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Life Story / Obituary
Humble, witty, and kind, Laura May lived a life rich in family and friends. Easily contented by the simple things in life, Laura was easy to please and always good company. Laura was easy to talk to and lots of fun. She never required the spotlight and rarely talked about herself. Her quick wit reflected her spunk, especially when it came to her siblings, who often inspired a snappy comment and a bit of sass. Cherished by all who were blessed to know her, Laura will long be remembered and so very missed.
1951 proved a year of increased comforts and exciting new possibilities. While unemployment dropped, the nation additionally celebrated the first direct-dial trans-coastal phone call, easier travel in more comfortable cars and on newly paved interstates, and the premieres of "I Love Lucy," "The Day The Earth Stood Still," and "An American in Paris." Nowhere was the sense of hope for the future more celebrated than in Vicksburg, Michigan, as Richard and Jeane (Weaver) Raven welcomed their daughter Laura into their family on August 24.
From her earliest days, Laura was known for her spirit. Much like her father, Laura was a pistol. It never took much to convince her to try something bold, and she found her fair share of typical teenage trouble with her girlfriends. Laura's lifelong love for music took root in her early years, as did her frank personality. It didn't take long for people to learn that Laura was unapologetically who she was. There were never any surprises with Laura; she completely trusted that others could be with her authenticity.
While living in the same apartment complex with their parents, Laura met the love of her life, Russell May. It was love at first sight for the young couple, who began their relationship as neighbors and quickly found themselves discovering they had a lot in common. With their hearts set on sharing the future, Laura and Russell married when Laura was just 18 years old.
The newlyweds lived in North Carolina for a time before moving to Florida and their permanent home. Laura and Russell were very active in the community. In addition to working security at a local music venue, they also volunteered in several charities. For many years, riding Harleys was the center of Laura and Russell's lives. They rode for years, exploring the road and participating in charitable rides. They loved riding to Cocoa Beach and participating in Toy Rallies, raising funds and toys for children in need.
Laura was a natural caregiver. An unwavering source of support for Russell, who was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 16, Laura was led to work as a professional care provider. She traveled to patients' homes and dedicated herself to caring and providing them excellent care and comfort. After Russell died, she worked at a local dialysis clinic in Florida for 15 years.
In her quiet time, Laura enjoyed tending to her flower garden and providing safe harbor and companionship to her fur babies. Though all of her pets began their lives as strays, they quickly became the children she never had. Despite her siblings teasingly calling her a "miser," Laura took pride in her frugality. She put her focus on saving and never spent money unless it was necessary. One of Laura's favorite places to be was at her sister Cindy's cottage on Pine Lake in Michigan. She loved the serenity of the lake and sharing time with her family. Her nieces and nephews were her heart's delight, and she lit up when she was around them. Several years ago, she moved back to Michigan to be closer to her family. Attending her nieces' and nephews' special events proved a joy. She and her siblings returned to Florida for yearly vacations that afforded Laura the opportunity to reunite with her beloved ocean and beaches.
While life feels less certain in the absence of Laura's steadfast companionship, may we find comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying Laura's legacy forward. In every moment that we give of ourselves in service of others, dig our toes in the sand or the ocean, cheer on our loved ones, wisely save versus indulgently spend, and choose our authenticity over false airs, we celebrate the many ways Laura gifted our lives. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
Laura May of Kalamazoo, age 70, died on March 11, 2022. Laura was preceded in death by her husband, Russell; siblings: Richard Raven and Jill Wilgenhof; and her parents. Surviving are her siblings: Gayla (Tim) Magnan, Cynthia (Art) Pizzello, and Robert Yack; nephews: Greg (Anna) Magnan and Chad Raven; and great-niece and great-nephew: Scarlett and Emmett. Cremation has taken place. A celebration will be held at a later date. Visit Laura's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to SPCA of Southwest Michigan. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900