Barb Roty

December 7, 1932 - November 21, 2015
Portage, MI



Tuesday, November 24, 2015
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and drinks will be served. A Prayers Service will be held at 7:30PM.

Driving Directions


Wednesday, November 25, 2015
11:00 AM EST
St. Monica Catholic Church
4408 Westnedge Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Burial will follow Mass at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Following the burial, food and fellowship will be shared in the Life Story Center.

Web Site


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.

Borgess Foundation
1521 Gull
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Web Site

Sisters of St. Joseph
P.O. Box 29
Nazareth, MI 49074
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


With a grace all her own, Barb Roty was a warm and giving woman. In her family she found the greatest source of strength, and she cultivated a strong bond between them. While creating memories to be forever treasured, Barb’s life was enriched in countless ways as she cherished her family and the many friendships she shared. Well into her later years, Barb was a sight to behold. From head to toe, she was a pristine woman who carried herself with unpretentious class. She was always kind and caring, and only the fondest of thoughts will be remembered when recalling the heart of a woman who meant so much to those who knew and loved her best.

By 1932, the economy continued to deteriorate as a result of the Great Depression. Unemployment increased to over 24 percent with an astounding 13 million out of work. While many struggled to keep their families fed and a roof over their heads, the entertainment industry boomed, offering a welcome deviation from everyday worries. Yet for Michael and Mary (Klein) Cawley of Jackson, Michigan, there was hope and promise as they celebrated the birth of their little girl, Barbara, born on December 7, 1932.

Raised in Jackson, Barbara was the youngest of five in her family, and joined her older brothers, Edward, Donald, John, and Bernard. As the baby, her oldest brother was 21 years old at the time of her birth. Barbara’s father was a hard working railroad engineer, and her mother remained at home as a homemaker. A talented seamstress, her mother made all the clothes for their family. They were also devout to their Catholic faith, and from her earliest years Barbara attended the local Catholic schools. As a family they clung to their faith when Barbara’s father sadly died when she was in the fourth grade.

After graduating from St. Mary's High School in 1951, Barb began working as a secretary for the man who later came to be her future father-in-law. While working at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Jackson, her boss wanted to fix Barb up with his son, Gus who was attending medical school at the University of Michigan. Although Barb knew of Gus as he had previously attended Jackson Public High School, she played hard to get for a time. After dating and falling deeply in love, Barb and Gus were united in marriage on October 26, 1956 in Jackson. They made their first home in Ann Arbor, Michigan while Gus completed medical school, and after receiving his degree they moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where he did his internship.

The happy couple was blessed with the birth of their first child, Susan in 1958. They moved to Detroit, Michigan when Gus began his residency at Henry Ford Hospital, and welcomed the birth of Rich in 1960. Ann came along in 1962, and in 1964 Chris completed their family before they made the Kalamazoo, Michigan area their home. Barb made a good home for Gus and their children. She was an excellent cook and baker, and had her hands full with four children at home. She especially enjoyed times when her kids were older and they were able to easily do more.

In 1972 they moved to their current home in nearby Portage where Barb delighted in her beautiful yard. With wonderful flowers and well groomed landscaping, Barb took pride in her home. It was immaculate in every way, and even with children, everything was intact and in its place. Extremely organized, Barb had a plan for nearly everything. Barb and Gus loved entertaining at their home where they hosted many parties and gatherings. Quite a social couple, they took in many activities and social events as members of the Kalamazoo Country Club and the Beacon Club. They enjoyed wine tasting, attending the theater together, and dining with friends.

In her free time, Barb played tennis and enjoyed time with friends, especially going to lunch each week after she got her hair done. When it came to music, Barb loved the sounds of Adele, Jimmy Buffet, and soft rock. She really liked all the old musicals and had many of the old albums she enjoyed. Throughout her life, Barb loved reading. As an avid reader, she recently joined a book club and met many nice friends through this affiliation.

As a family they enjoyed memorable vacations each summer. One summer they spent three weeks traveling to California enjoying the sights along the way. They also shared great times in Mears, Michigan at Floradale on Silver Lake and special times together traveling. Barb enjoyed the many opportunities for travel that came her way. Along with her husband and family, special times can be recalled at one of the many destinations they visited over the years, including Mackinac and Kiawah Islands. Barb and Gus traveled to such destinations as Hawaii, Myrtle Beach, and Bermuda, just to name a few. While enjoying their travels, Barb loved shopping, particularly in the little boutiques.

Gus was a loyal University of Michigan football fan, and although she went with him, she found simple pleasure in people watching and the band, and that was it! She didn’t much care for the game or at times the bad weather, so in time while the boys were at the game, Barb and the girls went on shopping excursions. Barb loved shopping, most notably at Chico’s, Talbot’s, and V&A Bootery. Barb had an eye for style and it clearly showed in not only her dress, but in her mannerisms, as well. A class act for sure, she was a refined woman who took great care with herself. Even when quite ill, Barb was concerned about her looks, but more importantly, she remained polite and thought of others despite her condition.

Time spent with her grandchildren was always a joy for Barb. While six lived out of town, she was not able to see them as often, but she made a point to attend the things she could. Lasting memories were also made visiting the Air Zoo, and having the kids over to enjoy their pool. Barb just finished filling in the pool and beautifying the landscape when she was involved in a terrible auto accident this past October. Until the accident, Barb remained quite active and was in relatively good health. She even came through two knee replacements, breast cancer and having a pacemaker, while remaining a trooper through it all.

Through the years, Barb treasured several, lifelong friends and continued to faithfully write them letters. She also kept her mind sharp through her enjoyment of playing the online game, Words with Friends on her iPad. It proved to be a good connection for her as she played the game with friends and strangers from all over, and lately well into the night.

Barb was a strong woman who carried herself with grace. Always selfless, she was generous in many ways, and welcomed all into her heart and home. With her warm and loving ways, Barb’s positive and polite spirit touched many. She was devoted and dedicated in all she said and did, and for these things and so much more, she will be deeply missed and fondly remembered with love.

Barbara J. Roty, age 82 of Portage, died on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo after a long and courageous battle from complications following an automobile accident. Barb was preceded in death by her husband, Gus Roty in 2004; son, Richard Roty in 2006; and by her four brothers: Edward, Donald, John and Bernard Cawley. Surviving are three children: Susan (John) Rath, Ann Roty and Chris (Lynn) Roty; daughter-in-law, Margie Roty; eight grandchildren: Carolyn, Christy, Anna, Maddie, Olivia, Danny, Jack and Charlie; and by many nieces and nephews. Visit with Barb’s family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Tuesday from 5–8 PM at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler–Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive (269-375-2900) where a Prayer Service will be held at 7:30 PM. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday, 11:00 AM at St. Monica Catholic Church. Burial will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Please visit Barb’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Borgess Foundation or Sisters of St. Joseph.