Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Pearl Lee Brown

June 5, 1936 - December 18, 2021
Mattawan, MI


Life Story Visitation

Tuesday, December 21, 2021
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Where Food, Drinks and Stories will be shared.

Driving Directions


Wednesday, December 22, 2021
10:00 AM EST
Renovation Church
1715 West Centre
Portage, MI 49024
Web Site


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.

Renovation Church
1715 West Centre Ave
Portage, MI 49024
Web Site

Betzler Life Story Funeral Home FBO Funeral Expenses
(269) 375-2900

If you wish to donate towards the funeral expenses, we invite you to call our funeral home for payment processing.


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


Pearl Lee (Merchant) Brown, 85, died peacefully in her home on Saturday, December 18, surrounded by her family.

Pearl Lee was born in Washington, D.C., to Lloyd C. and E. Alma (Martin) Merchant on June 5, 1936. After graduating from Washington-Lee High School, she married Gerald (Jerry) Brown on August 1, 1954 in Arlington, VA. After Jerry graduated from barber school, they moved to Niles, Michigan. While Jerry barbered, Pearl Lee worked for seven years until her first child, Mark, was born. While in Niles, she was an active member of the Pokagon United Methodist Church, involved with women's ministries, potlucks, and the choir. There, she and Jerry began a couples club with four other couples who have met monthly for over 50 years. Her second child, Dawn, was also born during their time in Niles.

In 1973, the family moved to Mattawan. Pearl Lee again became involved in the local church, Almena United Methodist, enjoying many activities, especially singing in the choir. In addition to gardening, Pearl Lee enjoyed picking asparagus for several local growers for more than 20 years. Pearl Lee and Jerry led a 4-H group on safe and smart bicycling. She has been a member of the Portage Free Methodist Church since 1979, and continued serving as she always had: supporting missionaries, women's ministries, and singing in the choir. Pearl Lee's favorite activity for the 67 that she would send cards to everyone, whether for encouragement, bereavement, celebration, congratulations, or just because.

Pearl Lee is survived by her husband, Gerald; 2 brothers: Henry Merchant of Columbia, MD and David (Barbara) Merchant of Alexandria, VA; 1 sister Mary Merchant Johnson of Woodbridge, VA; 2 children: Mark (Bonnie) Brown of Kalamazoo and Dawn (Gerald) Hoke of Mattawan; five grandchildren: Ryan (Brittany) Brown, Brittney (Charlie) Dysard, Hunter Brown, Mya Hoke, Lily Hoke; 8 great-grandchildren: Marissa, Landyn, Xaine, Wriann, and Holden Brown; Zaria, Ezekiayl, and Zechariah Dysard; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks and stories will be shared on Tuesday (Dec 21) from 4-7 PM at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday (Dec 22) at Renovation Church,1715 W Centre St., Portage. Visit Pearl Lee’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Renovation Church or Betzler Life Story Funeral Home FBO Funeral Expenses.