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.
Planned Parenthood of Kalamazoo
4201 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Nancy Ross was a woman of strong family values. She was a wonderful mother as well as a loyal companion to her partner, Clô over the years. Nancy modeled a lifetime of hard work, selflessly putting others first and being a genuine friend to many. She wanted nothing but the very best for her family. Her warm personality, cheerful demeanor, and ability to accept all that came her way will be lovingly remembered for generations to come.
The 1930s were being marked by tough economic times, yet the decade also saw an expansion of new technologies, especially in the fields of aviation, radio, and film. In the same year that the Boulder Dam, later renamed the Hoover Dam, was completed and Jesse Owens dominated the Berlin Olympics, Fred and Ruth (McKinney) Alkema welcomed home their newborn daughter, Nancy on September 22, 1936, in Ludington, Michigan. Her birth brought much joy and happiness to her loving parents. Later she was joined by her younger brother, Bud and she was a loving role model to him.
Nancy lived a typical childhood of the times. As a young child, she was known to read voraciously. Her introverted disposition lent itself well to hours upon hours of reading. As a student she was studious and serious, graduating with the Class of 1954 from Ludington High School. Ambitious and determined, she set off for Western Michigan University to study English Literature. It was a perfect fit for her love of both reading and writing. After graduation, the course of her life would change upon meeting Carl Czuchna. The two of them were eager to settle down and they were married by 1958. In just nine short years, they were joined by four wonderful children who filled their lives with love. Nancy enjoyed her role as a mother and stayed home to raise the children. She was known to dote on the kids and loved to treat them to graham crackers and frosting when they came home from school. Her children were her everything!
By 1975, however, their marriage had ended which forced Nancy back to school to further her education as she had to provide for herself and her growing family. This time she pursued a Master’s degree in Counseling. There was no rest for the weary in those days as she often managed her school work, the kids and held down small jobs such as selling wigs and Tupperware, and even selling some of her “own stuff” from the house to get by until she completed her degree. After the divorce, Nancy was a pioneer of healthy, clean eating and was a vegetarian for a long time. She’d often bundle up the kids to head outside and call them in for dinner or give them detailed instructions for warming up casseroles during her long evening shifts of working or studying. During those years she and her children grew closer as they leaned on one another to manage their hectic schedules. She was very proud of each of them for their successes along the way. Nothing brought more joy to her heart than celebrating the traditional holidays with her children. Even as they grew into adults she loved to spoil them with a Christmas gift of dinner and a show, complete with a limousine ride! There simply wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for them.
Although she worked at several private practice agencies over her early years, it wasn’t until she received Imago Therapy training in Toronto that Nancy found her niche! Falling in love with the methodology, she devoted the next thirty years to this form of healing while remaining in Canada. While practicing privately, she fell in love with Clô Couture, a French Canadian who shared many of her special interests. Together they traveled extensively throughout Europe including France, Italy, and Austria. Vienna was her absolute favorite destination. She was content watching Clô cook and garden. Vibrant and creative, Nancy gained more ground in her career when she started her blog, Blooming Relationships. It was a unique blend of her love of counseling and writing all wrapped into one! She found great satisfaction in helping others develop deep and intimate relationships during her tenure.
Nancy’s private life was just as rich as her professional one where she was known to try her hand at just about anything. Her taste in both food and drink were above average, savoring East Indian and Thai food as well as Prosecco and Scotch. When it came to sweets there wasn’t much that she didn’t like but she had an exceptional love for Ed’s ice cream in Toronto. Nancy continued her love of reading throughout her life developing a fondness for British mysteries. She also loved to listen to classical music and enjoyed attending the theater, the opera, and the movies. She and Clô cherished their dog and the three took daily walks, enjoying each other's company. They shared an abundant life together until sadly, Clô passed away from breast cancer in 2015. There was no greater testimony of their love together than the years that Nancy cared for Clô during her illness.
Moving to Kalamazoo to live near her daughter, Lisa afforded her the time to spend with loved ones. They were thankful for their time together to enjoy Nancy’s warm sense of humor and graciousness. She will be forever remembered for her generosity and kindness. Each life she touched was changed for the better. May her loved ones be filled with her rich memories and wisdom to guide them for years to come.
Nancy Ross, age 82, died December 16, 2018 in Kalamazoo. She was the proud owner of her private counseling practice, Blooming Relationship Couples Therapy where she succeeded over the years. She was preceded in death by her life partner Clô Couture. Surviving are her four children: Jeffrey (Connie) Czuchna, Craig (Sherri) Czuchna, Lisa (Robert) Ailstock and Michelle (Andrew) Mason; 6 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren; brother, Bud Alkema and two nephews. Cremation will take place. Time of Sharing will be held on Thursday, December 20th at 2pm at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 followed by a reception in the Life Story Center. Please visit Nancy’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhhome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Planned Parenthood.