Life Story Visitation
Life Story Service
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Life Story / Obituary
Spanning 100 years, Leta Witt’s life bore witness to times of tremendous trial, as well as peace and prosperity. Leta possessed a feisty spirit and an unwavering faith. Never one to resist the changes she witnessed in the world around her, she confidently went with the flow. A proud matriarch, Leta was devoted to her family, proving a powerful inspiration and source of comfort. Loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Leta will long be remembered and so very missed.
The 1920s were an age of dramatic social and political change. Post-war peace, a booming economy, rising wages for most Americans, and falling consumer prices resulted in a higher standard of living for most. Tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts marked this roaring decade when a person’s success was largely determined by their ability to identify their desires and then work to make them a reality. For Albert and Dora (Champion) Otten of Kendall, Michigan, this vibrant decade grew even brighter on November 30, 1921, when they welcomed their daughter Leta into their hearts and home.
Growing up in a large family, Leta experienced both times of abundance and of great challenges. These formidable years helped instill in Leta a strong will and fierce determination to live each moment fully. Known for her distaste for being told “no,” and having a mouth like a sailor, Leta was physically strong, despite being a small woman. She much preferred doing things with others over being alone and felt most comfortable when in the good company of her family.
While out dancing at a local dance hall, Leta met her future husband, Carl Witt. She and Carl loved to dance. Whether waltzing, country and square dancing, or doing the polka, they took to the dance floor any chance they could. The happy couple married in 1940, officially beginning their 42-year adventure together.
In time, Leta and Carl were blessed to welcome three children to their family. Larry, Darlene, and Kathy, quickly became the centers of their world. Leta dedicated herself to creating a supportive home for her family. A strict mother, Leta held her children to high expectations. Fondly known as “Mrs. Clean,” she firmly believed elbow grease made everything better. She meticulously cleaned the house while the kids were at school and again after they went to bed. Leta was happiest when surrounded by family. She loved hosting family gatherings at her house; the bigger, the better. Carl did the cooking, while Leta took on being a fabulous hostess. Leta attended church regularly when her children were young, and even after she stopped attending regularly, she never stopped believing in the Lord.
Leta welcomed her role as a grandmother with honor and delight. Like many grandparents, she softened with age and let her grandkids do all the things her kids weren’t allowed to do. She was even known to give her grandkids and great-grandkids a few sips of beer when they were little. In her eyes, her grandkids could do no wrong, and she welcomed them into the house all the time. There was nothing Leta wouldn’t do for her children and grandchildren.
Sadly, Carl died in 1981 after they had just finished dancing for the evening at the Moose Lodge. With an indomitable spirit, Leta met the challenges of his sudden absence with great determination. One of the first things she did was get her driver’s license for the very first time. She learned to drive and found a job at Brite & Clean laundromat, where she worked for 16 years. She then worked another 16 years at Sun Cleaners before retiring at the age of 82.
After Carl died, Leta would pick her friends up in the car and go to the Elks or the Moose Lodge for drinks and dancing. She liked her O’Doul’s later in life and never agreed that she was old. She often joked that her daughter was older than she was! Leta maintained her feisty spirit and even became a little sassier after she moved into assisted living.
Without a doubt, the world feels less certain in the absence of Leta’s steadfast presence. May we find comfort in our many treasured memories and in the honor of carrying her legacy forward. Every time we confidently meet life’s challenges and welcome change, attend a family gathering, or take to the dance floor with our beloved, we celebrate the many ways Leta gifted our lives. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired each of us.
Leta Witt, age 100, of Schoolcraft, MI, died on March 6, 2022. Leta was preceded in death by her husband, Carl; 9 siblings; and her great-grandchild, Liam Witt. Surviving are her children: Larry Witt, Darlene (Alan) Johnson, and Kathy (Jeff) Davis; grandchildren: Larry (Gretchen) Witt, Jodie (Mike) Bronkema, Stacee Bell, Darcie (Kyle) Shannon, Amber (Matt) Pedersen, and Kaitina (Clark) Miller; great-grandchildren: Brandon Shannon, Zach Shannon, Bryce Bronkema, Ella Witt, Avery Miller, Ryland Pedersen, Anthony Miller, Raegan Pedersen, and Alexander Miller; and many nieces and nephews. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation 11 AM – 1 PM Weds (MAR 9) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Funeral services will begin at 1 PM. Burial at Mt. Ever Rest Memorial Park. Visit Leta’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Association or Centrica Care Navigators (Formerly Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan).