Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Renee "Poppy" Y. Jones

September 19, 1957 - September 22, 2020
Portage, MI



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.

Family Gospel Chapel
320 Division Street
Bangor, MI 49013
(269) 427-7833


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

Life Story / Obituary


Poppy Jones was a hard-worker for the family she loved. She had a sincere passion for giving her personal best to whatever she set her mind on doing, and lived each and every day to the fullest. The epitome of a loving grandmother, she offered endless hugs at any family gathering. With so many wonderful memories over the years, Poppy felt blessed as a mother, sister, grandmother, and friend to many. Gone too soon, there is no doubt that she will be greatly missed by her loving family and many special friends.

The year 1957 was where Poppy’s story began. It was a period of time marked by the many talents of professional sports figures, musicians, and movie stars such as Jackie Robinson, Nat King Cole, and Dorothy Dandridge. Families still huddled around television sets to watch, The Little Rascals or catch the latest western. By this time, Congress passed the Voting Rights Bill, the first major civil rights legislation in more than 75 years. Just three weeks later, on September 19th in Chicago, Illinois, Renee was born the sixth child of ten children. Her birth brought much joy and happiness to the family home. Known for her ability to dance and literally bounce from an early age, she earned the nickname, Poppy, that stuck with her throughout her adult years.

Poppy grew up on the west side of the city. Her childhood was filled with many memorable moments of hanging with her mother’s large extended family. Raised with a strong faith life, donning new Easter outfits was a tradition each holiday season and a spark for fashion that seemed to last well into her later years. Poppy grew up with many cousins who shared her affinity for music and family barbecues. By the late ‘60s, she had experienced significant racial disturbances including riots from the civil unrest of that era. Seeking more opportunities, her family chose to relocate to a quaint and more rural area in Michigan by the time she was heading into the eighth grade. There, she was able to take up fishing, an outlet and favorite pastime that she later handed down to her three wonderful children; Kevin, Andre, and Cherie.

Although she was a young mother, she relished in her role. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her family. Active as a mother, she enjoyed attending her kids’ sports; especially the boys’ basketball games and Cherie’s ballet recitals. A firm believer in education, Poppy was proud to have earned her high school diploma in 1987 as a single mother. She instilled in each of her children the value of treating everyone with kindness and living by God’s word. She modeled for them a generous heart and opened her home for countless teens over the years. Poppy asked for nothing in return, yet she led many to turn to Christ. Spending a large majority of her time in the kitchen, Poppy had perfected a wide range of tasty meals for her family. Some of her favorite dishes to enjoy in her later years were fried bluegill, seafood, and Mexican. She loved food in general, and never missed an opportunity to pick up some Italian beef when she visited her hometown of Chicago that brought back many memories of her childhood days.

Not to be forgotten was the meeting of Andrew Jones while they were working at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant. She was an administrative assistant at the time and the two of them hit it off right from the start. Sharing many commonalities, they started dating in 1988 and joined in marriage on April 23, 1990 at Family Gospel Chapel in Bangor with Pastor John officiating. They blended their family together and enjoyed hosting large family cookouts over the years and dancing to their favorite ‘70s R&B music; Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, and Patty LaBelle. Poppy later went on to become an administrative assistant to the principal at the alternative education school in Bangor. She was a natural fit for the job and was well liked by her co-workers and students. Anything related to running a school office was no challenge for her. She loved those kids and was always looking out for their best interest. Even during the summer months, she helped out at the Van Buren Intermediate School District supporting migrant families. Sadly, when she was faced with medical issues, she took a medical leave in 1997.

She and Andrew enjoyed many years together. Both fond of traveling, they frequented the Petoskey area northern Michigan as well as many trips to Florida, Indiana, and Atlanta. She also loved to go shopping! No trip was ever complete without picking up a few accessories. Keeping herself well dressed as well as her daughter and grandchildren, was blamed on the Chicago girl in her! Everything needed to match and recently she grew fond of online shopping and having things shipped directly to her door! A lover of all people and passionate about her faith, Poppy lived her life as a loving example of accepting all others. Described as generous to a fault, Poppy was known for her love of friendship and laughter and above all else, her family. Deeply cherished, may her loved ones never doubt the endless love she held for each of them and may her memories live on in their hearts forevermore.

Renee "Poppy" Y. Jones passed away on September 22, 2020. She was a founding member of her home church, Family Gospel Church in Bangor. She is survived by her husband, Andrew; her three children; Kevin (Sherry) Thomatis, Andre (Angela) Thomatis, and Cherie (Mark) Littel; her ten grandchildren: Nikki, Keandra (Danny), Kevin, Jr., Andrea, Ayanna, Aniya, Analise, Sophia, Mark III, and Myles; as well as her three great-grandkids: Destini, Dariana, and Delani. She is also survived by her siblings; Ethel Colbert, Linda (Ulysses) Peterson, Carolyn Somerville, Sharon Franklin, Gregory (Tina) Campbell, and Kevin Campbell. She was preceded in death by her parents and her three siblings: Larry Campbell, Rickie Amos, and Connie Birmingham. Private services were held. Visit Renee’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 Family Gospel Chapel in Bangor.