Life Story Celebration
Sunday, August 6, 2023
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
As her family and friends can certainly attest, Kathyleen Stier truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She poured her heart and soul into all that she did, and she was dedicated to serving both her family and her community in ways both great and small. Nothing brought Kathy greater joy than spending time with her loved ones, even in the simplest of moments. She was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times, and her insatiable zest for life could be felt by all those around her. Dearly loved, Kathy will be forever missed by those who knew her best.
As we recall the 1930s, the days are primarily defined by the hardship of the Great Depression. While the challenges were many, this was also a period in our nation’s history when we came together to weather the storm as cities, communities, and families in whatever way we could. In the midst of these trials, there was much to celebrate in the lives of Thomas and Angeline (Vasoli) Irvine as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Kathyleen on November 24, 1931, in Chicago, Illinois.
Growing up, Kathy was a typical young woman of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home in Chicago alongside her two sisters, Della and Patricia. Throughout her childhood, Kathy attended local schools, including Fenger High School. She went on to pursue further education, attending and eventually graduating from Northwestern Business School in Chicago.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Kathy as she met the man who would quickly become the love of her life. His name was Herbert Stier, and the two first met on a blind date while Kathy was a sorority member at Northwestern. They were introduced by mutual friends, and there was an immediate connection between them. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Kathy and Herb were married on May 4, 1957. After their son Michael was born in 1958, Herb was transferred to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and they lived there for the rest of their lives.
All who knew Kathy can surely agree that she treasured her family above all else. She and Herb were overjoyed to welcome their four beloved children, Michael, Jeffrey, Cristy, and Patrick, into their hearts and home. Kathy truly thrived in her role as a mother, and she dedicated herself to raising her children. She was always involved in their activities and often volunteered to help whenever she could. Kathy was a carpool mom and a chaperone for neighborhood events, and local children were always welcome in her home. She loved taking her children blueberry picking, strawberry picking, and Christmas tree hunting, and she never missed a chance to take them to the Book Mobile and encourage their love for reading. The Stier family enjoyed camping in Northern Michigan and spending time in Chicago, visiting family and going to museums and Cubs games. Countless Friday nights were spent together playing Scrabble, Michigan Rummy, Checkers, Life, or Monopoly. Later in life, Kathy was thrilled to become a grandmother and even a great-grandmother. She adored her grandchildren and was their biggest supporter at games and athletic events.
In order to support herself and her loved ones, Kathy worked as an employee for Manpower and then began working at Upjohn. The position was supposed to be a temporary one, but the company valued Kathy so much, they offered her a job. Kathy excelled in her career. She retired in 1996 but remained close to many of her coworkers, who had become very good friends. The group enjoyed attending various luncheons for retired Upjohn employees and visiting Shipshewana together in the summer and at Christmas.
Following her retirement, Kathy and Herb began traveling together. Over the years, they were able to take trips to England, Ireland, Scotland, Alaska, and locations all over the East and West Coasts of the United States. Kathy and Herb especially enjoyed taking bus tours with larger groups. They also loved going to musicals and the Civic Theatre. In her retirement years, Kathy volunteered for the Ready to Read program at the Kalamazoo Public Library, pouring her time and effort into her community.
Kathy pursued many hobbies to stay busy in her free time. She was a longtime member of St. Joseph Church in Kalamazoo. She was a Cub Scout den mother, Girl Scout leader and assistant softball coach. After her knee surgery, Kathy began going to the Borgess Fitness Center; however, she soon found that she enjoyed the fitness classes and joined the center. She particularly liked swimming in the pool and attending the Joints in Motion class. Kathy was an avid reader of mystery novels, especially those written by J.A. Jance and Mary Higgins Clark. Baking was her love language, and she enjoyed spending time in the kitchen with her grandchildren or baking for friends. Kathy liked watching and feeding the birds. Cardinals were her favorite, and she loved collecting figurines of them. Kathy was a fan of Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, and Perry Como. She liked to go shopping with her daughter, and every year, she looked forward to trips to Shipshewana and various shops at Christmas with her friends, Lynn, Betty, and June. Kathy loved watching Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, NCIS, Law and Order, and Downton Abbey. She loved decorating for the holidays, especially Christmas. She collected Snowbabies, snowmen, Santa’s and angels, and loved to display the ceramic Nativity set her mother had made.
When reflecting on the life of Kathyleen Stier, it is easy to see both her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She was well known for her devotion to her loved ones. Though she will be deeply missed, Kathy leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
Kathleen Stier, Age 91, died on July 29, 2023. Kathyleen was preceded in death by her husband, Herbert; son, Patrick; and sister, Patricia. She is survived by her sister, Della Jawor; children: Michael (Nancylee) Stier, Jeffrey (Cindy) Stier, and Cristy (Kevin) Ernst; daughter-in-law, Lana Stier; 8 granddaughters: Meghan Stier-Cabrera, Elizabeth Jackson, Julia Williams, Sagan, Angela, Alicia, Olivia, and Grace Stier; 5 great-grandchildren: Harper, Luca, and Rosalee Cabrera, Belle Keller, and August Stier-Young; and was awaiting the birth of great-grandson, Harrison Keller in December.
Cremation has taken place. A Life Story Celebration will be held on Sunday, August 6 from 1-3 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900, where food, drinks, and stories will be shared. Burial at Mount Ever Rest Cemetery, Kalamazoo. Visit Kathyleen’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Donations may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church or the Kalamazoo Public Library FBO Ready to Read program.