Life Story Visitation
Friday, August 18, 2023
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Life Story Service
Life Story / Obituary
Kitty Smith brought a bright spark of light and joy to everyone around her. Optimistic and light-hearted, Kitty modeled a genuine love of all people. A wonderful partner, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt. She approached life with a passionate energy, always living life to the fullest! Kitty was incredibly strong and resilient and was blessed with a beautiful, infectious smile, and a cast of family members supporting her every step of the way in life. There is no doubt her tenacious personality will be deeply missed.
Kitty’s story began in 1970, when music continued to make a significant impact and the nation was on the edge of the Disco era. Many groups of Americans continued to fight for expanded social and political rights and successfully lowered the voting age to eighteen. Amidst this exciting time, Ronald and Gloria (O’Day) Smith were pleased to welcome their newborn baby girl, Shantel, on February 9th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her birth brought much joy and happiness to their loving home.
Growing up, Kitty lived a memorable childhood filled with special moments and wonderful opportunities. Active and full of curiosity, she loved to always be on the go. Favorite pastimes were playing double Dutch, drawing, writing poetry, and playing in Bronson Park with her siblings. She loved her sisters, and they held a special bond throughout her life. Dancing and singing came naturally to Kitty. If she knew the words to a tune on the radio, her sweet voice would join in. She was a fast talker and born with a hearty laugh that her family compared to barney rubble. She loved to entertain, bring joy to others, and make people feel special.
As a mother, Kitty was strict, yet full of compassion and kindness. She held a fiercely protective love for her children and enjoyed playing with them when they were little. It wasn’t uncommon for her to run around the yard chasing after them with water balloons or playing sports…and later reminding them to do their chores! Kitty was an avid gamer and enjoyed beating her kids and their friends at their favorite PlayStation games. She was also crafty and creative, and used her talents to decorate her home, making it feel warm and welcoming. She loved to make jewelry and braid her children’s hair. She often said to her kids and family, “When you leave the house, be sure you’re lookin’ good, feelin’ good, and smellin’ good!” She also taught her children the importance of family and making a purposeful effort to spend time together. She instilled in them the value of walking down the street with their heads held high.
In addition to being a remarkable homemaker, Kitty held many special interests. She enjoyed designing, woodworking, and of course shopping! She especially loved glass tables! Above all else, Kitty enjoyed being surrounded by loved ones and special friends. A wealth of wisdom and advice, Kitty was normally the last one to hang up the phone, but not before saying, “I love you.” She hung on every word and treasured offering her support and encouragement to her family. This occasionally included a well-timed swear word! A loyal friend and compassionate mother, she leaves a legacy of being an advocate for peace and never holding a grudge. Kitty was proud of her family and was always thankful for her many blessings in life. She was a fighter, battling through many health issues, and although she may have been born with a weak heart, it was filled with an endless love that she freely gave. Kitty never let a single day go by without showing gratitude. Sadly, she is gone. May her family and friends know the unconditional love she had for them, share the joy she brought into their lives, and always remember that it’s not goodbye. It’s “See ya later.”
Shantel Smith, age 53, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, died on August 8, 2023. She was preceded in death by her dad, Ronald; grandchild, Diamond Smith; nephew, Daniel Anderson; aunt, Barbara Langston; stepfather, Robert Johnson; and her close friend, Delores Brinson. Surviving is her loving mother, Gloria Woods; children: Shandra (Darick) Morris, Donovan (Shanacie) Smith, and Richard Stubbs. Grandchildren: Aminah, Harlem, Tyonia, Mekhi, Emonie, and Ah’Don siblings: Frederick Burton, Pamela O’Day, Ronald (Robin) Smith, Angela (Tony) Pratt, Nicole Kizer, Ronnie (Pudgy) Smith, Liza (Prentice) Buchanan, William (Maria) Smith, James Smith and Jana Smith and a special nephew, Dondrell O’Day and several additional nieces and nephews; and her life partner, Eric Heady.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Friday, August 18 from 5-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. A Life Story Service will be held Saturday, August 19 at 12 PM, at the funeral home. Visit Shantel’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and to sign her guestbook.