Life Story Visitation
Sunday, April 16, 2023
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
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.
American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22478
Oklahoma City, OK 73123
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
113 S Main St
Plainwell, MI 49080
Life Story / Obituary
Nancy Pennington was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and a wonderful friend to all who knew her. Active throughout her life, she made the most of each and every moment. She loved to entertain and host large gatherings over the years. Deeply loved, Nancy’s wonderful collection of memories and genuine ability to accept all others will be cherished by her special family and friends forevermore.
Her story begins in the year 1940. Harry and Lillian (Blaylock) Lewis welcomed home their daughter, Nancy, on August 19th in Pettry Bottom, West Virginia. Born the second oldest child of the Lewis family, her birth brought much happiness into their loving home.
As a child, Nancy fell in love with the outdoors. She and her siblings loved the fresh air of the mountains and playing outside finding mischief in their day-to-day activities. These years embedded in her the importance of family which she carried with her throughout her life. Studious and ambitious, Nancy graduated from Marsh Fork High School where she met the man who would change the course of her life forever, Garry Pennington.
Relocating to Kalamazoo as a young couple provided Garry with more opportunities than in West Virginia. He was able to land a full-time job at Kalamazoo Sled Company which gave him better wages and benefits. Nancy began work at Industrial State Bank, eventually becoming a teller supervisor. The happy couple married in 1960. Saving all of their resources, they were excited to purchase their first home in 1965 where they welcomed home two wonderful sons, Darrell and Derek.
Nancy thrived as a stay-at-home mom in the Seventies. She set boundaries for her boys yet doted on them just the same. It was important to her that her sons made good choices and become responsible adults. Each night she cooked a homemade meal and perfected her way around the kitchen. She loved trying new recipes and no one ever went hungry in Nancy’s house! She and Garry raised their children with a strong sense of family. Each Christmas season they returned to West Virginia to be with relatives. The boys fondly remember these times as special and included large groups of people packed into living rooms opening gifts and ringing in the New Year. These moments became an important part of their childhood. In addition to caring for the boys, she also took great care of the yard. She had a large vegetable garden and tended to her flower beds. Being in the sun and working outdoors was an outlet for her throughout her life.
As a family, they enjoyed vacationing together. They always took a Spring Break trip and in the summer they spent time on their boat along the Lake Michigan coastline at South Haven or Saugatuck. Many warm summer nights were spent on the dock or on the water. Nancy never missed showing her support for her boys over their growing years. She was always on the sidelines and the first to volunteer for their many special events. Though firm in her parenting, her children never doubted her love for them. They knew they could rely on her for help and advice without judgment. For a reprieve from parenting, Nancy and Garry enjoyed many hobbies. They played on a bowling league as well as card games with special friends.
Nancy and Garry were blessed with an abundant life. They were especially happy to welcome grandchildren into their lives. She and Garry were both equally involved, yet Nancy enjoyed spoiling them! She cared for them when they were babies and remained active in their school functions, including sporting and special events. Her support for her family was unwavering. Nancy also attended many football games to support Derek’s teams in Kalamazoo, Zeeland, and Caledonia where her grandson Derek Jr. is a standout athlete. Even in frail health, she cheered on the players at nearly each and every Caledonia football game. Always present in their lives, she was the biggest fan of her children and grandchildren.
When Garry retired, the two of them enjoyed wintering in Orange Beach and Panama City. Their best buddies, Jim and Joyce Ryan often joined them on their trips. The couples took turns hosting card games and making potluck meals including many of their friends and colleagues from Checker Motors that also stayed in the area. Nancy was sure to bring one of her special dips and they played cards well into the evening hours. Walking the beach for miles with Joyce while Garry went surf fishing, was a special highlight whenever they were down South. Another favorite memory of their time in Florida was preparing large seafood boils with shrimp and all the fixings. Entertaining friends and family was Nancy’s truest joy! She loved people and she especially enjoyed making each and every person feel special in her presence.
There was no greater testimony of the love she felt for Garry than the tender way she cared for him when his health declined. She was always right by his side and gracefully made her peace in his final moments. Described as mentally and physically tough, Nancy was the foundation of her family. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved her. May her warm memories bring a spark of joy to her loved ones and live eternally in their hearts.
Nancy Pennington, age 82, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, died on April 8, 2023. Nancy was preceded in death by her husband, Garry, and her brother, Harry Jr. Surviving are her sons: Darrell (Maria) Pennington and Derek Pennington; Katie Pennington; grandchildren: Shane, Alexa, Celisse, Georgia, and Derek Jr.; siblings: Judy, Danny, Kathy, and Mike; and many special nieces and nephews.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Sunday, April 16, 2023, from 4-6 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Visit Nancy’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and to sign her guestbook.