Life Story Visitation
Saturday, October 15, 2022
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Please join us for a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Casual attire is encouraged.
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.
Kalamazoo Humane Society
2272 River Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Charismatic, vibrant, and selfless, Verli Dee Stefan lived a life rich in family and friends. With a warm, contagious smile and a heart that only knew kindness, Verli welcomed every day as a gift and greeted every person as a friend. Verli listened to everyone as though they were the most important people in the world and her generous compassion proved a comfort for all who were blessed to know her. She radiated goodness and lit up every room she entered. Regardless of life’s challenges, Verli chose to be a source of laughter, beauty, and hope. For those who shared even the briefest of moments with Verli, it was clear that there was no hardship that couldn’t be lessened nor joy expanded when shared in her good company. While our days with her were far too few, each moment spent with Verli is a gift we will long treasure.
As the Civil Rights movement gathered momentum, the nation continued to invest in its goal of putting a man on the moon. American homes were filled with the sounds of the Beatles and the sense of loyalty inspired by its favorite dog, Lassie. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the hearts of George and Betty (Tobey) Stefan as they welcomed their daughter Verli to their family on January 18, 1964, in Coldwater, Michigan.
Named for her dad’s Army buddy, Verle Rogers, Verli was the youngest of the three Stefan kids. Her brother, Bradford, was eight years older, and her sister, Sheryl, was six years older. Despite their age difference, she and Sheryl shared a special bond and remained close their entire lives. Verli grew up on Meadow Lane in the small town of Tekonsha, Michigan. The picturesque rural American community, where everyone looked out for each other and lifelong friends were made in school, proved a wonderful place to grow up.
Verli attended Tekonsha public schools and was a natural athlete. As a high schooler, she was active in many aspects of school life, including playing piano and clarinet in the band, softball, and her favorite sport, basketball. She also ran track and was the homecoming queen. After graduating from Tekonsha High School with the class of 1982, Verli continued her athletic career at Glen Oaks Community College, where she played basketball.
As she entered the workforce, Verli began a long career working for the government at the Federal building in Battle Creek before working for the U.S. Postal Service. For 35 years, Verli served her community at the post office. She always enjoyed her job, especially her last few years at the post office in Paw Paw. There, she got to meet and greet the community and was always quick to give a small child a sticker or treat at her window.
While working at the post office, Verli had the good fortune of meeting her coworker, Mark Linders. The pair began dating, and Verli knew she had found her soul mate and partner. They shared more than 25 years together.
Without a doubt, Verli’s greatest joy was being a mother to her sons, Aaron and Logan. An unwavering source of love and support, her boys knew they could talk with her about anything and that she would always cheer them on. With an unmistakable whistle or a yell of support, she attended all of their sporting and school events and encouraged their every hope and dream.
A natural competitor, Verli loved to play games and good competition. She also enjoyed the game of golf and continued to play softball for many years. After retiring in 2020, Verli was able to spend more time working in her garden and lawn, traveling, and enjoying daily calls with her mother, whom she assisted in many ways. She also made a memorable trip to Nashville with the girls to celebrate her retirement.
Verli loved life and proved a powerful role model for how to live life to the fullest. Whether listening to the Classic Rock tunes of her youth, cheering on her favorite teams, sharing her love of animals, or enjoying a meal, she relished every moment she was given. Bruce Springsteen was her favorite musician, and she loved going to his concerts. John Cougar Mellencamp’s shows were favorites too. A big baseball fan and a die-hard Cubs fan, she attended many games at Wrigley Field with both family and friends and was lucky enough to see them win the world series in her lifetime. Many animals found sanctuary in Verli’s heart, especially the many dogs who shared her home over the years. Verli was also a foodie; she loved a good meal. Fried fish, lobster rolls, Mexican dishes, and salsa and chips were just some of her favorites.
Our lives will be significantly duller in the absence of Verli’s bright and beautiful personality. As we share our many treasured memories, may we find comfort in all the ways we are inspired to carry her legacy of joyful living forward. Whenever we greet a stranger as a treasured friend, find wonder in simple pleasures, encourage our loved ones’ passions, adventure with our beloved, or wrap our loved ones in a hug, we celebrate the many ways Verli made life better. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and inspire others as she so inspired each of us.
Verli was diagnosed with kidney cancer in May of 2022 and died at Bronson Hospital on Friday, October 7, 2022. Members of her family include her life partner, Mark Linders, the father of her children, Joseph Brumley, and their 2 sons: Aaron Brumley and Logan Brumley; her brother, Bradford (Christine) Stefan; her sister, Sheryl (Conrad Hempel) Stefan; her mother, Betty Stefan; 2 nephews: Thomas Stefan, Matthew (Meg) Stefan; her great-niece, Madison, Mark’s parents, Richard and Nancy Linders; Mark’s brother, Christopher (Chrissia) Linders, and many extended family members. Cremation has taken place, and she will be buried next to her father, George Stefan, who passed away in 1997, at the Riverside Cemetery in Tekonsha, Michigan.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Saturday, October 15, from 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Visit Verli’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kalamazoo Humane Society.