Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Ruth Golliver

August 10, 1932 - January 10, 2022
Kalamazoo, MI


Life Story Visitation

Thursday, January 27, 2022
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900
Driving Directions

Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, January 28, 2022
1:00 PM EST
St. Thomas More Catholic Parish
421 Monroe
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


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


All who knew Ruth Golliver would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She left an everlasting impression on her family, her church and her circle of friends. She was strong, resilient, and the sort of person who never met a stranger. Although she accomplished so many things of which to be proud, there was nothing that was more near and dear to Ruth’s heart than her daughter and grandsons who were the apple of her eye. Generous and kind, she was someone who would help others in ways both great and small. Deeply loved, Ruth will be forever missed.

The 1930s brought us some of the most trying days we have faced as a nation as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, and unemployment rate soared, and things only become more dire with a drought that crippled our nation’s heartland for nearly two years during this time. Despite the trials around them, John Paul and Leah Charlene (Mickey) Pionke had much to celebrate as they were blessed with the birth of the baby girl they named Ruth Mary on August 10, 1931, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The youngest of four, she was joined in her family by her siblings, Rose, Rowene, and John. Ruth’s father was a carpenter while her mother was a nurse. Her father turned Ruth into a tomboy who especially loved being outside.

One of the things Ruth was best known for throughout her life was her strong work ethic. She attended local schools including State High. Ruth later went on to Western Michigan University, becoming the first in her family to attend college. During her younger years she enjoyed traveling, and for a time she lived in California before moving back to the Kalamazoo area. Over the years Ruth worked as an administrative assistant at several places around Kalamazoo before finding her niche at the Kalamazoo County Health Department until retiring in 1994.

As much as her work was an important part of her life, nothing was of greater significance to Ruth than her family. She was a strong and independent woman who raised her daughter, Dawn, as a single mother. Ruth continually stressed the importance of family and genuine relationships with others. When she became a grandmother, she couldn’t have been more thrilled, and it was easy to see that the sun rose and set with her twin grandsons, Derek and Justin. Ruth was a vital part of her grandsons’ lives, and she taught them so many different things. Among the most valuable lessons were how vital it is to follow their dreams as well as staying strong and taking care of themselves.

There were so many others who were touched by Ruth over the years. Creative and talented, she was a member of the Pen Dragon Calligraphers and enjoyed making beautiful cards and art. One of Ruth’s most favorite things to do was to send out homemade cards to family and friends whether it was to come alongside them to celebrate, honor, encourage, or to comfort them. She also knit hats for cancer patients as she became a cancer survivor herself when she beat breast cancer. Ruth would also knit prayer shawls for fellow parishioners at St. Thomas More Church where she was very actively involved. One of her fist jobs out of college was teaching art at Kalamazoo Central High School. Although she only did this for a short time, she was such a gift to the program and was proud that her work was displayed at the Kalamazoo Nature Center and also at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. In more recent years, Ruth liked staying connected with people via her Facebook page.

As her family and friends can attest, Ruth was someone who preferred to be busy. She enjoyed playing cards, boardgames, especially Scrabble, and to keep her mind sharp she wrote the day’s activities and the tasks she got done in her journal. Ruth also enjoyed both the Game Show Network and Food Network as well. During baseball season – you could guarantee she would be watching the Detroit Tiger’s as she was a long time fan.

With unending love for those around her, Ruth Golliver touched the lives of so many in such a significant way. She loved using her time and talents to touch and support others during both their peaks and valleys. Ruth’s greatest treasures weren’t things she owned, rather, it was the relationships she shared with others that meant the most. She loved being surrounded by the love of her family, and she was so proud of her daughter and grandsons. Life will never be the same without Ruth here, but she leaves behind a brilliantly colored mosaic of memories that her loved ones will forever cherish.

Ruth Mary Golliver, a longtime resident of Kalamazoo, died peacefully on Monday January 10th 2022. Preceding her in death were her 2 sisters Rose and Rowene and her brother John. She is survived by her daughter Dawn (Brian) Bradley; 2 grandchildren: Derek and Justin; and many nieces and nephews. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where stories will be shared on Thursday, January 27, from 5-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Mass of Christian burial will be Celebrated at 1:00 PM on January 28 2022 at St. Thomas More Catholic parish church, 421 Monroe St, Kalamazoo. Visit Ruth’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society in lieu of flowers.