Monday, September 19, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Lunch will follow in the Life Story Center.
Following lunch, burial will take place at Grandville Cemetery, 3570 Prairie; Grandville, MI 49418.
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
In reflecting on the life of Judith Gurley, it is easy to see that her love for her Lord and her family wove throughout her tapestry in time. She was kindhearted and compassionate, with a warm and accepting spirit that allowed her to love everyone who was within her reach. Judy was a student of life and a student of people. She was thrilled to witness her own family tree blossom, to include numerous branches of loved ones who made her so very proud. Life was not without times of trial for Judy, but she faced whatever came her with grace, courage, and strength that were truly inspiring. She will be deeply missed but never forgotten.
In Grand Rapids in 1937, after three previous infant deaths, Victor and Gladys (Maxim) Carroll were anxious as summer drew to a close. Joyously, Judith Lee drew her first breath on August 27th. Judy was a vibrant and fun-loving girl who experienced a typical upbringing for the youth of her generation. She attended school in Burton Heights for kindergarten through ninth grade, and she went on to graduate from South High School in the mid-fifties. While in junior high and high school Judy was very involved with the Campfire Girls, and she also volunteered at Butterworth Hospital. From there Judy attended school for one-and-a-half years at Grand Rapids Junior College. She continued her education, studying accounting at Northern Michigan University then Western Michigan University for a total of three years.
Throughout her life there was nothing of greater significance in Judy’s heart than her family. After a divorce from her first husband, her life was forever changed when she met James Gurley at a Parents Without Partners meeting. With a desire to establish a life together Judy and James were married on January 18, 1975. Combined, they had seven children. Judy was a hard-working woman who showed dedication and professionalism while working at different banks for 13 years, and Pharmacia/Upjohn for 17 years. Later in life, she was excited to become a grandmother. Judy loved spending time with her grandchildren, especially teaching them art and baking. Together they loved making cookies and bread in different shapes. Judy looked forward to the holidays as she loved sitting back and watching everyone together. Pets were also an important part of her life.
As much as she was able, Judy loved keeping busy. She enjoyed traveling, although her health did limit her somewhat. Lake Michigan and the Northern Michigan towns were her favorite destinations. Always creative, she loved art work and painting, collecting antique glassware, and Precious Moments figurines. She always enjoyed baking; her zucchini bread was her most famous treat, and she was a chocolate lover if ever there was one. Judy loved all chocolate and fudge but her favorite guilty pleasure was malted milk balls. Judy preferred soft country, classical, and Christian music. She read whatever she could get her hands on, usually picking a new novelist and going through all their popular works. For the majority of her life, Judy was a faithful churchgoer, beginning with Burton Heights Methodist Church in Grand Rapids, and last a member at West Kalamazoo Christian Church. She supported the pastors and the church in whatever way she could. She did struggle with health issues for years, but she was so thrilled that she was able to make it to her grandson’s wedding in August, in Vicksburg.
All who knew Judith Gurley would agree that she was one of the sweetest people around. She lived a Christian life and forever had a warm and outgoing demeanor. She was someone who treated everyone equally with the same love and care, and made a significant impact in the lives of everyone she met. She lived at Sojourner Place while she was independent; she loved and was loved by the staff who helped her there. She spent her final days at Medilodge Nursing home in Portage, and though she missed her independence, she made the best of a difficult situation, caring about the nursing staff and therapists who worked with her. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on.
Judith L. Gurley, of Kalamazoo, died on September 11, 2016, at Medilodge of Portage. Surviving are 3 children: Debi Neddo (Ken Franklin), David (Stephanie) Swierenga and Mark Swierenga; 4 stepchildren: K. Wayne Gurley, Sheryl Plugis (Sandell Doyle), Darrell (Terra) Gurley and Diana (Craig) Atkinson; 5 grandchildren: Emily, Amanda, Jon (Nicole), Bryan and Andrew, many great-grandchildren and step-grandchildren; and her only sister, Nancy Carroll. Judy was preceded in death by her parents, and by her husband, James Gurley. Services will be held Monday 11 a.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 with visitation beginning at 10 a.m. A luncheon will follow in the Life Story Center and burial will take place at Grandville Cemetery. Please visit Judy’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to West Kalamazoo Christian Church.