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Burt Lake Preservation Association
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Life Story / Obituary
It was a blessing to have known and loved Nancy Kozacki. Just as nurturing as she was loved, she’ll be deeply missed and fondly remembered.
Catherine Nancy Bronczyk Kozacki was born February 28th, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan to Andrew and Kathryn Bronczyk. Always known as Nancy, she and her two younger siblings, Andrew and Barbara, grew up in what is now the Church of the Transfiguration Historic District. Her father supported their family with his work at the Chrysler automotive company while her mother cared for their home and family. As a young girl, Nancy enjoyed a typical childhood of the times, centered around extended family and her neighborhood. She had fond memories of going to visit Hudson’s Department Store and later would bring her own daughter there to shop. Her parents were both from the Upper Peninsula near Iron Mountain and she enjoyed spending summers at her maternal grandparents’ farm. Nancy’s upbringing in a family devout to their Catholic faith laid the foundation for Nancy’s lifelong faith.
After graduating from St. Florian Catholic High School in 1956, Nancy went to work at Standard Federal Bank. She enjoyed the freedom of working, often traveling with her girlfriends and spoiling her younger sister, Barb, with presents.
As a young woman Nancy sang in the church choir where she met her future husband, John Kozacki. On May 2, 1964, she married John and after a large, traditional Polish wedding they packed up a trailer of gifts and moved to New Jersey together. Their time in New Jersey was short as John’s career in the plastics industry moved them frequently for the first few years. Their son Jeff was born in Kalamazoo in 1965, and daughter Karen in Detroit in 1967. In 1970 the family made the Portage/Kalamazoo area their home. In 1978, John founded Total Plastics Inc. Nancy supported the growth of the business, working as a bookkeeper and also supporting John’s work in the National Association of Plastics Distributors.
In 1982 John and Nancy bought a cottage on Burt Lake, outside of Petoskey, Michigan. Their vacation home became a hub for family and friends. In the summer of 2000, they moved to John’s dream home on Colonial Point. Life at the lake defined John and Nancy’s later years as they hosted family and friends for many events, including their famous taco dinners. At the lake, they met a new, wonderful group of friends, even spending winters with many of them in Bonita Springs, Florida, which their children called Burt Lake South. Their lifelong friends and the Burt Lake crew supported Nancy during John’s many health issues and eventually her own.
Nancy was not only a great support to her immediate family but to her extended family as well. She spoke to her brother and sister every week without fail. She was a loving and attentive aunt. “Aunt Nancy” never forgot a family member’s birthday, especially doted on her nieces, nephews, whom she always adored. It is a family joke that her nephew, Dave Chapman, had more influence with her than her children. But Jeff and Karen never doubted their mother’s love. She supported them in every way and cherished her four grandchildren, Hanna, Johnny, Nat, and Everett.
Although her main focus was raising her family, Nancy will also be remembered as a good neighbor and pleasant woman who bore life’s challenges with a quiet strength and smile. She and her friends enjoyed bowling, bridge, and golf leagues throughout her long life. Nancy was a wickedly good card player, although she would tell you she was just “lucky.”
Generous to their family and community, Nancy and John had giving hearts, particularly to the community in which they lived. Together they frequently gave to local charities and even established a scholarship at Detroit Catholic Central High School.
As her own health began to decline after John’s death in 2012, Nancy split her time between the lake and The Fountains at Bronson Place in Kalamazoo. There she made numerous friends and entertained them with stories of her grandchildren and Burt Lake.
It was evident that family, friends and faith were the cornerstones in Nancy’s life, and family is the loving legacy Nancy leaves behind. She was fiercely committed to her family. Whether directly or indirectly, Nancy always wanted her family to do their very best in life and nothing brought her more joy than bringing her family together. The lessons in life Nancy shared by example were to bear hardship with strength and grace, be thankful for your blessings and generous to family and community. For these things and so much more, she will be remembered with love and admiration.
Nancy Kozacki, age 81, of Kalamazoo died on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Members of her family include her children: Karen Kozacki-Snell (Chris) of San Rafael, Calif. and Jeff (Linda) Kozacki of Kalamazoo; and her four grandchildren Nathaniel, Everett, Hanna, and Johnny. Other members of her family include her brother and sister: Barbara Zrebski (Tom) and Andrew Bronczyk (Judy) as well as many beloved nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, John Kozacki, in 2012.
A private Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Augustine Cathedral. Please visit Nancy’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read her life story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Burt Lake Preservation Association BLPA.org. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900