Betty Sanderson

November 3, 1927 - March 26, 2015
Kalamazoo, MI



Friday, April 3, 2015
2:00 PM EDT
Ft. Custer National Cemetery
15501 Dickman Road
Augusta, MI 49012
(269) 731-4164


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.

Kalamazoo Humane Society
4239 South Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 345-1181
Driving Directions
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 life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Beatrice Sanderson was a genuine blessing in the lives of everyone she met. She was resourceful, thoughtful, and wise with the ability to remain content with whatever she had. Betty devoted her life to nurturing and caring for others in both simple and elaborate ways at times as her heart was open to all. She was not without times of trial, but her graceful courage coupled with her quiet strength were an inspiration to everyone she met. Although she was blessed with many talents, Betty was humble and modest, and she used her gifts to benefit others around her first and foremost. She will be missed for her quick wit and contagious laugh, her grace, and her fighting spirit, but most of all she will be missed for her love.

It was great to be an American during the decade known as the Roaring Twenties as innovation was taking us places we had never been. Radios, motion pictures in both color and sound, and cars manufactured on assembly lines were just a few of the noteworthy events. The world of flight soared to new heights during this time as Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh were relentless in their pursuit of finding new horizons. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great anticipation in the lives of Zigman and Eleanor (Urbanski) Newman as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child as the cold November winds covered the city of Toledo, Ohio, in 1927. The big day finally arrived on November 3rd when the baby girl they named Beatrice Jane drew her first breath. She was the oldest of four children in her family and the only girl as she was raised in the family home in Detroit alongside her brothers Leonard, Joey, and Richard.

In many ways Betty was a young girl of her generation. She was a tomboy who was fully content to be outside playing with her brothers. Betty learned how to swim while growing up, but in a rather unique way as she learned all on her own when her brothers threw her off the roof of a building into the river below! As the 1920s gave way to the 1930s, life was anything but easy as the Great Depression blanketed our nation and much of the world from the time of the crash of the stock market in October of 1929 and well beyond the end of the 1930s. As a result of living through these strained days, Betty learned to be frugal and could pinch pennies like no one else could throughout the rest of her life.

New and exciting changes were in store for Betty when she met the young man with whom she would share a lifetime of love. His name was John Leslie “Jack” Sanderson, and they met at an ice skating rink in Detroit. He was captivated by her beautiful blue eyes, and they began dating. Betty and Jack were married on February 20, 1946, while he was home on leave just prior to the end of WWII. They were a great pair who shared many of the same interests including their insatiable spirit of adventure and love for the outdoors. Betty and Jack enjoyed archery, and at one time Betty was one of the best in the state. A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, she also enjoyed fishing and hunting.

Betty lived to love her family. Together she and Jack were blessed with the births of two sons, James and Robert. However, they were deeply saddened with Robert’s death just ten days after he was born. Betty was also there to support and help any family member who was in need, and she served as a second mother to some of her nieces and nephews. Since Jack worked outside of the home, Betty fearlessly tackled any and every household project. She wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to fix a leaky faucet or a squeaky door, and Betty was often called upon by the other women in the neighborhood to help out on their home repairs. With her nurturing nature, Betty was also there to listen and support others with their problems, worries, and concerns.

Throughout her life Betty savored each and every moment she was given. She enjoyed all types of music, but she and Jack especially liked listening to the famous opera singer, Mario Lanza. Betty had a special place in her heart for animals, and there was forever some type of animal around the house including a pet skunk that followed her around! As someone who was both talented and creative, she kept busy crocheting, making fancy candies, and doing ceramics. Betty loved the Christmas season and got so caught up in making her home beautiful for the holiday. In fact, in her house she had a room that was completely dedicated to storing their many Christmas displays! Although Betty and Jack primarily vacationed throughout Michigan, they did travel to Hawaii in celebration of their 25th anniversary. Although she battled with several health issues throughout her life to the point of being put under hospice care, Betty’s spirit was resilient. In fact, her family even joked that she “graduated from hospice” at one time!

With unending love and devotion to nurturing all who were within her reach, Betty Sanderson was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She had a great sense of humor and loved sharing her laughter with others. Betty was fun-loving and adventurous with a contagious zest for life that was all her own. Life will never be the same without her here, but the memories she leaves behind will be lasting treasures for all who were blessed to know and love her.

Betty Sanderson, of Kalamazoo, died on Thursday, March 26, 2015. Betty’s family includes her husband, Jack; son, Jim Sanderson and his wife Jill Strobel; brother, Leonard Newman of Detroit; special niece, Maria Newman Kiser. Betty was preceded in death by her brothers, Joey and Richard Newman. Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Learn more about Betty by visiting her personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign her guestbook and archive a favorite memory or photo and make a donation to the Kalamazoo Humane Society.