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Life Story / Obituary
Loved by all and known as the "captain of the ship" in the family, Annette LaVier will surely be missed by all. She was kind-hearted, genuine and nonjudgmental toward everyone she met. She was a loving wife, a caring mother and a cherished grandmother and friend to many. It is hard to say goodbye to such a sweet spirited soul.
Life in the 1930’s was an exciting time. In 1937 specifically, Americans marveled at the abilities of airplane pilots; Howard Hughes broke the transcontinental flight speed when he traveled from Los Angeles to Newark in under seven and a half hours! Though he was breaking records, another respectable pilot by the name of Amelia Earhart completely disappeared while in flight - a trace never to be found of her or her plane. San Francisco celebrated the completion of the Golden Gate suspension bridge, and in Chicago, the very first blood bank opened - revolutionizing medicine. As if all of this was not exciting enough, Clark and Doris Douglas were announcing the news of their sweet baby girl's birth just days after Valentine's Day. Annette was born on February 17, 1937 at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Annette was the last child of three to make the Douglas' family complete. She spent her childhood growing up in the city of Kalamazoo. Her parents worked hard to provide a good life for their children, as her father owned and worked at the Douglas and Son Paint store located on Cedar Street. Annette and her old brother and sister shared many warm summers visiting Pretty Lake. They would swim and play for hours together, and it was a wonderful place for the family to gather and enjoy the company of one another. They also loved going to their aunt and uncle's farm to enjoy all the amazing experiences a child can find in such place!
As Annette matured into a young adult, she attended State High where she was quite social and popular. As she was working to earn her driver's license, her sister would take her to practice driving in the cemetery because she always said Annette "can't kill anyone here!" She had many friends, and once she obtained her license, she would volunteer to drive them to all the hot spots around town. She also had a great deal of school spirit and participated in the cheerleading squad. Eventually, she graduated in 1955 and decided to enroll at Western Michigan University. Though after some time, she decided to depart from her original plan, and life led her to a position working at the Upjohn Company. Later, she found a job working at Western's University Library. She very much enjoyed this position as a library assistant because she was able to talk with the college students and work with the interns - keeping her always young at heart! She stayed in this job for 28 years before she retired.
While she was working, she was also blessed to become a mother to two beautiful children, Darci and Doug. Together, these two kept their mother on her toes. She worked hard to provide for them, and they shared many memorable times together.
Finally, Annette was given the gift of love. She married William LaVier in 1965. Together, they embraced the adventures of raising a family. As Darci and Doug grew up and started adult lives of their own, Annette and William were able to spend time together as just a couple. Soon, they watched as one by one they were joyfully given grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Annette enjoyed spoiling them!
When Annette had time to enjoy for herself, however, she always found something to do. Her passion for clothes shopping was never a last resort, as it was something she did regularly! She would frequent Kohls and Old Navy especially and never missed the chance to take the grandchildren along too. She also found it very difficult to leave a Cracker Barrel shop without browsing for a lengthy period of time. With all this shopping, she was actually quite a frugal one, and she had a hard time throwing anything away. Aside from shopping, she loved to listen to Kenny G. and had a unique interest in reading newspaper obituaries. She even requested to have the obituary section of the newspaper saved when she went out of town to read it upon her return. Sometimes merely settling in to watch some HGTV with a diet Coke or treating herself to any kind of chocolate were simple pleasures.
As a happy couple, Bill and Annette traveled to many great places together. Some of their trips included visits to casinos because they both found excitement playing the slot machines. Also, Cabo San Lucas was one of their favorite destinations - so much so that they ended up wintering there for 6 months! Bill fished while Annette shopped, and they both enjoyed the water and the beach while soaking up the warm sunshine. A few years before life changed, they bought a place in Stuart, Florida.
Only three years after their home purchase in Florida, Bill began having health issues. Annette was forced to say goodbye to her husband in 2010. With the love and support of family and friends, she endured this loss. Keeping her memories of Bill close, she was able to find the goodness in life again. She had the furry company of her rescue cat, 'Juice'. She was always one to thoroughly relish time with her family - being the best social butterfly of them all. Because of her love for them, she was also the one who kept all of the family heirlooms and memories safe.
The rock of the family and with a heart of gold, Annette courageously stood up to her Parkinson's Disease, but her body began to feel the impacts and slowed down. She moved in with Darci and her husband Greg, so they could help her with the struggle. Last Friday, Annette spent her day doing one of her absolute favorite things: she rested and watched the Tiger's opening day while she sipped on a diet Coke and some morphine. After 80 remarkable years of life, Annette took her final breath on April 8th. She was in the loving company of family in Darci's Parchment home. The memories we shared with Annette will forever be held close to our hearts, and she will never be forgotten.
She was also preceded in death by parents, Clark and Doris Douglas; brother, Jerry Douglas; sister, Janice Boyle; sisters-in-law, Eleanor Douglas and Joyce LaVier; brother-in-law, Jim Boyle and grandson, Ryan Williams. Surviving are 2 children: Darci (Greg) Williams and Douglas Kuehl; 3 grandchildren: Heather Marshall and Taylor and Slater Kuehl; great-granddaughter, Haley Marshall and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Cremation will take place. Graveside services will be held Thursday 10am at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Following the burial a luncheon will be shared in the Life Story Center at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.
Please visit Annette’s personal memory page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com where you can read her life story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.