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.
Unity of Kalamazoo
1204 Whites Road
Kalamazoo, MI 4908
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Life Story / Obituary
Vi Palladino was a wonderful wife, mother, and grandmother whose vibrant personality touched the hearts of many. Vi enjoyed socializing. She and Tony were always eager to expand their already large group of friends by way of hosting countless Bridge parties over the years, or forming neighborhood committees, or volunteering for local events and city politics. Blessed with an abundant and loving family, Vi lived her life generously, giving of her time and resources to ensure all were made to feel special. This included knitting afghans, blankets, and sweaters for her kids and folks; giving away the shell-flower arrangements she created; crafting handmade cards for special occasions over the years; and her specialty-- giving pedicures to her children and her older friends who couldn’t quite reach their toes anymore! Vi leaves behind a rich collection of memories for her close friends and family to cherish forever.
Born Violet Delores Wayne on September 30, 1928, in Three Rivers, Michigan, to Marvin and Bessie Wayne, she brought great hope and promise to her parents during an exciting time in our nation’s history. The 1920s saw large-scale industrial growth and significant changes in our nation’s culture. Her parents modeled a commitment to hard work by founding Wayne’s Home Appliance in their hometown of Galesburg, Michigan, and (after Marvin’s retirement) by planting a number of crops whose abundant produce they shared with all of the family. Vi, on many occasions, demonstrated the skill of preserving fruits and vegetables to her kids. Tomatoes, strawberries, rhubarb-- any kind of fruit that her father grew on his 40 acres just off 38th St. in Galesburg would get heated and ‘canned’ in Vi’s kitchen.
Vi lived a typical childhood of the times. She and her siblings cared for the animals, milked the cow, plucked chickens, and went to school. As a young student, she showed early signs of perfectionism and set high standards for herself. She fell in love with playing basketball during her high school years. Later, her father had to encourage her to go to college, helping her find direction. As much as she loved sports, she took up Business Education (instead of physical education) at Michigan College of Education, known today as WMU. Typing, shorthand, and accounting were skills she would learn, teach, and later put to use as Tony’s partner in his Civil Engineering Business.
Vi enjoyed her college years and was thrilled to be able to referee countless girls’ basketball games across Kalamazoo County. She boarded with eight other girls in a rented apartment and worked as a part-time receptionist for WKZO, a radio station then located in the old Burdick Hotel. After graduating with the Class of 1950, Vi landed an education job at Gaylord High School as a business teacher and as Physical Education Director for the Varsity Girls Basketball team (which went undefeated that year); as well, sponsored the Ski Team. Vi took advantage of every opportunity to ski. She grew to love skiing so much she invested her own Tyrol boots, a famous brand from Italy which was a much-needed improvement from the second-hand pair she bought earlier from a college team member. The made-to-fit boots and skis she purchased lasted well into her later years of skiing at Boyne Mountain and Aspen. Vi shared this love of skiing with Tony, who, incidentally, broke his ankle on their first ski trip. That put an end to his skiing career! She also shared this love of skiing with all her children. Daughter Deanna remembers skiing with mom at Timber Ridge when she was about 5.
Although Vi was a natural at teaching, she left her position after one year to accept a summer position as a Unit Leader with Camp Merrie Woode, the established camp for the local Girl Scouts. When she met the director, Harriett McDowell, her life changed instantly! Vi continued to work directly under McDowell at the Girl Scout Office as the District Director; a decision she never regretted. Later, Vi moved to Astoria, Oregon to take another position with the Girl Scouts.
