Mass of Christian Burial
Thursday, April 27, 2023
11:30 AM EDT
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
2003 Mt. Olivet Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49004
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 unwavering faith and a charitable heart, Mary Ann Voss graciously dedicated her life to sharing her gifts in good stewardship with her family and community. Mary Ann welcomed each day as a gift, was committed to kindness, and lovingly encouraged the best in those she served. Though she never married or had children of her own for more than three decades, she devoted her life to empowering the young people she taught. An inspiration for all who were blessed to know her, Mary Ann will long be remembered and so very missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural 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 Ashland, Wisconsin, as John and Pearl (Bonnot) Voss welcomed their daughter Mary Ann to their family on August 9, 1933.
Growing up mainly in Stanberry, Missouri, Mary Ann grew up like most post-Depression kids, learning to be frugal and resourceful. Her mother made many of the clothes the family wore. Her father was a manager for JC Penney, which resulted in the family having to move to various states. Mary Ann had the opportunity to meet Mr. Penney when he gave the commencement speech at Stanberry School. Seven years older than her sister, Susan, Mary Ann shared some of her experiences and her knowledge of the flute with Susan.
Mary Ann's musical journey began in her early years when she started taking piano lessons. Always drawn to the power of music, she continued to play piano throughout her life. While in high school, she played flute. After graduating from Stanberry High School with the class of 1951, Mary Ann began to pursue her college education at the University of Missouri. She later transferred to Drake University, where she earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree.
With her degree in hand, she began teaching in Corwith, Iowa, before securing a teaching position with Kalamazoo Public Schools in 1958. For the next 35 years, Mary Ann committed herself to gifting young people the thrill of making music. For much of her long career, she worked at Washington Elementary School. A member of Sigma Alpha Iota and Delta Kappa Gamma, she later earned her master's in music at Northwestern University.
Faith was always the cornerstone of Mary Ann's life, and she was a longtime member of St. Augustine Cathedral. A devout Catholic and fellowship member, she donated much of her time playing the organ for the church and sang alto in the choir. Mary Ann never hesitated to give of her time and talent in service of others. One year, she took a sabbatical from teaching and spent the year in Amarillo, Texas, with other volunteers teaching in underprivileged areas.
Mary Ann liked traveling in her younger years. She made several memorable trips throughout the U. S. and Europe with friends and colleagues from Northwestern. Visiting the homes of many musical composers was a privilege she treasured. For many years, Mary Ann played for the Kalamazoo Symphony and was also a member of a small ensemble that would perform for various groups around town. She enjoyed classical and Broadway musicals and attended many shows at Miller Auditorium. She particularly enjoyed sharing her passion for music and knowledge of the flute with her nephews.
In her spare time, Mary Ann enjoyed sewing. More recently, she enjoyed researching her ancestry and discovering many interesting details about her family from Europe. Dedicated to preserving the family heritage, she conducted her meticulous research at the library instead of online.
As we celebrate Mary Ann's beautiful life and the missing of her steadfast companionship, may we find comfort in our treasured memories and the many ways her legacy lives on. In every moment we open ourselves to the power of music, give of ourselves in service to others, grow our faith, explore our history, and indulge in anything chocolate, we keep Mary Ann's heart song alive. In this way, she will continue to inspire others as she so inspired each of us.
Mary Ann Voss, of Kalamazoo, age 89, died on April 23, 2023. Mary Ann was born August 9, 1933, in Ashland, WI, to John and Pearl (Bonnot) Voss, who precede her in death. Surviving is her sister, Susan (William) Webb; and nephews: William Webb and Stephen (Bridgett) Webb. Funeral Mass will be celebrated Thursday (APR 27) at 10 AM at St. Augustine Cathedral, 542 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, with burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Visit Mary Ann's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Kairos Dwelling. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.