Live Stream Service
Saturday, October 10, 2020
11:00 AM EDT
Saturday, October 10, 2020
11:00 AM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
A reception will be held immediately following the service in the Life Story Center.
For those desiring to see the family but do not wish to enter the building, please come to patios located outside of the Life Story Center between 12 noon and 1 pm.
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With infinite warmth and kindness, Patricia Secson lived a joyful life rich in family and friends. Patricia possessed a love for life that was evident in everything she did; her laugh was infectious, and her style incomparable. She carried herself with grace and confidence, embracing each day as a gift. She welcomed every moment with happiness and joy that inspired her family and friends to do so as well. Patricia greeted every person as a friend and loved to entertain and share her beautiful home with her loved ones. Truly an original, her kindness was only exceeded by her generosity. Patricia was an inspiration to all who were blessed to know her. Her radiant spirit will surely continue to live in the hearts of those she loved.
On September 18, 1934, in London, England, Thomas and Mabel Wood delighted in welcoming their daughter Patricia to their family. The youngest of the six Wood children, Patricia grew up in Tottenham, where her first years were relatively quiet and modestly comfortable. World War II quickly changed her entire community's experiences, and Patricia's childhood became a collision of joys and losses. Despite the daily challenges, the Wood family home was filled with love and culture. Patricia's mum took her and her sister Joan to dance lessons, and her father played the piano. The house was always filled with music.
During the war, The Wood family was forced to evacuate London during the bombing. Once, they found sanctuary in Wales, and once they made their way to Northern England. Unfortunately, Patricia and her family were in London during the Blitz. As the kids were making their way home from school, and the mothers in the neighborhood were in their homes preparing dinner, the bombing began. Sadly, one of the neighbors was killed as her home was hit while she was tending to the kitchen. The war interrupted Patricia's schooling, and though she eventually completed her High School equivalency, the working class had very few opportunities for advanced education in those days. She never felt like she had a proper education. Just a few short years after the war ended, when Patricia was only 13 years old, her mother died after falling into the sharp corner of a cupboard and didn’t realize she had punctured her lung and died from internal bleeding. Her untimely death deeply affected Patricia. She would often tell her children that she felt her mother’s presence and talked to her daily.
At the age of 17, Patricia found work selling jewelry at the Co-Op Department Store. Patricia possessed a keen eye for style and a genuine affinity for people that made her a natural at the work. In time, Patricia married Bill, one of the boys who grew up in the same neighborhood and shortly thereafter moved to the USA in 1957. Sponsored by Bill's sister and brother-in-law, the newlyweds soon found themselves living in the small town of Davison, Michigan. Leaving England, her family, and the cultural traditions she so loved, proved difficult for Patricia. It was an enormous culture shock, and to add insult to injury, Bill abandoned her while she was pregnant with her first child.
Patricia returned to England to give birth on December 11, 1958, to Rachelle. After welcoming her daughter into the world, Patricia faced the daunting decision to either stay in England with her family or return to the USA to see if things could work out with Bill. She inevitably chose to return to Davison, where Bill never came back, and she became a single mother and only parent. Initially, she lived with Bill's sister and brother-in-law, but that proved to be very difficult. With little education and a toddler in hand, she found work cleaning hunting cabins and lived on-site near Davison, then a department store in Flint. Eventually, she found work on a factory line and moved to Lapeer.
While living in Lapeer, Patricia was set up on a blind date with Bob Secson. Instantly smitten, the two began dating and married in 1962. Bob happily adopted Rachelle, and the family moved to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, where Bob worked at the Regional Center for Developmental Disabilities. When Bob was drafted into the Army, they spent a brief time in Colorado, where Patricia became pregnant. In 1968, the family moved back to Mt. Pleasant, where they welcomed their son, Thomas, on December 5.
In 1970 Patricia and Bob moved their family to West Drive, where they lived for 17 years. In 1987 upon their son Thomas’s constant insistence of going to open houses to find the perfect home, their dream of living near water came true when they found 303 Hiawatha Drive. She and Bob loved the home's distinct architecture, and with their eye for design, she and Bob lovingly transformed it into a beautiful sanctuary. Patricia took great pride in her appearance and always dressed to the 9's. She had closets and closets full of stylish clothes and many drawers full of jewelry. During the early 90s, she started to antique and collected mostly jewelry, dishes, nick knack’s, and small furniture items. She loved going to garage and estate sales and hunting for exciting finds that she could keep or resell in multiple booths at various antique malls in Mt Pleasant. Her home was constantly being redecorated and they were always thinking of the next home improvement.
While raising her family in Mt. Pleasant, there wasn't a lot of extra money for traveling home to England. Instead, the family spent their time in Michigan traveling to Lapeer to see her in-laws, and up north to Rush Lake in the summer to Aunt Kate and Uncle Lyle's cottage. The summer of 1974 proved a time of great adventure when Bea and Louis Secson paid for everyone to fly to England to visit Patricia's family. 15-year-old Rachelle, 5-year-old Thomas, Bea, Louis, Bob, and Patricia, stayed with Patricia's sisters, Joan and Joyce, in Hockley, England. A big family reunion was held, and all of Patricia's siblings and their families attended.
