Life Story Service
Saturday, October 22, 2022
3:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
A reception will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories can be shared.
Monday, October 24, 2022
10:30 AM EDT
Fort Custer National Cemetery
15501 Dickman Rd
Augusta, MI 49012
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.
Centrica Care Navigators
7100 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
American Kidney Fund
11921 Rockville Pike, Suite 300
Rockville, MD 20852
1 (800) 638-8299
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Marilu Brisky, it is easy to see both her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She was a shining example of hard work and positivity, and she strove to live each day to the very fullest. A loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, Marilu brought joy to all those around her in even the simplest of things. She was always willing to go above and beyond to serve others. Deeply loved, Marilu will be forever missed by those who knew her best.
While the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as countless young American men and women were serving during WWII, rationing of common goods became a way of life for those who remained stateside. In the midst of these eventful days, there was still cause for enjoyment. Hollywood entertained us on the Silver Screen with films starring top actors like Bette Davis and Gary Cooper. The tunes of Glenn Miller’s Orchestra filled the radio waves, and color televisions began to slowly find their way into living rooms across the nation. Closer to home, it was a time of great celebration in the lives of Edward and Victoria (Arsulowicz) Marczynski as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Mary Louise on May 21, 1941, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Growing up, Marilu was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home in Grand Rapids as the oldest child of the family. Mary grew to be very close with her four sisters, Irene, Marge, Sue, and Ellyn. Her father, Edward, was an organist and also owned the Holiday Bar in Grand Rapids. Mary discovered her love for flowers at a young age, and this passion led her to her first job at Ball Park Floral, where she formed the firm foundation of the solid work ethic that would serve her well for her tire life.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Marilu as she met the man who would quickly become the love of her life. His name was Bill Brisky, and the two first met on a blind date on New Year’s Eve, 1960. Quickly their relationship blossomed into something truly wonderful. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Marilu and Bill were married on November 23, 961, at St. James Church in Grand Rapids, which happened to fall on Thanksgiving that year. They would go on to spend so many joyous years together.
All who knew Marilu can surely agree that, of all the things she loved in life, she treasured her family above all else. She and Bill were overjoyed to welcome their first child, Bill Jr., into their hearts and home in the midst of a blizzard in January, 1963. Lynn joined the family in 1965, followed by Janet two years later. Marilu considered being a mother to be her greatest gift. She dedicated herself to remaining close to her family as a stay-at-home mom until her children were all in school. Later in life, Marilu was thrilled to become a grandmother to Ryan, Liam, and Paul. She always considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
In 1964, Marilu and her husband, Bill, moved to Portage so that Bill could accept a teaching position at Portage Central Middle School. They would go on to spend the next 28 years in their home on Rockford Street, raising their family and building their lives together. After becoming empty nesters, Marilu and Bill moved to Woodsong Way in Kalamazoo, where they would live for the next 30 years. Their home served as the backdrop for countless family gatherings and holiday celebrations.
Marilu was never afraid to work hard in order to support herself and her loved ones. She worked in the engineering department at American Seating Company from her high school graduation until marriage and then devoted herself to caring for her children until they were in school. Marilu then worked at Peterman’s Greenhouses and spent 30 years at Don’s Card Hut at Southland Mall in Portage, where she served as a manager. She loved her job and enjoyed training new employees, sharing her experience and her knowledge. Marilu was always known for her positive attitude and her ability to make any customer smile.
Throughout their years together, Marilu and Bill enjoyed traveling around the world. While their children, Bill, Lynn, and Janet, were still young, the Brisky family traveled to Europe and visited Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stonehenge, and Wimbledon. They were also able to enjoy traveling by longboat on the Avon River. In later years, the Brisky family went to the UK once again and toured various castles and museums in Ireland, Scotland, and England. Marilu and Bill also visited Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, and Austria. One of their favorite memories was a family trip to attend the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada.
Never one to sit still for long, Marilu pursued many hobbies to stay busy in her free time. She enjoyed spending time in the kitchen, baking and decorating cookies with her family. Marilu often hosted cookie decorating competitions and offered rewards to whomever was the most creative. She liked to go blueberry picking with her grandsons as well. Marilu was an avid reader, especially of murder mysteries. She loved to celebrate whatever was happening in a loved one’s life. Marilu enjoyed having fresh produce on hand and was a regular at the local farmer’s market. She and Bill had a garden of their own at their house on Rockford Street. Marilu was known for her infectious laugh, and she was always happiest when surrounded by those she loved.
As her family and friends can surely attest, Mailu Brisky truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength for others, and she always had an encouraging word to say. Nothing brought Marilu greater joy than spending time with her family. She was always willing to help others, and she was known for her sense of humor and her insatiable zest for life. Though she will be dearly missed, Marilu leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
Mary Louise Brisky of Kalamazoo, age 81, died on October 1, 2022. Members of her family include her children: Bill (Katie) Brisky, Lynn (Jay) Kessen, Janet (Matthew) Halpin; 3 grandchildren: Ryan, Liam, and Paul; and her sisters: Irene (Justin) Gruszka, Marge (Roger) Fry, Sue (Patrick) Samuels, and Ellyn (Mike) Simonetti. She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill.
Celebrate Marilu’s life with family and friends on Saturday, October 22nd at 3 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories can be shared. Burial at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Marilu’s personal web page at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. In honor of Marilu, the family has asked for you to do a kind deed for someone who is in need. Memorial donations may be made to Centrica Care Navigators (Hospice) or American Kidney Fund.