Life Story Visitation
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where Food, Drinks and Stories will be shared.
Rosary and a time of sharing
Mass of Christian Burial
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.
14100 Newburgh Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With unwavering morals and an inspiring work ethic, Mary Ellen Murphy lived a life rich in faith and family. She was genuinely interested in people and enveloped them with sincere compassion and empathy. Embodying the principles of her faith, Mary Ellen was quick to serve others, ensuring their well-being, providing encouragement, and cheering on their successes. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Mary Ellen was an inspiration to all who were blessed to know her.
1954 was the year the nation learned to "Rock Around The Clock" and that "Father Knows Best." Young people across America embraced the new sounds that came with the recording of Elvis Presley's first album as well as M&M's Chocolate Candies' "melt in your mouth and not in your hand," sweet delights. It was a time of robust change and much hope for the future. Nowhere was there more hope than in the home of Jack and Elizabeth (McClusky) Hiltz as they welcomed their second child, Mary Ellen, into their family on May 24.
Growing up in suburban Detroit in a strong and traditional Catholic home, Mary Ellen's early years formed the firm foundation upon which she built the rest of her life. While her father was a civil engineer, her mother worked as a nurse before dedicating herself to raising Mary Ellen and her three siblings, Kath, Peggy, and John. Mary Ellen was a good sister who was both fun-loving and protective. The family enjoyed spending time camping and vacationing together. When MaryEllen was a young adult, her family purchased a cottage on Hammond Bay in 1977. For many years, the cottage was a summer haven where many treasured memories were shared for generations to come.
Mary Ellen enjoyed participating in drama club during her years at Our Lady of Grace grade school and later at Bishop Borgess High School in Redford. After graduating with the class of 1972, she attended the University of Michigan at Dearborn, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in speech pathology.
After college, Mary Ellen worked as an executive secretary at Flint Ink, which supplied ink to newspapers. She excelled at the job with exceptional attention to detail and a strong work ethic. While attending a social event at Detroit College of Law with some of her classmates, Mary Ellen first met Bill Murphy. It took Bill a few months to call Mary Ellen to ask for a date. When she took his call, she was certain his intention was to request she type a paper. Instead, he asked her out for a picnic and fireworks, and she said "yes." That was in July of 1979, and by October, they were engaged to be married. On April 19, 1980, the happy couple exchanged their wedding vows in a ceremony at Mercy Chapel at the University of Detroit.
Once in Kalamazoo, she worked as an executive secretary for the store manager at Hudson’s which is now known as Macy’s. After she and Bill started a family, she chose to stay home and dedicate herself to the home and the children. Mary Ellen kept a meticulous home with fine things and was a very supportive mom. Their biggest supporter, she never missed a special event and wanted the best of the best from each child in whatever they did. She guided their spiritual growth, never shied from giving direct feedback, and often reminded her kids that "You are treated the way you allow others to treat you." Determined to provide their children with strong work ethics, they had a Gazette paper route for years which helped them learn the value of hard work, handling money, being accountable, and fulfilling responsibilities. As her mother taught her, Mary Ellen's children learned to be strong and independent.
Once her children were all in school, Mary Ellen returned to the workforce. She held various jobs throughout her working life, including running the script program at St. Monica School. Mary Ellen enjoyed decorating and fine furniture and found employment at Christy's Consignment shop where she continued working for many years. Her last employment was at Western Michigan's School of Medicine, where she worked as a standardized patient, helping medical students in their training. She was also an active volunteer in the community and within the church. No matter the endeavor, Mary Ellen did everything with zest, compassion, high ethics, and standards of excellence.
With a servant's heart, Mary Ellen devoted herself to the excellent care of her family and friends. She went out of her way to make her eleven grandchildren feel special. When they visited, they could always look forward to selecting something special from her surprise drawer. She enjoyed having the kids for sleepovers and planning special outings. During the recent pandemic, she willingly helped teach them via FaceTime and was lovingly known as “Ms. Crab Apple.”
While Mary Ellen was taken too soon, every moment shared with her was a gift we will long treasure. May we find comfort in the many wonderful memories and her legacy that lives on in our lives. Like her, may we foster faith, lend a hand, lead by example, and encourage hope, and in doing so keep her spirit alive.
Mary Ellen Murphy died on Friday, March 24, 2023, after suffering a stroke on Thursday morning. She is survived by her husband, Bill; 4 Children: Kevin (Kristin) Murphy, Michael (Emily) Murphy, Jim (Angie) Murphy, and Jackie (Karl) Recker; 11 grandchildren: Brad, Kate, Annie Jo, James, Kayden, Kaelyn, Carrie, Kohen, Max, Clay, and Isla; Siblings: Kath (Bob) Breen, Peggy (Dave) Mazur, Johnny (Debbie) Hiltz; and many loving nieces and nephews.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Tuesday (MAR 28) from 4–7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A Rosary and time of sharing will be held at 7 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday (MAR 29) at 11 AM at St. Monica Catholic Church. Burial will be at Mt. Ever-Rest North. Visit Mary Ellen's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Angela Hospice or Catholic Charities - Diocese of Kalamazoo.