Tuesday, January 22, 2013
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Refreshments will be served.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
11:00 AM EST
St. Monica Catholic Church
4408 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Followed by a luncheon in the church hall.
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.
The Sally Castleberry Memorial Funds for the Arts C/O Hackett High School
1000 W. Kilgore
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A vivacious, fun-loving, and passionate woman, Sally Castleberry was a blessing in the lives of all those within her reach. She was never one to worry about building wealth according to the world’s measure, rather, she was all about bringing joy to others. A devoted wife and mother, Sally supported her husband and sons in everything they did, and she made life an adventure, too. Her strength was inspiring, and she had a special way of making others feel at ease as she never met a stranger. With what should have been years left in which to compose her life’s song, Sally was taken from her loved ones much too soon.
It seems only fitting that Sally’s life began during a time that was as colorful as she was. There were great strides made regarding both civil rights and women’s rights while the Vietnam War divided us. As a nation we mourned the loss of President John F. Kennedy, yet we also celebrated Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon in 1969. Nestled within this unprecedented time was the year 1966 that was filled with great joy for one young couple from Kalamazoo, Michigan, as they were anxiously awaiting the birth of their new baby. They were filled with pride as they announced the birth of their healthy baby girl on February 20th of that year. Sally Ann was the youngest of three children born to her parents, Gene and Sue (Saum) Brocato, and was raised in the family home alongside her siblings, Catherine and Joe. Her mother was a teacher at St. Monica and later taught at Loy Norrix High School teaching special education. Sally’s grandmother also taught at St. Monica Elementary years earlier. Her father worked as a field representative for Nabisco.
In many ways Sally experienced a fairly typical upbringing. She was bubbly and outgoing right from the start, which is why she always had numerous friends. It was also while she was growing up that Sally uncovered her artistic side that would fuel her lifelong passion. She was a student at St. Monica and went on to Hackett Catholic Central High School. Sally was popular among her peers and always had a listening ear available for anyone - a quality that others appreciated in her throughout her entire life.
After graduating from high school in 1984, Sally went on to Western Michigan University, becoming the third generation in her family to do so. She pursued and obtained a degree in art education in 1989. With her education behind her Sally began teaching art education for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in the Hillsdale School District at North Adams – Jerome school.
Not to be forgotten during her years at Western was Sally’s introduction to the young man who stole her heart. His name was Bill Castleberry and they met through her friend, Laura Brower. They were immediately smitten with each other. The couple began dating and soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Sally and Bill were married on August 28, 1990 at St. Monica Church. Since her new husband had just graduated earlier that week and she had to teach that Monday, the newlyweds were unable to take a honeymoon right away.
Shortly thereafter, Bill began working as a sales manager at ADCO in Michigan Center, MI. Sally continued teaching. After eight years they moved from Jackson back to Oshtemo where they settled into the home they would share for the rest of Sally’s life. Bill took a sales management job with Burco in Grand Rapids and Sally took time off to raise their two wonderful boys Joe, born in 1994 and Jimmy, born in 1996. In 2002, Sally returned to teaching and accepted a position at St. Monica School becoming the third generation to have taught there. Sally loved the school, the community, and most of all she loved the students.
There was never anything that was more important to Sally than being with her family. Since Bill traveled quite a bit, she took the opportunity to take her boys on fun adventures. They drove all over Southwest Michigan, frequenting new places to eat including unique restaurants and dinners. Their adventures quite commonly ended at a local beach, and most summers found them renting a place in South Haven for a week. They made many weekend trips to Chicago where they had so much fun trying new restaurants and appreciating the arts. She coached her kids for Destination Imagination, even traveling with them to nationals a few times.
With her own creative flair, Sally made home such an inviting place. She went all out in the decor with bins full of treasures appropriate for all the different seasons. A talented artist herself, Sally’s home often showcased her own artwork and garage sale finds as she enjoyed repurposing pieces that had such great character. Saturdays were often reserved for she and her friends to go out looking for treasures at various garage sales. For the past three years she had been working at home creating unique art from her home studio. Sally made jewelry and painted with both water and acrylic paints and she also worked with other mixed media in her basement studio. All who were guests in Sally’s home would agree that their home was always tastefully decorated in such a unique way.
Throughout her life Sally had many interests. She enjoyed music and often had popular songs playing for her boys or in her classroom. Sally liked reading fictional dramas, and it was not uncommon for her to stay up well into the night hours with her nose buried in a book. She became a great cook who wasn’t afraid to try new things, often gaining inspiration from different cooking shows. Sally enjoyed traveling and loved the trip they took to Maui, London and trips to Southern California.
It was easy to see through the way she lived her life that Sally Castleberry had a heart of gold. She loved freely and without condition focusing on family, friends and students. Sally helped others in any way she could in ways both great and small. People loved her wherever she went, and countless lives have been forever changed because of her touch.
Sally Ann Castleberry died on January 16, 2013. Sally’s family includes her husband, Bill Castleberry; sons: Joe and Jimmy Castleberry; parents, Gene and Sue Brocato; siblings: Catherine (Ross) Dristy and Joe Brocato; nieces: Katie and Kristina; in-laws: John and Mary Castleberry, John (Tracy) Castleberry, and Andy Castleberry (Tim McCumber); and nephews, Clark, Mitch and Trent Castleberry. Learn more about Sally, view her Life Story film, and share in some refreshments with her family and friends on Tuesday from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler – Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Dr., 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday 11:00 a.m. at St. Monica Catholic Church followed by a luncheon in the church hall. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a memory or photo or sign her memory book before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be directed to The Sally Castleberry Memorial Fund for the Arts C/O Hackett Catholic High School – 1000 W. Kilgore Rd. Kalamazoo, MI 49008.