LIVE STREAM SERVICE
Thursday, February 11, 2021
10:00 AM EST
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.
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Life Story / Obituary
Mary Ann Cromie was an amazingly talented woman. A loving wife, proud mother, and devoted grandmother she modeled a genuine and kind-hearted approach to life with everyone she met. Mary Ann was a dedicated teacher for much of her life. Teaching her students to read opened countless doors to a new future for them. She cherished her growing family and wanted nothing but the best for each one of them. The wonderful memories she leaves behind will forever be etched on the hearts of her many special friends and loved ones for generations to come.
The 1930s were a time of great change for Americans. Bonnie and Clyde headlined many newspapers, Donald Duck made his first appearance bringing laughter to children and adults alike, and the new game of Monopoly brought families together around the table. Miles and Marie (Feldmann) Allen welcomed Mary Ann into their loving arms on September 11, 1934. Born in Evanston, Illinois the family later moved to Saginaw, Michigan.
Growing up, Mary Ann fell in love with Michigan summers spent at a cottage in Linwood on the Saginaw Bay. Along with her brother, sister, and cousins, she spent many days roaming the beaches and making memories along the way. Born with an adventurous spirit, Mary Ann loved to travel. In the 1950s she took a Windjammer sailing cruise in Jamaica and also biked along the east coast of the US. In 1958, she was named Saginaw City Ambassador, earning an eight week trip to Sweden! Traveling by steamship, she talked fondly of this cultural experience.
Studious and ambitious, after graduating from St. Mary’s High School, Mary Ann attended Western Michigan University. She joined and embraced the women in the Sigma Chi Omega sorority. After completing her bachelor’s and obtaining her first job as an occupational therapist, she later returned to WMU to complete her Masters’ degree in special education. She soon joined an area ski club and one night with her ski friends, Mary Ann was introduced to Wesley Cromie and was immediately charmed. Wesley was strikingly handsome and, having a fabulous sense of fashion herself, Mary Ann thought Wes was a dapper dresser. They were soon joined in marriage and together they raised three wonderful children, Matthew, Elizabeth and Spencer.
Mary Ann spent several years raising her children before returning to the work force. She enjoyed working with handicapped children and soon became a tutor with the SLD Center in 1977 helping students with dyslexia. Despite her demanding schedule, family dinner was always important. Mary Ann was very supportive and encouraging of her kids’ various interests. She balanced her career with teaching her children many of life’s valuable lessons. Mary Ann wanted nothing more than to maintain a loving relationship where they would be heard, loved, and accepted. Mary Ann taught at the Kalamazoo Academy for over twenty-three years and was the Director of the Learning Differences Program. A highlight of her career was being one of the very first recipients of the Excellence in Education Award. By her retirement, she had collected boxes full of letters from many of her former students expressing their sincere appreciation for her patience, compassion, and for giving them the gift of reading. Children were her passion, both her own and those she helped nurture in her classrooms over the years.
Mary Ann was a woman with many special interests. She enjoyed going to concerts and frequented the Sunday concerts in Bronson Park put on by the Kalamazoo Symphony. She also attended many local theatre productions. She loved and supported the arts and volunteered her time at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. A bit of an artist herself, she was accomplished in needlepoint and knitting as well as landscaping with flowers adorning her home. A wonderful host and extraordinary cook, Mary Ann loved to entertain and host dinner parties over the years. Her cooking is legendary amongst family and friends. Her favorite pastime was simply being outdoors, day trips canoeing on local rivers with Wes, and especially days on the beach collecting beach glass from her favorite shorelines along Lake Michigan. Fun to be around, she was an exceptional card player and particularly liked playing Hearts and Rummy. She also enjoyed cribbage and shooting pool. In her later years, she played cards and pool with friends at the Portage Senior Center. There was never an idle moment for Mary Ann!
As much as she cherished raising her children, she was elated to be a grandmother. She enjoyed spending an afternoon at the park when they were young and watching them splash in the kiddie pool. She introduced them to the beach and attended many of their sporting events as they grew older. Nothing brought her heart more joy than the time they spent together. There were also challenging times for Mary Ann and her family. Spencer and Wes both passed away bringing a profound loss to Mary Ann. Support from her friends and family carried her through. A few years later a wonderful man, Jim McCollum, brought love and peace to her life.
An elegant woman with an appreciation of everything in life, Mary Ann never took a single day for granted. She was a genuine person who loved and accepted all others, especially young children. She was incredibly proud of her children and wanted to share in their every success! There is no doubt that her gentle nature and words of wisdom will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.
Mary Ann Cromie, age 86, of Portage, MI, died peacefully on February 8, 2021. Mary Ann was preceded in death by her husband, Wesley; her son, Spencer; her brother, Miles Allen; her sister Barbara Weadock; and her fiancé; James McCollum. Surviving are her children: Matthew (Leslie) Cromie and Elizabeth (Steven) Rochow; grandchildren: Michaela (Garrett) Fisk, Nathaniel Cromie, and Aaron and Maria Rochow; and several nieces and nephews. Private services will take place with burial at South Portage Cemetery. A celebration for friends and family will be scheduled at a later date. Visit Mary Ann’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900.