Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Vilma Childs

July 31, 1927 - May 12, 2017
Kalamazoo, formerly of Lawrence, MI



Friday, May 19, 2017
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900
Driving Directions


Friday, May 19, 2017
11:00 AM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

A lunch will follow immediately after the service in the Life Story Center.

Driving Directions


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.

Park Village Pines
2920 Crystal Lane
Kalamazoo, MI 49009

Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.

Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Vilma was born to Leo Falls Sr. and Daisy Falls, and she arrived July, 1927 in Chicago, IL. She was the oldest of seven children, followed by Chiquita, Leo Jr., Enrique, Earl, David and Larry.

As the oldest, she took on many responsibilities assisting her parents. Vilma learned survival skills from her mother and father while they experienced The Great Depression. She especially had a loving bond with her mother.

Vilma attended school in Chicago and continued her higher education at Loyola University and took classes at the Art Institute.

In Chicago, Vilma’s Aunt Rosie took on the role of co-matchmaker and conspired with one of her fellow church members who had a single and handsome son named Louis. Much to both women’s satisfaction the couple were wed in 1949.

She quickly developed a strong bond with Louis’ entire family and they welcomed her with open arms.

Soon after, Vilma and Louis welcome their only child Judy. The first few years of Judy’s life, the family lived in Chicago. However after Vilma’s parents and siblings relocated to Lawrence, MI, she fell in love with the little country town.

In 1954, she purchased land on the corner of her parents’ property and literally built her home from the foundation up. She rolled up her sleeves and with the help of her father and her brothers, they laid concrete blocks for the basement.

Initially, Louis remained in Chicago and commuted to Lawrence on his days off. Being away from his wife and daughter became increasingly difficult, so he transferred his position to Kalamazoo.

Vilma worked a variety of jobs while taking classes at Western Michigan University. She discovered a passion for working in educational settings with children, especially those with special needs. In 1966, she graduated from WMU and began teaching.

She was a patient teacher, who was determined to provide her students with a positive educational experience. She touched and influenced the lives of many. She had a successful career and retired from Covert Public Schools. She soon discovered she wasn’t quite ready to completely stop working, so she became the Principal of St. Mary’s School in Paw Paw for a few years.

Vilma was always heavily invested in her family! Her home was opened to her brothers, nieces and nephews. She always cherished spending time with her family and friends and would often host holidays and special events.

She loved the outdoors and living in a rural setting. When, she was younger she would go game hunting with her brothers and father. Whatever she caught, she would clean and cook. She owned her own rifle, gaining the nickname Annie Oakley by Judy.

Being an adventurous, independent woman Vilma became a globetrotter and would not hesitate to travel alone or with companions. Her goal was to visit all continents but was unable to make to Antarctica or Australia. Her favorite place was Hong Kong, she often would describe the feelings she got when she spent time there akin to a child at Disney World. Her welcoming smile and friendly disposition led to meeting friends along the way.

Vilma had loads of energy and her interest expanded from playing in tennis leagues, going to casinos with her “buddies” which included Merna, staying up late to play scrabble (and other games) with Dorothy. She was actively involved in the AAUW, Lions Club, senior services, tutoring and Delta Sigma Theta. These are only the highlights of her social activities.

Vilma was a loving, nurturing caregiver to elderly relatives. She had a sense of responsibility and commitment to always helping family members; you could always count on Vilma’s loyalty.

The day Judy notified Vilma and Louis that they would be grandparents was something they had prayed and wanted more than anything. Having a beautiful granddaughter was “a dream come true.” They were both available for babysitting duty 24/7. Judy and their son-in-law Nick never had to hire a babysitter, not once. Vilma always participated in all of Kara’s birthdays and school events. Like most proud grandparents, she bragged about her dear Kara.

As Vilma had one child, she gladly welcomed her son-in-law Nick to the family. So much so she often took his advice over Judy’s. They had a meaningful relationship but was she not an “interfering Mother-in-Law.” She developed close ties with his family, as well.

She was diagnosed with MS later in life but was determined to not let it hold her back. Vilma continued living to the fullest.

Vilma developed a love for taking Cruise Vacations with friends. This form of travel was more ideal for her physical limitations as she continued her adventures.

2011 proved to be quite difficult for Vilma, she suffered a life changing fall which gravely affected her health. It was also during this year, she lost her husband of 62 years.

She eventually became a resident of Park Village Pines for four years, where she was able to receive excellent attention and help.

A kind, beautiful and generous soul, Vilma Childs leaves behind many memories with loved ones. She passed away on Friday May 12th, 2017 at the age of 89. She had such a positive influence on so many. We will hold these memories we shared with Vilma close to our hearts, and she will never be forgotten.

Vilma was preceded in death by her husband Louis Childs, her parents: Leo Sr. and Daisy Falls, three siblings: Chiquita Wilson, Leo Falls Jr. and David Falls. Surviving members of her family include her daughter Judy (Constantine) Nicholas of California, cherished granddaughter Kara Nicholas of California, two brothers: Enrique (Maxine) Falls of Grand Rapids, Earl Falls of Portage, Larry Falls of New Jersey and many loving nieces, nephews and dear friends.

Funeral services will be held at 11am on Friday, May 19th at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo (269) 375 - 2900. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Immediately following the service, a lunch will be held on site in the Life Story Center. Burial will be in the Hill Cemetery in Lawrence. Please visit Vilma’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.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 Park Village Pines, located at 2920 Crystal Ln, Kalamazoo, MI 49009.