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Life Story / Obituary
Although she was taken from her loved ones too soon, Karen Noble made a significant impact on the world around her. She was a longtime resident of the community she loved, and her devotion to others there was truly unmatched. Karen treasured her roles as a wife and mother, but she just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother later in life. She had the gift of hospitality, and she was passionate about making others feel welcomed, cherished, and loved. Life will never be the same without Karen here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
The 1950s were a colorful time. Televisions were becoming part of our homes like never before, and with it came shows like I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best. Civil rights came front and center when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus, and by the end of the decade Alaska and Hawaii became our 49th and 50th states. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great joy in the lives of James and Shirley (House) Eakes as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Karen on August 11, 1956, in Flint, Michigan.
The second of four children, Karen was raised alongside her older brother, Jim, and her younger sisters, Joanne and Linda. She was a very protective older sister who was known to frequently take the punishment for her younger siblings. When she was 10, Karen and her family moved to Mattawan from Georgia, and she always attended local schools. As a young woman Karen worked hard and saved her money for a car. She once received a $200 tip while working at the A &W Root Beer stand. As a student at Mattawan High School, she had numerous friends and was always so easy to talk to. She was on the yearbook staff and graduated early in 1974.
New and exciting changes were in store for Karen when she met the man of her dreams. His name was Brian Noble, and they met at the A&P store where they worked. They began dating, and it was not long before the couple found themselves deeply in love. He moved into her apartment while she was in Georgia, and she hasn't been able to get rid of him since! With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Karen and Brian were married at Mattawan Congregational Church on March 11, 1978. The newlyweds then enjoyed a honeymoon to Niagara Falls. Together they welcomed three children including Clinton “C.J,” Angela, and Brendon into their hearts and home. Karen was very protective of her children, and she taught them the value of working hard by the example that she set. She loved everything about being a mother and made caring for her family her primary focus. Karen was such an awesome mother that her kids’ friends all referred to her as a second mom. She was thrilled when all of her children were married in a span of 15 months, and eight months later those same three children also blessed her with three new grandchildren in six months. Karen was extremely proud of her family, and she treasured every moment they spent together. Her love for her grandchildren was easy to see as they always made her light up whenever they were together.
Throughout her life Karen kept busy with the people and things she loved. She took pride in her home so it felt welcoming and comforting, and her door was always open. Karen was an amazing hostess, and she hosted numerous parties and gatherings for friends and family. She liked taking canoe trips as well as family vacations to Florida. There were also memorable trips to Mexico with family and an amazing group of friends where Karen loved laying out on the beach with her feet in the sand. She felt so blessed to celebrate forty years of marriage just this past March. Karen was a secretary for Mattawan rocket football and also managed the concession stand for eight years, which was truly a labor of love. She was there for all of her kids’ sporting events, and she was their biggest supporter in whatever they were doing. Karen enjoyed reading, especially James Patterson and John Grisham, as well as playing euchre, gardening, and cooking. Karen was into Michigan football, country music from artists such as Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and Hank Williams. Karen also liked Jackson Browne and the Eagles. One of her favorite evenings was spent enjoying a good meal at the Fisher Lake Inn with her close family and friends.
A lover of people and of life, Karen Noble was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She lived life to the fullest and she wasn't afraid of a good time. Although Karen could be strong willed at times, she was also loyal, caring, and genuinely compassionate. Outgoing and social, she was well known and well loved within her community. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
Karen Noble, of Mattawan, passed at her home on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Members of her family include husband, Brian; children: Clinton (Erin) Noble, Angela (Chris) Leman and Brendon (Kailey) Noble; 6 grandchildren: Emma, Mia, Hallie, Connor, Caleb and Tyler; 3 siblings: James (Deborah) Eakes, Joanne Phenicie and Linda (Steve) Condren; and her father, James L. (OK Tok) Eakes. Karen was preceded in death by her mother, Shirley. Cremation has taken place and an open house to celebrate her life will be held on Saturday (Apr. 7) from 1-4 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (375-2900). Please visit Karen’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook online before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or the American Cancer Society.