Life Story Visitation
Life Story Service
Monday, November 15, 2021
11:00 AM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
A reception with food and refreshments will follow in our Life Story Center. Burial at Fort Custer National Cemetery.
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
With a feisty spirit and a loving heart, Madeline "Midge" Batt lived a life rich in family and friends. Well known for her legendary might, Midge added a bit of spice to every moment. She welcomed life's joys and hardships with equal gratitude and perseverance, celebrating every moment she was gifted. She loved fiercely and never shied away from sharing her opinions. Midge found her joy in the simple things in life, her family, her friends, and her community. A treasure for all who were blessed to know her, Midge will long be remembered and ever so missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With an innate drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in Harrietta, Michigan, as Edgar and Florence (Mack) Benninger welcomed their daughter, Madeline, to their family on March 14, 1932.
The youngest of the eight Benninger kids, Midge learned the values of family and hard work from her earliest days. She grew up on a farm in the small rural community of Harrietta, where her days were filled with helping her father tend the crops and completing various chores. She attended local schools, but after her father was paralyzed from a boating accident, she didn't want to finish her schooling and left Cadillac High School after the ninth grade. +
While working at a restaurant, Midge met the love of her life, William "Bill" Batt. His sister Eleanor introduced the pair, and soon they were dating. They enjoyed dancing together and quickly fell into a delightful companionship. Shortly after they met, Bill joined the Marine Corps. As he left for the war in Korea, he told Midge not to wait for him as he didn't expect to come home. Fortunately, he returned safely, and the happy couple married on October 16, 1954.
Blessed to welcome four children to their family, Midge dedicated herself to being a stay-at-home mother. As a mom, she held high expectations and was a firm disciplinarian. She had a long-handled wooden spoon she used to enforce her rules. When her sons tried to run out of her way, she'd quickly crack them on the elbow with the spoon as that's the only way she could catch them. Despite being a disciplinarian, Midge also knew how to have fun and was known to play hide and go seek with them in the backyard of their home in Vicksburg, Michigan. The time she moved the grill in the garage, and a blue racer snake shot out at her gave her quite a terrible fright and became the stuff of legend.
Over the years, Midge worked various jobs, including as a study hall monitor at Schoolcraft High School, where she was fondly known as "Ma Batt" and held in the highest respect by the students. Midge worked at several restaurants too and enjoyed cooking for local patrons.
As her children grew and became parents, Midge was very excited to become a grandma, asking her son, Dave aka Uncle Dave, to build her first grandchild, Heather, a special chair for her and it was called an Angel Chair. Woodworking skills run in the family as years later, Midge’s grandson, Carter, offered to craft her urn…which he did. Without a doubt, Midge enjoyed nothing more than sharing time with her grandkids. She was so very proud of all of them. Her home offered the perfect yard for family gatherings, especially for watching Schoolcraft’s 4th of July parade. No matter the reason for getting together, it was sure to be a good time.
Midge loved cooking and, in fact, it was one of the ways she expressed her love for people. Her art was throwing spices and ingredients together and just making it work. Her home was always filled with the smell of fresh homemade bread, the best fudge, and her potato soup was unrivaled. Her secret BBQ sauce was especially enticing. She even sold it in local shoppes for a brief time. Midge always said she'd take the recipe to her grave…and she has.
Country Western and Big Band music were her favorites. The classic tunes of Hank Snow, Hank Williams, and Patsy Cline could often be heard throughout her home. Midge also had a passion for knitting and crocheting. She made Barbie doll clothes for her daughter and more blankets and throws than anyone could count. She had such an abundance of blankets that she donated many of them to her StoryPoint neighbors. Midge also made hats, mittens, dishcloths, and so much more. Each of her grandkids had a special scarf, baby blanket, or hat made especially for them.
Though small in stature, Midge stood her ground and was not afraid to share her opinion. If asked how she was doing, she became famous for her signature reply, "I'm fat and sassy and twice as nasty!" which always inspired a smile of surprise and a chuckle. One of the greatest gifts Midge gave her family was the love she shared with Bill. She even enjoyed it when her sweetheart pinched her butt from time to time. She never stopped loving him, even after he died.
Clearly, the world feels less certain in the absence of Midge's steadfast presence. While we will surely miss her feisty spirit, may we find comfort in our many treasured memories and in the honor of carrying her legacy forward. With each meal we joyfully make for our loved ones, moment we confidently share our truth, or spin on the dance floor we take, or homemade blanket we warm up with, we celebrate the many ways Midge gifted our lives. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired each of us.
Madeline "Midge" Batt, age 89, died on October 30, 2021. Midge was preceded in death by her husband, Bill; son, Billy; and daughter, Gaylynn; her parents, and siblings: Gwen Butcher, L.D. Benninger, Max Benninger, Vivian Butcher, Velmo Knoch, Ed Benninger, and Neil Benninger. Surviving are her children: Spring (Kip) Waltke and Dave Batt; grandchildren: Heather (Alric), Alishia, Meagan (Nick), Brandon (Jennifer), Paul, Carter, and Camryn; great-grandchildren: Keegan, Elijah, Ramon, Jayce, Adaline, Cheyann, Taylor, and Gwenifer; daughters-in-law: Jenica and Kerry; sisters-in-law: Marilyn Rutherford and Delores Baker; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place. Please join us for a Life Story visitation at 10 AM Monday (NOV 15) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900, where a funeral service will begin at 11 AM followed by a reception in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories will be shared. Burial at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Visit Madeline's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Laurus Hospice or StoryPoint Senior Living.