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Kathy Brain

February 16, 1942 - March 17, 2024
Oxford, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Kind, selfless, thoughtful, and devoted to the family and friends she loved, Kathy Brain lived her life joyously. She cared deeply about others always putting their well being first. She gave great healing hugs and always had a way to uplift any conversation or situation. Anyone that knew her loved her “vibe”. Known for her love of people, she held a special place in her heart for her children and grandchildren. Kathy modeled a strong work ethic and compassion for all others. She leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for her many special friends and family to cherish forever.

Her story began during a time that was marked by WWII. It was 1942 and Marguerite and Robert Beckemeyer were pleased to announce the birth of their baby girl, Kathryn Ann, on February 16th in the small town of Breese, Illinois.

Kathy lived a typical childhood of the times. In her early years, she lived in Beckemeyer, Illinois named after her grandfather, August Beckemeyer. She was always very proud to share that piece of history with others throughout her life. Later, the family moved to Oak Park, Michigan where her father Robert worked as a milkman for Wilson's Dairy. Fond memories of her childhood were the summers she spent with her younger brothers, Bob and Ken, and their extended family at their cottage on Lake Orion and going to get ice cream! Kathy was a proud graduate of the Class of 1959 from Lincoln High School in Ferndale. She was skilled in short-hand and later went on to win a National Spelling Bee contest. She valued her family and her education and was a life-long learner.

As a single mother for many years, she devoted her life to raising her two wonderful children, Denise, and Rich. She and the kids moved in with her parents who were strong sources of support to them during these years. Kathy worked multiple jobs to support and provide for her small family during their growing years. They created wonderful memories taking bicycle rides that often-included shopping excursions on 9 Mile Road to her favorite women’s clothing store, Winkelman’s, or to F&M for necessities, or to Lawson’s for frozen Cokes. Not being able to afford expensive vacations, she loved their tradition of spending a long weekend at the Weber Inn in Ann Arbor. They enjoyed the pool and dining at the hotel restaurant. Due to her busy schedule, her network of friends grew through the friends and families of her kids. Despite the challenges of juggling her work schedule, Kathy never missed her son Rich’s baseball or football games. She especially enjoyed his baseball games from the very early years of Dairy Queen Little League to playing in high school as well as the Ferndale American Legion Baseball Team. A wonderful hostess, she had the Ferndale High School Varsity Football Team over several times to her small house for a post-game meal. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her kids.

Kathy loved keeping up her health and wellness. She enjoyed doing Jane Fonda workouts and heading to Vic Tanny to participate in an aerobics class or workout. It was not unusual for Denise and Rich to come home and find her laying upside down on her slant board with egg whites on her face and cucumber slices on her eyes and it paid off because she had a flawless complexion her whole life. Salads became her go-to health food and whenever she felt stressed, she would work out to put herself back at ease.

Introduced through mutual friends in 1994, she met the love of her life, Bob Brain. Kathy bravely ventured on a blind date with Bob to a country club gala. They had so much fun together that they continued dating until they married in 1995. The newlyweds lived in Oxford, Michigan where they joined their families together. Kathy embraced and loved her stepchildren, Susan, and Tom.

Thanks to her family’s encouragement, Kathy returned to school later in life and earned a college degree, with honors, in exercise physiology. This allowed her to work with residents in senior living communities and help them enjoy the benefits of movement and exercise. She was also able to care for her father and mother in their later years, grateful for their special bond and appreciative of the care and support they gave to Kathy and her kids over the years.

With a shared interest in travel, Kathy and Bob joined the Nomads travel group which included a private plane to fly its members all over the world! Together, they logged over 100,000 miles traveling with the Nomads, gained countless memories along the way and many new friends. In 2015 Denise joined them on a trip to Southeast Asia where they visited Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore. Locally, Kathy and Bob enjoyed weekend road trips cruising in the corvette convertible. Social and outgoing, they enjoyed entertaining at their beautiful lakeside home as well as going out with friends and neighbors. On warm summer evenings, she loved unwinding with a glass of wine on a sunset boat ride with Bob and their dog, Bliss.

Kathy was always open to new adventures and was always full of surprises. She LOVED surprises but always made sure to say, “the good kind”. She loved God, daisies, Jimmy Buffet, ABBA, Este Lauder skin care products, dark chocolate, drinking wine, sudoku, sitting in the sunshine, Mama Mia!, being outside on the lake, tending to her rock garden that was filled with beautiful wildflowers, shopping, going out to new restaurants, going to plays, concerts, book clubs, and anything where she could experience something joyful.

A common thread throughout Kathy’s life was the importance of family. Kathy felt especially grateful for her relationships with her grandchildren, Zach, and Jordan. Whenever they visited, Grandma Kat always had Juicy Juice juice boxes to drink and plenty of potato sticks! She loved having them over and taking them shopping for their birthdays, which somewhere along the lines included dinner at Rain Forest Café and ice cream at Cook’s Dairy Farm. A special memory was when she took Denise, Rich, Zach, and Jordan on a road trip to Beckemeyer to see where she grew up and visit distant relatives. She cheered them on during many of their special events including Jordan’s dance recitals, gymnastics meets and volleyball games, as well as Zach’s soccer and Maroons baseball games. Later, she followed them on ESPN or other live-stream apps when Jordan went on to play volleyball at Long Island University in New York and Zach playing baseball at Miami University as well as the Cape Cod Collegiate Baseball League. Kathy was exceptionally proud of them, and her friends all knew never to make plans during times that Jordan or Zach were playing or visiting because her priority was always them.

When it came to her adult children, she continued her steadfast love and support for them as well. Kathy loved to “just be” with them. She was a student of The Power of Positive thinking. She and Denise attended Unity Church during the Jack Boland days and those experiences became the foundation for her belief that divine order was always leading the way and that we are all in God’s hands. During Covid she discovered a spirit group out of Houston and every Thursday morning Kathy would Zoom with her “Spirit Sisters”. Kathy described herself as spiritual rather than religious and God was always part of everything that she did. She and Denise spent a lot of time together watching movies, going out, going shopping, and spending time at Denise’s where Bliss and Teddy would run around and play. Kathy was always first to call her children and sing Happy Birthday. She loved telling Denise and Rich the story of the day they were born and assembling collections of beautifully wrapped birthday gifts to share with Susan and Tom. She loved sharing a glass of wine with her daughter-in-law, Tracy, discussing a wide range of topics from parenting and motherhood, to planning family gatherings, and their mutual enjoyment of Hallmark movies.

While phones and technology enabled connection with her family, she lit up most when her children came to visit. Susan always arrived with homemade baked goods and frequently prepared festive holiday brunches during her visits. Summertime often included family barbeques with Tom flying north to escape the Arizona heat. She was consistently the last person to finish their meal because she was too busy talking. As technology grew in popularity, Kathy loved to Facetime with family. These often led to gut-busting laughter especially when the participants changed the face filters! She also loved to text which often included many Emojis, even if she got them mixed up from time to time. There was never a dull moment with Kathy around. Her radiant smile and joyful spirit infused every family gathering with love.

In addition to her family, Kathy held a wide variety of special interests. Kathy was active in the Oxford Women’s Club and served multiple terms as President. She loved planning and modeling in their annual fashion shows which funded local community college scholarships. Kathy proudly joined the National Association of University Women, participating in book club discussions, social luncheons, and theater outings. Kathy enjoyed playing cards with her pinochle groups and recently took up euchre.

Her mantra, to the very last day was “I choose to be happy today”. Every encounter with close loved ones ended with Kathy saying, “I love you all there is”, sometimes calling back just to say that in case she forgot to. A positive force, she will be deeply missed. Her sincere, loving, and nurturing ways are her greatest legacy. May her loved ones hold on to her special memories and allow them to warm their hearts for many years to come.

The light of God surrounds you

The love of God enfolds you

The power of God protects you

The presence of God watches over you

Wherever you are, God is, and all is well.

Kathryn Ann Brain, age 82, passed away on March 17, 2024. Kathryn was the beloved wife of Robert; dear mother of Denise MacDonald, Richard (Tracy) MacDonald, Susan Brain, and Tom Brain; cherished grandmother to Zachary and Jordan MacDonald; and beloved sister to Robert (Diana) Beckemeyer and Ken (Cyndi) Beckemeyer. She is further survived by her close companion, her dog, Bliss, as well as her granddogs, Libby, Teddy, and Smokey.

Cremation has taken place, and Kathy’s family is planning a Celebration of Life later this year. Please visit Kathy’s life story webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook.