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
Compassionate, gracious, and gentle with spirit that was generous beyond measure, Ann Edwards was a blessing to everyone she met. She was never one to let life get the best of her, and she was a woman who didn’t back down from any challenge. Ann lived to care for her family, and together with the love of her life she was filled with unspeakable joy to witness her family grow to include the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who were her greatest source of pride and joy. A longtime resident of the community she loved, Ann was the sort of woman whom everyone seemed to know. Deeply loved, she will never be forgotten.
Although the 1920s were primarily prosperous days, the 1930s were drastically different as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Times were anything but easy as the unemployment rate soared causing countless American families to lose their homes. It was just as this trying decade dawned that Pietro and Lola (Vanneri) DiFranco were able to shift their focus into a joyous time in their own lives as they welcomed a baby girl into their hearts and home on March 9, 1930, in Detroit, Michigan. Named Ann Grace, she was the only child in her family, and her father had emigrated from Italy to the Detroit area. As a result, she knew some Italian as a kid. To support their family, Ann’s father worked at Chrysler while her mother stayed home. Her parents divorced when she was a teen and Ann found herself alone a lot of the time. Fortunately, Ann had a huge extended family and was often found with her cousins, sometimes on vacation or at the Jack and Jill Ranch, which is now known as the Double JJ Ranch. With her cousins, she began attending Catholic mass and became a devout convert. After graduating high school and vocational school, she began working as a secretary. She loved dancing at the local dance halls, especially with her friend, Mary.
New and exciting changes were in store for Ann when she met the man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was George C. Edwards, and they met at work. They began dating and soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, Ann and George were married on June 10, 1949, in Detroit. After a honeymoon at Niagara Falls and the UP, they returned to Detroit. After a while, they moved to Grand Rapids, then to Plainwell, and finally to Kalamazoo in 1956. Together they were blessed with the births of four children including George, Polly, Mark, and Drew.
While her children were growing up, Ann focused her time and attention on caring for her home and family. As the children were older and could help with chores, Ann worked part time at Probasco’s and Jacobson’s. She was an excellent seamstress and taught sewing for 4-H. They had a garden for years, and Ann’s children helped with it as well. She loved to cook, and everything she made was always amazing. Her standing rib roast every Sunday, manicotti, mostaccioli, pickled beets, and pickles of all kinds were among her specialties. Ann was also an exceptional baker who loved trying out new things. When George developed heart problems, she started cooking extremely healthy, even becoming a vegetarian for more than 25 years. Ann made the best tofu chocolate pie that was loved by all who ate it. As a growing family, they loved visiting the family summer home in the UP every year. They had a giant beach that was perfect for adventures, and they also picked wild berries that Ann used to make jam. It was their tradition that Ann had the car packed and ready to go on the last day of school, and they stayed there until Labor Day. It was rather rustic with no television or hot water, but it was such an adventure to have to bathe in Lake Superior - especially early in the season!
In addition to caring for her family, Ann kept busy with other things she enjoyed. She got into ballroom dancing after Mark and his wife introduced her to it, and she even competed in it at times, doing very well. For years she and George belonged to the Elks Club, and they also went golfing and bowling. When her kids were older, Ann explored new opportunities. She worked as an executive secretary and court recorder in Kalamazoo, and later worked as an administrative assistant for the Upjohn Company. After her husband passed away, Ann spent 12 years cooking samples at Sam’s Club, officially retiring for the last time when she was 80! After retirement, Ann volunteered at both the Discovery Shop and at Senior Services of Van Buren Co. She donated regularly to the Michigan Blood. She raised her family as members of St. Augustine Church (now a Cathedral) in Kalamazoo, and later became a member of St. John Bosco Church in Mattawan, and then St. Mary Church in Paw Paw. As someone who loved being active, she exercised regularly and belonged to a gym until the end of her life. In fact, Ann even ran the 100 yard dash in the Senior Olympics and was upset to get beat by an 81 year old man when she was just 79! Ann kept busy sewing for her family, playing Bridge with neighbors, reading mysteries and action novels, antiquing, and listening to big band music and the Rat Pack as well as Christian music. She enjoyed a glass of wine and even some vodka from time to time, loved the color blue, and had a special place in her heart for animals.
With a contagious zest for life, Ann Edwards brought the world around her to life. She was the type of person who never did anything halfway, and she was on the go until her last days. Ann gave of her time to others in countless ways, and she always took great pride in remaining in good shape and looking her best. Although she accomplished so much of which to be proud, her greatest source of pride and joy was found in the family she treasured. Ann will be forever missed.
Ann Grace Edwards, of Paw Paw, died unexpectedly on January 20, 2016. Ann’s family includes her children: Polly (Bill) Roelofs, Mark (Karen) Edwards, and Drew Ronda) Edwards; grandchildren: Jake (Tina), Jessica, Dee (Seth), Cameron, Brent, Angela (Dean), Anthony, Christopher, Ashley (Walter), Morgan, David, George C. (Theresa), and Jennifer (Andrew); many great-grandchildren; and daughter-in-law, Maxine Edwards. Ann was preceded in death by her husband, George C. Edwards in 1997 and by a son, George F. Edwards in 1992. Services will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 375-2900 followed by a reception in the Life Story Center. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to: Senior Services of Van Buren Co. or St. Mary Church in Paw Paw.