Life Story Visitation
Mass of Christian Burial
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
11:00 AM EST
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church
1150 W Centre Ave
Portage, MI 49024
Visitation will begin 1 hour prior to mass. Burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery following mass.
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With an unwavering love for her family, Stella Niedzielski devoted herself to creating a life of treasured memories. Loving, generous, and kind, Stella led with her heart and ensured others were always well cared for. Stella embodied the principles she believed in and lived a life filled with grace and gratitude. In doing so, she proved a powerful role model for how to live a wholehearted life. A wonderful wife, mother, and friend, Stella was cherished by many and will long be remembered and missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. While Jean Harlow and Clark Gable entertained us on the silver screen, the tunes of Louis Armstrong and Fred Astaire filled our radios. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in Boston, Massachusetts, as Stanislaw Turczyn and Mary Klucznski welcomed Stella to their family on December 15, 1931.
Stella grew up in a time and place rooted in old-world traditions. Her Catholic school days were heavily supervised by the strict, watchful eyes of the nuns, and while her father ate with her and her siblings, her mother ate separately in the kitchen. Only after Stella’s father died did her mother regularly sit at the dinner table with her children.
After completing her schooling at Stanislas High School, Stella took her first steps into adulthood. While celebrating her 21st birthday with a date at a local dance hall, Stella had the good fortune of meeting Richard "Dick" Niedzielski. Instantly smitten, despite being at the hall with another man, Dick danced his way into her life. After dating for a time, the couple set their hearts on sharing the future. They married on September 16, 1955, at St. Stanislaus in Massachusetts. Following their wedding ceremony, they made their way to Michigan, honeymooning in Niagara Falls along their way.
The newlyweds first settled into married life while living with Dick's parents for a while until they found their own home in Kalamazoo. In time, Dick and Stella's family grew to include four children; three sons, Phillip, Steven, and Richie, and one daughter, Christine. The couple committed themselves to creating a loving and supportive home for their children. While Stella was a strict mother, she was also a loving and steadfast presence. Her distant relationship with her parents inspired Stella to make sure her family always had dinner together, even when she was working. Even though her children didn't always like what she made, especially peas, they enjoyed knowing that they meant everything to her. Her heart's delight came from the simple pleasure of being close to them and sharing their lives.
Holidays were always epic as the extended family all came together. Christmastime found the living room so filled with presents there was hardly room to walk. Stella delighted in seeing her children's faces light up with joyful expressions as they opened their gifts. One of the first employees at Crossroads Mall, Stella worked for Hudson's Department Store for 22 years. As soon as the store began decorating for the holidays, she also began decorating her home. She loved shopping for Christmas with her kids, often taking them to shop in Grand Rapids and stopping at Mr. Fables Restaurant for a meal. Stella also liked cruising around town in the car, looking at Christmas lights, or seeing the town's changes. QVC's Christmas in July was always a highly anticipated good time as well.
As her children grew into adulthood, Stella continued to find much joy in witnessing their lives. Sons Phillip and Steven built a home on Long Lake in Portage for Stella and Dick. Stella enjoyed living on the lake because there was always something to watch, like the boats on the water or the family playing soccer in the backyard. Even though she hated being in the water, she enjoyed going to the beach. There was always music filling the house on Sundays. She enjoyed the classic songs of the 60s and 70s, and she'd sing along even if she didn't get the lyrics quite right.
Stella loved animals and always had dogs; she loved the simple comfort of holding them close. She enjoyed reading, especially mystery novels, and did the crossword puzzle in the newspaper every day. In her final years, she was in pain, and music brought her peace and comfort. Regardless of life's hardships, Stella persevered, and nothing was more important to her than creating memories and sharing special moments with her family. A true matriarch, Stella was an inspiration to all who were blessed to know her. Her delight in others' happiness, unwavering support, and indomitable spirit will long live on in the lives of those she so dearly loved and cherished.
Stella Niedzielski, of Portage, age 90, passed away on November 10, 2022. Stella was preceded in death by her husband, Richard; her son, Richie; and brother-in-law, Don Kilgore. Surviving are her children: Phillip (Kathy) Niedzielski, Steven Niedzielski, and Christine Niedzielski; sister-in-law, Ruth Kilgore; and several nieces and nephews. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation on Tuesday (NOV 15) 5-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday (NOV 16) 11 AM at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, with visitation 1 hour prior. Burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Visit Stella's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.