Life Story Visitation
Sunday, September 25, 2022
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food, drinks, and stories will be shared. Rosary will be recited at 5 PM.
Mass of Christian Burial
Monday, September 26, 2022
11:00 AM EDT
St. Monica Catholic Church
4408 South Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
A reception will follow in the church hall. Burial will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
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.
Get To Foundation
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Judith Doerr truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength and encouragement for others, even in the most difficult of times, and she was known for her strong faith, her love for her family, and her selfless giving as a volunteer for so many events and causes. Forever loved, Judy will be dearly missed.
On November 13, 1940, Henry and Dorothy (Cloney) Kibbey were pleased to announce the birth of a baby girl they named Judith Ann as they brought her home to their house on Greenlawn Street in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Judy was raised in the family home alongside her siblings, David, Martha, and Thomas. Though she was born with hip dysplasia, and spent part of her youth in a cast, Judy never let it slow her down or stop her from accomplishing her dreams and goals. In addition, when she was only 12 years old, her father died suddenly of a heart attack. Instead of setting her back, these childhood events helped forge an internal strength and toughness that she carried throughout her life.
The Kibbey family owned The Carousel Ice Cream Shop, where Judy worked with her mother and siblings while growing up. Here, she built a firm foundation for the strong work ethic that would serve her well throughout her entire life and that she would later instill into each of her children.
After an active and friend-filled high school experience, including her nomination to the homecoming court, Judy graduated from St. Augustine High School in 1958. Judy went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in Home Economics at Western Michigan University, where she was on the student council. Later in life, she took courses through Michigan State University, becoming a master gardener. Judy always had an interest and passion for gardening, and she could identify most plants and flowers. Over the years and in each of her homes, she grew many beautiful gardens that displayed colorful flowers and offered fresh vegetables for home-cooked meals.
Robert Doerr was the love of her life. Judy first met Bob in grade school, and the couple began dating during their high school years. Over time, their relationship deepened into something truly special. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Judy and Bob were married in 1963. Bob would often say, “we stayed together for so many years because of our respect for each other,” before jokingly adding, “and because Judy did what I asked her to.” Judy always got a kick out of that line. Married for 59 years, Bob and Judy were lifelong friends and true partners.
Following her graduation from college, Judy worked as a home economist at Consumers Energy. There, she demonstrated and gave seminars teaching people how to cook so that the company could sell more electricity. As their family grew, Judy left Consumers Energy and focused on raising her children and creating a welcoming home.
Of all the things she loved in life, Judy treasured her family above all else. Together, she and Bob were overjoyed to welcome their seven children, Theresa, Robert, Timothy, Christine, Michael, Andrew, and Daniel into their hearts and home. Judy thrived in the role of mother to her big family.
Judy encouraged her children to be independent and participate in everything. She was a prolific sports mom and fan, attending every game or event and acting as her kids’ biggest cheerleader. She was usually heard encouraging her kids and their teammates from the stands, occasionally throwing in a word or two for a referee in good fun. Her children knew she was a rare mom who would get them to the game, bring them the items they inevitably forgot, have dinner waiting at home afterward – and then break down the game with them at the table while they ate.
In addition to her busy home life, Judy found time to volunteer for causes she cared about. She would help run the church kitchen, often serving meals after funerals and other special events. She also volunteered her time helping in the school lunchrooms, school library, and countless other church and school events. Even while raising seven children of her own, she found time to be a Girl Scout leader, a little league mom and a soccer team mom. She served on the booster club, school fairs and school fundraisers.
First, as an active member of St. Joseph Catholic church and later St. Monica Church for nearly 60 years, Judy valued her Catholic faith and quietly passed on these values and beliefs to her family members, showing her faith through service and love.
Judy also pursued many hobbies. She loved history, specifically the Civil War era, and she was an avid reader of fiction. She later took classes in history at Kalamazoo Valley Community College just for the fun of it. Judy enjoyed watching college football and college basketball and would stay up late to watch March Madness, not wanting to miss a shining moment. She and her husband, Bob, were thrilled to attend tournament games. They would buy tickets from the fans of the losing teams and would often stay to watch for as long as they could, no matter what teams were playing. She loved to root for the underdog!
The kitchen is one place where Judy truly was gifted. She was well known for her sweet treats; chocolate icebox cake, lemon meringue pie, chocolate eclairs, cookies, and ice cream pie. She always cooked homemade meals with freshly baked bread for her family and passed these baking traditions and skills on to her granddaughters in her kitchen through their baking parties. For many years, she also cooked dinners for Hackett’s football team and the school’s fundraising auctions.
Later in life, Judy was overjoyed to become a grandmother and even a great-grandmother. She adored her grandchildren and attended their activities whenever she could. She made it a point to show up for her children and her grandchildren no matter how far she had to travel. She considered herself blessed to watch her family tree grow and wanted to be an active part of their lives, even as they spread out across the country.
Judy also liked to decorate, and once she had grandchildren, she would involve them in setting up her Christmas houses. Her snow-covered Christmas village grew to an elaborate collection of lighted houses and buildings complete with an ice rink, football stadium, and streets filled with people as she’d receive more as gifts each year. Her village was the backdrop for the holiday seasons she filled with family, traditions, football, and food. On Christmas eve, Judy would stay up all night wrapping gifts and preparing for a special day with her family so that each of them could enjoy the holiday as she did.
Travelling is also a hallmark of Judy’s life. She loved to visit the beach with her family. The family would stay at a cottage every summer, eventually buying a cottage of their own in South Haven. They also enjoyed family beach vacations around the country where Judy loved to explore the lighthouses. On many trips, Judy brought home a painting by a local artist, often from those selling their pieces at art fairs, galleries, and even on the side of the road. Bob also earned several trips through his work, so he and Judy were able to travel the USA, Italy and Hawaii. Throughout their travels, they enjoyed the local fare and Judy collected cookbooks from many of their destinations.
In her later years, as Judy’s health was failing, she displayed admirable courage taking on each health challenge with the strength and toughness she had learned so early in life. While her body struggled, her spirit and faith in God never did. She often injected her trademark humor and wit to ease the pain.
When reflecting on the life of Judith Doerr, it is easy to see her unwavering faith and strength, and her unconditional love for her family. She treasured her loved ones, and she was always willing to help others in whatever way she could. Though she will be deeply missed, Judy leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
Judith Doerr of Kalamazoo passed away peacefully on September 13, 2022, at the age of 81. Judy was preceded in death by her brother, David Kibbey; and grandson, Benjamin Jones. Surviving are her husband, Robert; children: Theresa (Bruce) Jones, Robert (Christine) Doerr, Timothy (Patricia) Doerr M.D., Christine Doerr, Michael (Karin) Doerr, Andrew (Dawn) Doerr, and Daniel (Christina) Doerr; grandchildren: Alissa (Colby) Lufkin, Nathaniel Jones, Robert Doerr, Jackson Doerr, Margaret Doerr, Peter Doerr, Anna Doerr, Joseph Doerr, James Doerr, Francisco deTorres, Nicholas Doerr, Avery Doerr, Henry Doerr, India Doerr, Isabel Doerr, and Miles Doerr; great-grandson: George; siblings: Martha (Matthew) Jerabek and Thomas (Bruna) Kibbey; and many nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Sunday, September 25th from 2-5 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. The Rosary will be recited at 5 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, September 26th at 11 AM at St. Monica Catholic Church with a luncheon to follow. Burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Visit Judy’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the Get To® Foundation, started in honor of her late grandson Benjamin, or Catholic Schools of Greater Kalamazoo.