Irene "Betty" King

June 28, 1922 - March 6, 2016
Kalamazoo, MI



Tuesday, March 8, 2016
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
Portage Location
5975 Lovers Lane
Portage, MI 49002
(269) 344-5600
Driving Directions


Wednesday, March 9, 2016
11:00 AM EST
Fort Custer National Cemetery
15501 W. Dickman Road
Augusta, MI 49012
(269) 731-4164

At the cemetery line up at the Cortage Lane. Immediately to your right.

Web Site

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
2:00 PM EST
First Baptist Church
315 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 345-2195
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.

First Baptist Church Food Pantry
315 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 345-2195
Web Site

Prairie Baptist Church Missions Program
11210 E P Q Ave
Scotts, MI 49088
(269) 626-8291
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Polderman's Florist & Garden Center
8710 Portage Road
Portage, MI 49002
(269) 327-3656
Driving Directions

Life Story / Obituary


When reflecting on the life of Irene “Betty” King, it is easy to see that her life was focused on her family first and foremost. She was a longtime resident of the community she loved, and throughout her teaching career she impacted the lives of numerous young people in a significant way. Betty was a nurturer through and through, and nothing made her happier than watching her family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who were her greatest source of pride and joy. A woman of faith, her life exemplified what it means to serve the Lord she loved. Although she will be deeply missed, Betty leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.

Nearly a century has passed since America welcomed in the vibrant decade that we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. Innovation led the way to new horizons, and prosperity was the widespread outcome. This was the decade that saw the end of the silent film era and cars that were mass produced on assembly lines in addition to homes that boasted of washing machines and refrigerators. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1922 when George and Irene (Hill) Nash were blessed with the birth of the baby girl they named Irene on June 28th in Echo Bay, Canada; her grandmother, Anna Hill nicked named her "Betty". She was the second of three children, joining her older sister, Sue, and her younger sister, Margaret, in the family. The Nash family moved to Iron Mountain, Michigan, when Betty was a toddler and later moved to Kalamazoo, her mother's home town.

In many ways, Betty was a young girl of her generation. Her father owned his own interior decorating business while her mother was a homemaker who also had a math degree but chose to focus her attention at home. Betty also had a cousin, Helen, who was like a third sister to her. Even as a young girl her life revolved around church and family, and these remained her focus for the rest of her life. As a student Betty attended local schools where she also played violin, enjoyed ice skating, swimming and gardening. Her high school years found her at Kalamazoo Central High School. After graduating from high school in 1940, Betty continued her studies at Western Michigan University.

It was while at Western that Betty met the young man who would change the course of her life forever. His name was Robert O. King, and sparks flew right from the start. They began dating and later became engaged, but it was also during this time that America became involved in WWII. Robert enlisted in the Air Force. Betty set about planning the wedding while he was gone, and on September 1, 1943, Betty and Robert were married while he was home on leave. The young bride left school to go to Colorado and Texas with her husband while he completed military training. When he was later shipped overseas, Betty returned home and lived with her parents in Kalamazoo while he was gone. Robert returned home after fulfilling his military duties.

Together the couple welcomed three children including Robert, Stephen, and Cindy, into their hearts and home. Betty returned to Western University, graduating in January 1962 completing her teaching degree (although it wasn’t until her children had all started school). Upon graduation, she spent seventeen years teaching Home Economics, Civics, Government and Family Living at Galesburg High School. Betty chose to retire when she was only 54 to care for her husband and tenderly cared for him several years until his death in 1992.

Betty enriched her families' life in many other ways; she was a fantastic cook who especially loved to bake. Betty’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren looked forward to her special birthday cakes. When their children were at home, Betty and Bob often took the family camping up North, took a trip out West, and they regularly visited Canada to see family. Equally important was keeping close contact with both sides of extended family, schoolmates, and close friends. Although caring for her family was Betty's primary focus she also enriched her life in other ways. Betty and Bob traveled extensively both in the United States and abroad, to include England, Scotland, Hungary, and Hawaii. Over the years they made it to every state except Oregon. Betty, as a third generation member at her beloved First Baptist Church, volunteered in many areas, including the Mary Circle and Church Women United. She always loved Angels and Stamp collecting, Birds, was an avid reader, expert seamstress and had a great sense of humor. Within her community she was part of the Rose Society, Genealogy Society, and very involved with the Red Cross for decades.

As she got older, Betty continued to find her greatest joy in her family and friends. Although she missed Robert deeply, she found great strength within her family that grew to include her grandchildren, Bobby (Tonya), Chad, Janelle (Chris), Shelly (Scoot), Keith, Kim (Clair), Jamie (Mindy), Jay (Julia), and Justin (Stephanie) as well as her great-grandchildren, Carson, Nate, Ravennah, Macy, Kylee, Christopher, Becca, Charlie, Melissa, Wes, Aubree, Aelyn, Ezekiel, Tyler (Hailey), Tabatha, Tatum, Justin, and Kaleb. Betty also remained very close with her extended family members including her cousins as well as her nieces, nephews and life long friends. Eight years ago she moved to Friendship Village where she made many new friends and volunteered for numerous jobs and activities, to include The Kitchen Band.

A kindhearted, gracious, and thoughtful woman, Irene “Betty” King was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was someone who was content in whatever life brought, and she faced whatever came her way with both grace and strength. Betty lived to love others, and she was selfless beyond compare. A blessing to everyone she met, she will be deeply missed.

Irene “Betty” King, of Kalamazoo, died on March 6, 2016, at her home. Betty’s family includes her children: Robert (Judy) King, Stephen (Cathy) King, Cindy (Sid) Bradford; sister, Margaret; sister-in-law, Jacqueline; 9 grandchildren; 18 great grandchildren as well as her special friend Geneva; several cousins, nieces and nephews. Betty was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Robert O. King; and sister, Athaline “Sue,” and cousin Helen. Visit with her family and friends and view her life story film on Tuesday, March 8 from 4:00-7:00 at the Life Story Funeral Home, Portage; 5975 Lovers Lane (344-5600). A committal service will be held at Ft. Custer National Cemetery on Wednesday, March 9 at 11:00 followed by a memorial service at 2:00 at First Baptist Church; 315 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo. Please visit Betty’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a memory or photo and sign her memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to First Baptist Church food pantry or Prairie Baptist Church Missions program in Scotts MI.