Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Mary Jo Clemons

January 8, 1944 - December 23, 2022
Kalamazoo, MI


Life Story Services

Friday, December 30, 2022
12:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

A reception where food and stories will be shared will take place immediately following the service in the Life Story Center

Driving Directions


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.

Loaves and Fishes
901 Portage Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Reflecting on the life of Mary Jo Clemons, words such as fun-loving, devoted, and compassionate come to mind, yet the word that is most fitting to describe her is selfless. Mary Jo had a generous heart and loved to gather her family together over the years. Exceptionally kind and caring, she leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories sure to be shared for generations to come.

Not much could be said about the 1940s without some reference to WWII. In 1944, musician Bing Crosby was the most popular man in America, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet radio show debuted, and IBM announced the first program-controlled calculator. During the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mary Jo was born to Fred and Sadie Dykstra on January 8th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born the second child, her birth brought great joy and happiness into their lives at a tumultuous time in history.

Growing up on East Main Street in Kalamazoo, Mary Jo lived a typical childhood of the times. Her father was a hard worker and instilled in her a strong work ethic. As a family, they enjoyed many wonderful summers at their summer home on Selkirk Lake near Shelbyville. Mary Jo was a proud graduate of Kalamazoo Christian before attending Western Michigan University.

Her career in the secretarial industry started at Wheeler-Blainey for a short time before she landed a position with National Water Lift (Parker-Hannifan) where she remained for a remarkable forty years. Mary Jo loved to bring in fresh baked goods for her co-workers and always made everyone feel special in her presence. Mary Jo held a personality for lifting the spirits of others even at their darkest times. She truly cared about others.

Mary Jo was married to Dale Clemons for forty-two years. Together they raised two beautiful children, Michelle and Wes. Mary Jo was the main breadwinner of the family. Together they shared many memories on their travels around the world and Mary Jo especially loved their trip to Italy. Her home was filled with many of the knickknacks and souvenirs she collected on their trips. Despite her time away on trips, she preferred to be home and lived a quiet simple life. She taught her daughter to work hard, and to never worry as things often work out in the end. Mary Jo was especially thrilled when she became a grandmother and later a great grandmother. Nothing brought her more joy than to see her family grow.

Mary Jo enjoyed many favorite pastimes. She loved to decorate her home, especially for the holidays and was known to wrap gifts with elaborate bows and neatly folded corners. Her home was adorned in her favorite color red as well as her special collection of frogs. She loved to make sure everything was in its place. Even the way she plated her food for her company followed the style of Martha Stewart, a famous television personality. Crafting was also a special way she contributed to her home decor and she loved giving her creations to close friends and family. When it came to dressing, Mary Jo loved to have matching accessories and never left home without her makeup and hair ready. For entertainment, she enjoyed attending plays and musicals. For relaxation, Harlequin romance novels were her favorite as well as watching Perry Mason and Alfred Hitchcock shows. When not watching crime or mystery shows, she enjoyed the regular game shows. Mary Jo's optimistic personality contributed to the fact that she was always content with anything she was doing.

A strong-willed and independent woman, Mary Jo never let the constant pain due to numerous health issues define her life. In her fifties, she suffered a stroke and also dealt with other ailments as time went on and she spent many years on dialysis. In April of 2022, she lost her leg to amputation due to complications of her illness. She never complained and focused instead on her family. She wanted nothing more than to share in their every success and looked forward to any time they could be together. There is no doubt that Mary Jo leaves a large void in the lives of those who loved her. May her loved ones never doubt the immense love she held in her heart for each and every one of them and may her special memories be eternal.

Mary Jo Clemons, age 78, of Kalamazoo, MI, died on Friday, December 23, 2022, at Rose Arbor Hospice. Members of her family include her daughter: Michelle (Scott) Kegeler; two grandchildren: Jorden (Sabrina) Kegeler, Kylee Kegeler,. Other members of her family a sister: Judy Stackpole, two brothers: John (Becky) Dykstra and Bill Dykstra, and two great-grandchildren: Malachi and Ezra Kegeler. Other members of her family include Karen Vetter and her son Tom Vetter and many special nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her son, Dale Wesley “Wes” Clemons, and Jeremy Vetter. Life Story services will be held at 12 noon on Friday, December 30, 2022, at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A reception will be held where food and stories will be shared immediately following the services in the Life Story Center. Please visit Mary Jo’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, and photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes.