owned their own home, they made a good life for their girls, offering stability and security. Judi held fond memories of a family trip to Lake Erie where enjoyable times were shared canoeing.

A young girl typical of her generation, Judi was outgoing and from her earliest years she possessed a lot of spunk and personality. She loved watching American Bandstand on TV and would even watch Captain Kangaroo with her little sister. Even though she and Barb were eight years apart in age, Judi always worried about her younger sister and was always there for her, even if she did get on her nerves at times! She had an LP of South Pacific she played nonstop and one day, Barb got mad and slammed the top to the record player so hard it broke Judi’s record, and she never let Barb forget it!

Throughout her school years, Judi enjoyed the friendships of many. She always had an eye for the boys as a young girl, and loved attending dances. Very social, Judi enjoyed being around others, and even though she was not the tallest of the bunch, she simply let her personality shine which made up for it in volumes. Having attended Catholic schools, Judi graduated from Lima Central Catholic High School in 1960, the first year it opened.

Following high school, Judi attended Ohio State University for a year before transferring to St. Vincent in Ohio where she earned her degree as a registered nurse. Through her generous nature, Judi was the go-to for her entire family whenever there was a need, especially for her sister. She loved helping those around her and she never ceased in giving sound advice, medical or otherwise.

While attending St. Vincent, Judi met her future husband, Jim McManus. Through some mutual friends, they were set-up on a blind date. Although Jim blew her off, Judi somehow gave him a second chance and they made a lasting connection. She especially liked his nice Galaxy convertible, and on September 5, 1964, they were married at St. Rose Catholic Church in Lima. They drove to Colorado enjoying a memorable honeymoon and the newlyweds settled in Toledo, Ohio where Jim worked in sales for the Coca Cola Company.

Judi and Jim began a family of their own with the birth of their son, Jim in 1965. Their second son, Shawn, followed in 1967. In 1969 they packed up their family and moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where son Brian completed their family in 1970. Judi and Jim made a good home for their boys. Judi juggled working, raising the boys and keeping house in her usual, organized and scheduled manner. Often times Jim was on the road and Judi did it all. She was the glue that kept their lives orderly with her wonderful planning capabilities and kept things running smoothly. When they moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1977, Judi began working third shift at Bronson Hospital in the burn unit. She remained at Bronson for ten years and for the last 30 years of her career, she worked as an RN for Dr. Jerrold Falk, a GI doctor, until her eventual retirement.

As a mom, she was the best and there wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her kids. She was tough and firm as the main disciplinarian, but with love. She was always the one to transport the boys everywhere they needed to go, and their friends and teammates, too. She volunteered at St. Monica Catholic School where her boys attended, and she was known to be able to swat all three of her misbehaving boys in church without missing a note! Judi had this firm, “I mean business” way about her when it came to her sons and none of them ever wanted to be on the receiving end of her “stare”, especially in church!

Even though she was never into sports, Jim and their kids were quite athletic, and Judi encouraged them in these endeavors. She never missed their games, and it was a good thing she was so good at doing laundry because most of the boys’ uniforms were all white! Judi welcomed all into her home and had an open-door policy when it came to her son’s friends. She absolutely loved having a houseful of kids. In the years her boys were growing up, Judi and Jim took in eight or so boys into their home for one reason or another to help them along. She wanted and needed to be involved in the lives of her sons. She was attentive and they never needed to hide anything from her. In turn, she raised them in such a way that she could trust them to make smart choices. She was proud of them for being the men they came to be and the fact they went on to earn masters degrees.

Summer getaways were often spent visiting friends at their lake homes or visiting extended family. One year she and Jim took their family to Disney World where great times were had by all. They kept it pretty simple, but Judi was thrilled they could experience such a great time together. Judi liked the warmer weather, taking boat rides and enjoyed the sun, and summer often meant not having to watch sports!

In her earlier years, Judi liked playing Canasta and enjoyed bowling. She and Jim played a lot of Bridge and Euchre, and often went to the Knights of Columbus to play cards and to socialize. Later in life, she liked playing Scrabble, word games, doing jigsaw puzzles, and playing Words with Friends on a daily basis. She also liked communicating with her grandchildren on Facebook. She and Jim were always involved in church events and supported Hackett and all the fundraisers. She was very committed to her Catholic faith, her church, and the Catholic schools.

Family was everything to Judi. When her sons married, she finally got her girls as in-laws, and seven out of her nine grandchildren are girls. With a class all her own, Judi was well dressed and accessorized, and she loved buying jewelry for the girls. She was never pretentious, and she carried herself with grace. Never one to sugarcoat anything, she was a firm grandma, and told it like it was. She made sure to have toys for the kids and attended as many of their games and activities as possible. When her grandsons were born, she was excited to buy them big Tonka trucks like she did for her own boys when they were little.

Judi absolutely loved Christmas and it was her day to shine! She liked decorating and decorating for every holiday. Each year she gave each of her grandkids a special ornament which are cherished. Whether it was Christmas or other special days, Judi always put out an amazing spread of food and was known for her sausage patties, deviled eggs, and briskets. From the first football game to the last, she hosted many get-togethers filled with food. New Year’s Day was always about football and food, and she stopped at nothing to make everyone feel special. They were season ticket holders for the K-Wings, and Judi was an avid OSU fan even though Jim and the boys were huge U of M fans, they respected the traditional rivalry between the two.

In her free time, Judi loved planting and caring for her flowers. The queen of tomato plants, she grew the largest monster tomato plants, some of which continue to thrive to this day. She was handy and resourceful, and did some dried floral arranging, too. Although she was particular towards cats and had numerous ones over the years, one time Jim brought home a pregnant dog and they enjoyed all the little puppies. Judi liked reading, especially anything medical and mysteries. She loved dancing, especially with her beloved Jim at weddings they attended. Judi sent cards for every occasion, remembering special days and the hearts of those around her. She was fond of the oldies like Johnny Mathis and the Righteous Brothers. Since Jim was an avid record collector, the sound of music was always in the house. She even saw Elvis’ last concert at Wings Stadium.

Judi loved being a nurse and being asked medical questions. She was always willing to decipher lab reports for a friend, and often checked her senior neighbor’s blood pressures. Judi could hold her own in many circumstances. Independent, she possessed strength of character and her actions proved how big her heart was. Her door was always open, and her chartable and generous ways were unending. Anyone could count on Judi for honest, sound advice and a shoulder to lean. Although she is deeply missed, gone yet never to be forgotten are the treasured memories she leaves behind.

Judith L. “Judi” McManus, age 80, of Portage, MI, died peacefully on September 6, 2022, at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. Judi was preceded in death by her husband, James McManus, in 2013. Members of her family include three sons: James (Jodie) McManus, Shawn (Jill) McManus and Brian (Michelle) McManus; nine grandchildren: Kylee, Katie, Megan, Ambrosia (Tristen) Arce, Darcie, Brendan, Holly, Christopher, and Caitlin; sister, Barb (Jim) Pace and their daughter, Angela (Justin) Rossi. Cremation has taken place. A Life Story Visitation where food, drinks and stories will be shared, Sunday (SEPT 11) 2-5 PM at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, 49009 (269) 375-2900. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday (SEPT 12) 10 AM at St. Monica Church. A lunch will follow in the church hall. Please visit Judi’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and to sign her online guest book. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Monica Church.