In 1975, Patricia lost both her father-in-law and brother-in-law, and the family of eight grew significantly smaller. Time together became even more precious. The family gathered together for Christmas in Mt. Pleasant, Easters continued to be celebrated in Lapeer, at her mother-in-law, Bea's, and Thanksgivings were held in Almont at Aunt Kate and Uncle Lyle's.
After Bob died in 2001, Patricia moved Kalamazoo to be closer to her children. Rachelle had recently moved to West Michigan, and Thomas was living in Chicago at the time. It didn't take long for Patricia to make Kalamazoo her home. Her passion for fashion, jewelry, interior design, painting, gardening, and charitable work, led to Patricia finding much joy in volunteering her Thursdays to working at the local Discovery Shop, a thrift store dedicated to supporting the American Cancer Society. She relished in connecting with the customers, especially the regulars who purposely shopped on Thursdays so they could share time with her.
Patricia never hesitated to volunteer her time and talents in support of organizations she felt strongly about. During the many years Rachelle made her career as a recreational therapist at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital, Patricia frequently lent a hand at many events. She participated with the KPH Guild who lovingly wrapped Christmas gifts for the patients. She also volunteered at the annual Summer Fest, helping cook the hot dogs and would work the booth selling garden plants.
Nothing brought Patricia greater joy than sharing her love of family and friends with her love of water. Once she planted the seed of buying a cottage where loved ones could gather, it didn't take long for her to discover a magical place on the St. Joseph River in Mendon. She purchased the cottage on September 8, 2008, but quickly realized it was too much to have two homes. Lloyd decided to buy from her a year later to ensure it would stay in the family. The past 12 years of ownership have afforded so many events and memories. Annual Spring Flings and Fall Falderal celebrations, artist parties, and casual family gatherings always proved special. As did listening to Rachelle play guitar and sing. The pontoon afforded fantastic floats on the river, and there was always heavenly food and joyful dancing when anyone gathered. Patricia loved how the cottage brought friends and family together.
In the last several years, Patricia especially treasured spending time traveling with her family. In 2008, She and Rachelle and Lloyd traveled to Tuscany, Italy, where they stayed in a villa with a group that made wonderful day trips all over Italy. She loved meeting and making wonderful connections with her fellow travelers from all over the US. In 2015, she took a trip to Ireland and England with Rachelle and Thomas. She loved Ireland and looked forward to returning one day. Their time in England was extraordinarily special as they shared precious time with family and returned to her childhood home. As they visited the neighborhood, she reminisced with her children, pointing out the Peabody Estate and her neighbor's house that was bombed and rebuilt. 2017 inspired a magical trip to Paris in December, where Pat and her children, including son-in-law, Lloyd, celebrated Rachelle's 59th and Thomas' 49th birthdays. She met her friends, Doris and Lily Pontieri, for Doris' Art Opening at the Louvre and shared a long weekend with her sister, Joan Wood, and niece, Gill Pady. Serendipitously, Pat's nephew, Jamie Wood, and his fiancee, Emma, were in Paris at the same time and to share dinner one night. A wonderful December 2018 trip to Malaga, Spain found the family celebrating Rachelle's 60th and Thomas' 50th birthdays. Pat wanted to keep going on trips as they were huge highlights and happy times. The family had a trip to Portugal and England planned for April 2020. Though the plan was for Pat to return to England one more time to see her homeland and sister, heartbreakingly, it had to be canceled due to damn Covid!! Now, Rachelle, Thomas, and Lloyd will plan a trip to England to celebrate Pat's life and spread her ashes as soon as it is safe to travel.
Regardless of trials and tribulations, Patricia met each day with style, grace, gratitude, and love. In so doing, she proved a powerful role model for how to live a wholehearted life! While it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Patricia's bright and beautiful presence, may we find much comfort in the privilege of carrying her loving and joyful legacy forward. As we greet each day with gratitude, welcome a stranger as a friend, carefully set our table, gather with song and dance, and say "yes" to the next adventure, we celebrate the many ways Patricia gifted our lives. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired each of us.
The loveliest of women, Patricia Secson, age 86, of Kalamazoo, died on Monday, October 5, 2020, at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. Members of her family include her daughter Rachelle Secson, her son Thomas Secson, her son-in-law Lloyd Bateman, a sister Joan Wood, a sister-in-law Brenda Wood, 3 grand dogs: Rachelle’s Chachie, KaiBo, and Thomas' Cooper, 7 nieces and nephews Billy Skinner, Ronny Skinner, Maggie Winston, Bobby Wood, Gill Pady, Janice Fox, and Debby Best. She was preceded in death by her brothers Bert and Charlie Wood and a sister Frances Skinner.
Funeral services will be held at 11 am on Saturday, October 10, 2020, at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, where the family will receive friends immediately following the service with a reception in the Life Story Center. Cremation will take place after the service, and some of her ashes spread next to her husband Robert in the Imlay Township Cemetery. Please Visit Patricia's personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you may read her Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook. Memorial Contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.