Life Story Services
Life Story Reception
Saturday, December 17, 2022
3:30 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Following her burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, a Life Story Reception will be held in the Life Story Center. Those not attending the burial are invited to have a cup of coffee and wait for the family to return.
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.
The Adult Day Services at Oakland Center
7100 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Loving, practical, and wise, Kathleen Arnsman lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. A natural caregiver, Kathleen thrived on tending to the well-being of others. She never hesitated to give of her time and talents in service of others and cherished every moment spent with those she loved. In Kathleen's good company, everything was better; there was no hardship that couldn't be lessened, and every joy was fully celebrated. A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Kathleen was a powerful role model for how to live a heart-centered life; she will long be remembered and so very missed.
Growing up in Kalamazoo in the Westnedge Hill area, Kathleen's early years were filled with activity centered on family life. While her father worked as a men's buyer for Gilmore's Department Store, her mother ran the home. Over her first twelve years, her parents welcomed four more children to their family, and Kathleen proudly grew into her role as the eldest child. From a very early age, she helped care for her younger siblings. A strong student, after graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1959, Kathleen made plans to continue her education at Borgess School of Nursing. While attending the Kalamazoo County fair on August 25, 1961, Kathleen met the love of her life, Fritz Arnsman. Instantly smitten, Fritz convinced Kathleen to ride the Ferris wheel with him. As the wheel stopped at the top, he told her that if they looked east, they could see the lights of Detroit. Shortly after sharing their evening at the fair, Kathleen began her studies at Borgess School of Nursing. Despite the rigors of studies, work, and the rules set forth by the nuns, Kathleen and Fritz found ways to see each other. As their love grew, they began to plan a future together. And, on September 5, 1964, a week after Kathleen graduated from nursing school, the happy couple married at St. Mary Catholic Church in Kalamazoo.
The newlyweds soon moved into a temporary house on Stockbridge in the Edison neighborhood. Despite their plans, the temporary house became their forever home, where Kathleen lived for over 58 years. It was here that they were blessed to welcome and raise five children. John, Sarah, Johanna, Andrew, and Colleen, were the centers of Fritz and Kathleen's worlds. While Fritz worked at Menasha Paper, Kathleen stayed home and managed the house, the kids, and the finances.
Kathleen relished family life and caring for her kids. She was also extremely resourceful, and if there was a way to save a penny, she would find it. Nothing was ever wasted in the home, and her coupon and clearance rack savvy ensured everyone always had what they needed. Her kitchen skills also helped stretch the budget. She was an excellent cook, and her special dishes included deviled eggs, brownies with powdered sugar, and cheese ball. With her strong Catholic faith as the firm foundation of her life, Kathleen made sure her kids attended Catholic schools and Mass on Sundays. Fritz affectionately called her "Boss," and when the kids wanted something and asked him first, his customary response was, "go check with the boss." An incredibly supportive mother, Kathleen never failed to encourage kids' endeavors while modeling how to live a full and happy life. She loved fixing things, painting and wallpapering, which came in handy as she and Fritz owned four rental properties. She also made sure the cars were immaculate. She meticulously washed, waxed, and washed them frequently, and her automobile pride and joy was her 1975 Cutless Supreme.
A homebody, Kathleen thoroughly enjoyed staying at home. Whether listening to her favorite tunes by Kenny Rogers and Neil Diamond, cheering on Michigan State University's basketball and football teams, watching her favorite shows on TV, or helping out her neighbors, home was where she wanted to be.
Above all else, Kathleen was a caretaker who worked tirelessly to provide for others, including the pets and especially those who required extra care. Holidays were always first class, welcoming extended family on Christmas and Thanksgiving with a bountiful spread and good cheer. And while Kathleen expertly made these occasions special, her greatest gift was how she transformed the ordinary of day-to-day life into extraordinary. This was most evident in how she so lovingly cared for Fritz so he was able to spend his final days in the comfort of her good love and confident care. Sadly, just a few short months after Fritz died, Kathleen got the news of having stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer on October 29, 2021, Fritz's birthday. With signature faith and strength, Kathleen faced her diagnosis with grace and was happy to be able to die in the comforts of her beloved home.
Without a doubt, the world feels less certain in the absence of Kathleen's steadfast love and support. May we find much comfort in knowing she is at peace and reunited with her beloved and in our many treasured memories. Surely her beautiful legacy of warm, loving care will continue to live on in the hearts and lives of those she so dearly loved.
Kathleen Arnsman, age 81, of Kalamazoo, died on December 9, 2022, in her home. Members of her family include her children: John (Jennifer) Arnsman, Sarah (Richard) Johnston, Johanna Arnsman, Andrew (Amy) Arnsman, and Colleen Arnsman, who passed away in 2018; She was also preceded in death by her husband Fritz in 2021. Other members of her family include her 5 grandchildren: Daniel, Eleanor, Nicholas, Alexander, and Allison; 4 Brothers and sisters: Patricia (Elton) McGehee, Mary (Frederick Higdon) O'Connor, Thomas O'Connor, and James (Debra) O'Connor. Life Story services will be held at 1 pm on Saturday, December 17, 2022, at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Burial will be in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Visit Kathleen's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to The Adult Day Services at Oakland Center