However, Tony Palladino, the guy who foiled Vi’s plan to live in the great northwest, the guy she met at one of the area churches in downtown Kalamazoo during Wednesday evening supper club, the quiet roommate of a more boisterous fellow (who was also in the supper club), the guy Vi did not warm up to at first, but who flew to Oregon to propose marriage. A.K.A.- Vi’s leaving Kalamazoo for her job in Astoria inspired Tony to finally get up the nerve to ask her to marry him! So they joined in marriage on April 21, 1956, at St. Augustine Church. Since Vi’s father would not attend a Catholic church, Vi had her brother-in-law give her away. Fortunately, not many people could resist the warmth of Tony, and he and Vi soon built a good relationship with her parents and maintained that throughout their married lives. Together they raised four wonderful children; Deanna, Mike, Lou, and Alex who treasured her reading of stories to them during their youth. Vi instilled in her children the value and importance of loving all people, and a sense of adventure. As a family, they enjoyed many camping trips throughout Michigan. Always, it seemed, when the summer weather turned cold and rainy! They also took road trips out to Pennsylvania and New Jersey to visit Tony’s side of the family. These were the source of many cherished memories for everyone in the Palladino clan!
Vi’s children knew growing up that their mom always had their back. For instance, when Deanna started Kalamazoo Central High School as a 10th grader (in 1975), she wanted to play in the band, which required her to be in the marching band in the fall. As a result she was not allowed to participate in a fall sport (swimming). However, the football players could be in band and play football in the fall. Realizing how unequal this policy was, Vi stormed into the HS office and protested this unfair rule. The next year, Deanna, and all other band students who had athletic passion were permitted to miss marching band practice and participate in the fall sport of their choice. In another instance, Vi continued to praise the art skill of her son, Lou, and felt that Lou should be acknowledged for his great art skill rather than get in trouble after being caught with counterfeit tickets (that he created in the dark room) to a concert at Wings Stadium. She was also very proud of the green thumb of her sons, and brought one of the flourishing plants to our family Christmas gift exchange. At the family gathering, Vi discovered it was a marijuana plant. No matter, the plant surely indicated the horticultural skills of her sons! (which son, yet unknown!)
Never idle, and with leadership skills from her Girl Scouts days, Vi campaigned twice for a spot on Kalamazoo’s City Commission. She also worked for the Voluntary Action Committee, which helped keep young people out of trouble; joined C-DAC (a citizens advisory board to the city council) providing counsel on zoning decisions and citizen’s proposals, and did neighborhood planning for the West Main Hill Association, which organized an annual picnic for the tennis players who come to Kalamazoo for the Boy’s National Tennis Tournament every August. She helped the AAUW to organize their annual book sale fundraiser. Vi remained active in her many special interests around Kalamazoo.
After the children were raised, and she was free to choose her place of worship, Vi became a long-time member of the Unity Church in Kalamazoo. When Tony retired, they moved from their long time 3 story home on Grand Avenue (in Kalamazoo) to a home on Wildemere (on the West End of Kalamazoo). At the Wildemere home, Vi finally had sun in the back yard and inherited an amazing garden she tended with great skill. At this home, she found solace working in the garden during the morning hours and was always proud of her roses. They began to winter in Florida where she loved collecting shells and joining the activities of the Boynton Beach retirement community.
Vi also found time to write an amazing number of poems, which will keep her spirit alive for all who read them. She documented her feelings in poetry about the natural world, the people she met in her life, and a number of family events. A true angel among her family and friends, her passionate personality and genuine loving presence etched an everlasting imprint on the hearts of her family and all who knew her.
Violet Palladino, who lived in Kalamazoo all of her adult life, died from health complications due to Alzheimer's in Chicago on Friday, September 6, 2019, at the age of 90. She is survived by her four children: Deanna (James) Montgomery, Mike Palladino, Lou (Anne Reeb) Palladino, and Alex Palladino, her nine cherished grandchildren: Betsy, Amanda, Evan, Megan, Max, Marek, Jordan, Bailey, and Leah. Vi was preceded in death by Tony, her husband of fifty-seven years and by her brother, Warren, and sisters Neva and Mellie. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Saturday, September 28, 2019, from 4-6 pm at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Burial will be in the Genesee Prairie Cemetery before hand, at 3:00. Please visit Vi’s personal web page at www.betzlerlifestory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to the Unity Church of Kalamazoo.