Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Rose Mary Gazella

May 14, 1934 - August 23, 2023
Kalamazoo, MI



Friday, September 1, 2023
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church
434 High Street
Ionia, MI 48846


Friday, September 1, 2023
11:00 AM EDT
SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church
434 High Street
Ionia, MI 48846

A lunch will be served immediately following the service in the cafeteria.

Web Site

Memorial Mass

Tuesday, September 26, 2023
2:00 PM EDT
St. Thomas More Catholic Parish
421 Monroe Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
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.

American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22478
Oklahoma City, OK 73123
(800) 227-2345
Web Site

Alamo Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center
8290 West C Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 343-2587
Web Site


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


Rose Mary Gazella was a longtime teacher, member of her church community, sister, aunt, and friend who expressed genuine interest in everyone she met. Rose Mary’s greatest source of pride and joy came from spending time with her family. She leaves wonderful memories in the hearts of her former students, many special friends, and family members.

Rose Mary arrived on May 14, 1934, on the brink of what would later be recognized as the turning point in America’s Great Depression. As unemployment rates began to decline and the country’s economy began to recover, Rose Mary’s parents Frank and Mildred (Jackson) Gazella welcomed her into their loving home in Ionia, Michigan, the seventh of twelve children. Her parents instilled in her the importance of family at an early age, and Rose Mary carried this with her all her life.

Growing up in Ionia, Rose Mary and her family shared many happy memories. As a child, she loved ice skating, swimming, and Girl Scouting. Rose Mary attended local schools and graduated with the Class of 1952 from Saints Peter and Paul Academy. Throughout her high school years, she enjoyed participating in school plays, choir, and various religious activities. Ambitious as well as studious, she went on to college, graduating summa cum laude from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids in 1956. Her love of history propelled her onto the campus of Western Michigan University where she earned her master’s degree in 1963.

Rose Mary’s career was in education. She brought her teaching gifts to various Michigan schools including Saint John Vianney High School in Flint, Portage Central and Portage Northern High Schools in Portage, and Saint Margaret’s in Otsego. Her passion was teaching social studies, yet she also taught English and reading, embedding her love of history into all her lessons. For many years Rose Mary also worked as a tutor at SLD Learning Center. In 2000, Rose Mary retired from Saint Margaret’s, having touched the lives of countless students over the years.

Being creative was a huge outlet for Rose Mary. She enjoyed crafting and painting, as well as making homemade cards. She delighted in any time she was able to participate in theater and loved reading. Rose Mary loved sending cards to people on special occasions or simply to brighten their day.

Rose Mary always remained engaged with her community. She was an active member of Saint Thomas More Parish, helping at many church events. She also enjoyed working with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) as well as the American Cancer Society.

Ultimately, Rose Mary’s purpose in life revolved around her family. She loved learning about her heritage and family history and was seen as a family historian. Rose Mary put together a family tree and made sure her family members received copies as sharing the family story was very important to her. May her loved ones never doubt the love and concern she had for each one of them.

Sadly, Rose Mary suffered a debilitating stroke in the early 2000’s. Her limited mobility eventually led her to Alamo Nursing Home and Rehab Center in Kalamazoo where she could receive more care. Rose Mary’s family will be forever grateful to all the wonderful people at Alamo and all the help they provided.

Rose Mary Gazella, age 89, passed away on August 23, 2023, at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. The family wishes to thank all the wonderful staff at Bronson who cared for Rose Mary in her final days. Rose Mary is survived by sisters Louise (John) Sweet of Minnesota, Margaret Bonham of Macomb, and Mary Jane Gazella of Grand Rapids as well as many nieces, nephews, and other relatives. She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers: James, Richard, Carl, and Charles, and sisters: Catherine (Gallagher), Josephine, Janice, and Janet.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, September 1, 2023 at 11 a.m. at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 434 High Street, Ionia, Michigan. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. The burial will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Ionia, Michigan. Visit Rose Mary’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and to sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, or Alamo Nursing Home and Rehab Center. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, Michigan. (269) 375-2900.