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Life Story / Obituary
Rosary, visitation, and Mass of Christian Burial have been postponed and will be rescheduled. Please check back later for details.
Mary Anne Stora-Jansen was an exceptionally loving wife, mother, and grandmother. Born with an adventurous spirit, she lived her life to the fullest. She loved her family most of all and wanted nothing more than the very best for each of them. Although she will be deeply missed, her warm memories will be fondly remembered.
Her story begins in the 1950s when James Dean was all the rage, Elvis Presley introduced the world to his Rock ’n Roll music, and the I Love Lucy show changed the way we viewed the American family. John and Dolores (Gormley) Stora welcomed home their newborn daughter, Mary Anne, on January 8, 1955, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her birth brought great joy and happiness into the family home.
At a young age, Mary Anne relocated to the Detroit area where she spent her formative years attending local Catholic schools. Her dad worked for the liquor control board and moved the family to Portage where Mary Anne completed her schooling, graduating from Portage Northern High School. Mary Anne embraced every new challenge with optimism and enthusiasm. She and her high school sweetheart, Michael Gunderson, joined in marriage and were elated when their daughter, Angie, arrived. She was a supportive mother and enjoyed sharing a close bond with Angie over the years. More than just a mom, she was a best friend. The two of them could talk for hours about anything and everything!
With a strong desire to further her education, Mary attended Western Michigan University and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree while Angie was in high school. In so doing, she instilled in her daughter the importance of education and being independent.
In August of 1986, she married her second husband, Dale Jansen, who was her true companion. They met while the two of them were working as cashiers at Meijer. She later helped pioneer a recruiting program for new employees. Known for her wild and crazy antics at work, she caught his attention right away! Sharing many common interests, they enjoyed camping, kayaking, taking wonderful canoe trips together, and the thrill of white water rafting as well. Often, their water adventures were quite a bit above their skill level. One highlight was their trip to the New River in North Carolina. Known for her nerves of steel, no matter the difficulty of the river, Mary Anne was always up for the challenge! She truly knew how to embrace every moment. When Angie was young, the family would always plan a week-long camping trip. Mary Anne loved planning the trip and often had several maps spread out all over the floor marking the route between campgrounds and sightseeing stops. She enjoyed experiencing new things and new places.
Mary Anne felt especially blessed with the arrival of her grandchildren, Ava and Anson, who always brought out a special twinkle in her eye. They filled her retirement years with joy and love. Family meant the world to Mary Anne and any event was made better having her family close, especially birthdays, Christmas, and Easter. Nothing was sweeter than spending quality time together. A family tradition was visiting her dad’s farm each year for pumpkin day. The whole family would join in the fun and gather pumpkins. Anything involving the farm brought a smile to Mary Anne’s face.
Always one to keep busy, in her retirement, Mary Anne took a job in the floral department at Wedel’s Nursery and Garden Center to fill her days. This also helped support her trips to garage sales and craft shows. Continually on the hunt for a good bargain, she was known to travel several hours away to attend an estate sale or find just the right collectible piece! She amassed quite an assortment of antiques and collectibles with the intention of one day selling them herself.
Active in her faith community, Mary Anne was a member of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church. She was proud to travel on two mission trips with friends from church to their sister parish in El Salvador. Although Mary Anne spoke only a small amount of Spanish, she had a real knack for working with the kids they met on the trips and keeping them entertained.
A true animal lover, she was especially fond of cats. Enamored by their cuteness, she rescued many throughout her life and commonly had at least two or three cats in the house. She also recently adopted a dog, Minka, who was her special companion.
Described as resilient, loyal, and fiercely independent, Mary Anne leaves a beautiful example of never taking a single day for granted. Her strong convictions and her genuine love of others are the treasured gifts that will remain in the hearts of all those that knew and loved her.
Mary Anne Stora-Jansen, age 66, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, died on November 23, 2021. Surviving are her husband, Dale; daughter, Angela (Mick) Enders; grandchildren: Ava and Anson; sibling: Catherine (Scott) Bloem; nieces and nephews: Abigail (Matthew) Tissue, Alexander (Richelle) Ostrowski, and Audrey Ostrowski; aunt, Sandra Romero; and uncles: Dennis (Judy) Hall and Jim (Masai) Gormley. Mary Anne was preceded in death by her parents; and her aunts, Dorothy and Mamie.
Cremation has taken place. Rosary, visitation, and Mass of Christian Burial have been postponed and will be rescheduled. Please check back later for details. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church. Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900.
Also, visit https://scraphist.com/maryanne where the family encourages you to view additional photos, video clips, and memories.