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Life Story / Obituary
Constance Casanto a was vibrant woman who poured her heart and soul into being a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Her interests were numerous and her energy matched an active lifestyle that was focused on her family. Yet she also attended to the concerns of others and was willing to help in any way she could.
Connie was born on May 23, 1947 in Grand Rapids, Michigan at a time of optimism in American life, following WWII. Growth in industry and jobs gave workers the opportunity to build homes and start families that launched the baby boom era.
Connie was the daughter of Ron and Evelyn (Emerick) Moore and big sister of Bruce. Her parents owned and operated a store called Boat City Marine but made time for their children by taking them fishing or hunting, visiting their Aunt Lucille and Uncle Truman or vacationing at the family cabin in Munising. An active child, Connie also had fun roller skating, baton twirling and tap dancing.
Connie’s best friend in high school was Paulette Rhoades, who did her the favor of introducing Connie to the young man who would become her husband. Tom Casanto met Connie when she was drag racing in her 1960 Chevy Convertible and he was in a Buick Skylark. When they pulled into a Dairy Queen in Paw Paw and Tom first laid eyes on Connie, it was love at first sight. That was in 1964, and the couple dated for about a year before marrying on July 24, 1965, just after she graduated from Loy Norrix High School.
The newlyweds set up housekeeping in Kalamazoo, but around 1980 they moved to nearby Portage. Their lives were enriched by two children, Tonia and Todd, whom she affectionately called “Todder.” However, the kids knew she meant business when the middle names came out.
As a parent, Connie was very involved with her children, investing in their day-to-day lives and willing to help in every way. In fact, that was her trademark. Connie regularly went out of her way to help others and took an interest in the lives of her extended family. She loved her nieces and nephews and always asked how everyone was doing, including friends of the family.
Only after the children were grown did Connie start working as a secretary for a real estate appraisal firm. She maintained an active social life, attending the theatre, visiting the Kalamazoo Air Zoo, traveling to Renaissance Fairs, Civil War re-enactments and to Lexington, Kentucky in April for the horse races at Keeneland Track as often as she could. At home, she enjoyed reading and listening to 1960's music and Swing. She was an excellent cook, known for banana split cake and great stuffing made from her mother’s recipe. The stuffing was so popular in her family, that by the time it was passed to her son Todd and the kids, there was nothing left for her daughter-in-law Karen.
Connie was also an animal lover and had many pets over the years. More recently, the family has a Yorkie named Bella who was intended to be Connie’s, but strangely enough, Bella would choose Tom. However, by then Connie was happy to turn her attention to her grandchildren.
As a grandmother, Connie loved having Lindsay, Nathan, Ryan and Sarah visit her, but she also went to all their activities and sporting events and took them to plays at the Hayloft and Civic Theatres. “The Emperor’s New Clothes” stuck out in Connie’s mind as a favorite, because one granddaughter proved to be an “unofficial” fashion critic. Just 4 or 5 years old, little Sarah always had a comment to make. Then there was the time Connie went to her grandson’s soccer game, and one child on the team was wearing football cleats by mistake. To everyone’s amazement, Connie dug into her famously HUGE purse, whipped out her pruning shears (8-10 inches long) and “refashioned” the cleats enough to make them suitable for soccer. These and many more memories will be shared by Connie’s family for a lifetime.
Connie Constance Casanto, of Portage, MI passed away on Saturday, July 9, 2016 at the age of 69.
Connie is survived by her husband of nearly 51 years, Tom; two children: Tonia (Kenneth) Pell and Todd (Karen) Casanto; four grandchildren: Lindsay Pell, Nathan Casanto, Ryan Pell, and Sarah Casanto; brother Bruce (Carol) Moore; many nieces and nephews; and dear friend Ruth. She is preceded in death by her parents. Connie was a member of St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church since 1984.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday from 10am-12pm, Life Story Funeral Home, 5975 Lovers Lane, Portage (269-344-5600), followed by a funeral service. Burial will take place at Mt. Ever-Rest Cemetery, with a luncheon to follow at the funeral home.
Please visit Connie’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read her life story, sign the guestbook, share a memory and/or photo. Those who wish may make a contribution to the Kalamazoo Humane Society.