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Life Story / Obituary
Loretta Taplin was an exceptionally loving wife, mother, sister, and grandmother. Generous beyond measure, there wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for a friend or family member in need. Her compassionate heart led her to also care for those who often went without and she donated both her time and resources to many charities over the years. Whenever her growing family was gathered together her heart was full. She wanted nothing more than the very best for each and every one of them. Loretta leaves behind a rich legacy of loving unconditionally and modeling grace throughout her lifetime. Although she will be deeply missed, Loretta’s warm memories will forever be in the hearts of her many special friends and loved ones.
It seems only fitting that her story began during a time that was as vibrant as she was! It was the 1950s when James Dean was all the rage, Elvis Presley introduced the world to his Rock ’n Roll music, and shows like, I Love Lucy changed the way we looked at the American family. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1955, when Thomas and Irene (Paulus) Nestor welcomed their newborn daughter, Loretta into the world on September 21, 1955, in Pasadena, California. Born the youngest of six children, she brought great joy and happiness into her loving family home.
Growing up in the Sierra Madre area of California, Loretta was raised with the importance of family. Close with her siblings during her growing years, there wasn’t much they wouldn’t do without one another. They shared countless memories that sustained them well into their adult years where they still remained close and cared deeply for one another. As a matter of fact, when it came to visiting on the phone with her sisters over the years, they could set new world records as they would literally talk for hours!
Loretta lived a typical childhood of the times before she was swept off of her feet by the man of her dreams, Dale Taplin! Dale was proudly serving with the United States Navy and stationed nearby in Long Beach, California. The two of them dated for a short period of time before finding out they were expecting. The happy couple joined in marriage on December 1, 1971, when Loretta was the tender age of sixteen. Dale was eager to move back to his hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan, so by 1977, they made the journey back settling in the Portage area. Together they raised three wonderful children; Shawn, Brent, and Jason. As a mother, Loretta gave her all devoting her time to their special interests and needs including both the Boy and Girl Scouts. She loved to cook as well as bake and often signed up to help out in any way for school fundraisers or special events. Whatever her children needed she was there for them. She was their constant for love and support celebrating their every success right alongside them!
As much as Loretta cherished her years of mothering, she was equally smitten with her grandchildren. She enjoyed baking Christmas cookies with them and attending their many special recitals, sporting events, and continued on with her enthusiasm for Scouts. She also loved to spoil them each and every holiday season with thoughtful gifts. Often wanting to give more than she could justify, it seemed like each year was more generous than the last. It wasn’t Halloween without a stop at Grandma Loretta’s where she was known to don her witch costume as well as serve up her themed dishes such as Mummy dogs! She always wanted to see the children’s costumes as well as their approving looks as they took in all of her decorations. Her home was always decorated to the hilt for each and every season! Perhaps her favorite of all was the time they spent together each and every summer camping on the Muskegon River in Newago, Michigan. As long as everyone, especially the kids were having fun, Loretta was happy!
There is no doubt that family was important to her, yet Loretta also held a vast array of many special interests. When it came to music, she preferred country and her longtime favorite musician, Joni Mitchell, was special to her as she reminded her of years gone by. Loretta was a creative person and a long-standing member of a group of crafters for more than forty years! They met to socialize in addition to crafting and she also met with regularly a special ladies lunch group over the years as well. Loretta had a knack for socializing no matter where she went! She would spend longer than normal at the area Meijer’s just because she was catching up with everyone she ran into! She wasn’t much of a shopper however, she saw it more as a social event!
Although cooking was her favorite pastime and she read cookbooks as a hobby, she never seemed to follow a recipe! The cooking channel was usually on during the day along with Lifetime movies, yet she relied on her own special talent for making her delicious dishes over the years. A memorable trip for her and Dale was when they traveled to Las Vegas for what they considered their delayed honeymoon. She couldn’t wait to take in all the glitz and glamor, and sink her teeth into an In and Out Burger, a private fast food place she had missed from her days of living out west!
Although Loretta was taken too soon, it was clear that she had lived her life with purpose. She wanted nothing more than for those around her to be happy! Her cheerful heart, her quirky sense of humor, and her positive outlook on life will be surely missed by all who knew and loved her. May the countless lives she touched over the years be comforted in the joy of knowing such a remarkable woman!
Loretta M. Taplin, of Portage, age 62, died August 19, 2018 at Borgess Medical Center. She was preceded in death by her parents and by her brother, Tom Nestor and a grandson, Liam. Surviving are her husband of 46 years, Dale Taplin; three children: Shawn Gleason, Brent (Stacey) Taplin and Jason (Nikki) Taplin; ten grandchildren: Matthew (Sara), Timothy, Josh (Aliyah), Isiah, Brayden, Mason, Addison, Koen, Grace and Declan; two great-grandchildren: Parker and Jorden; four siblings: Mary Wieland, Pat Miller, Kathy Winters and Michael Nestor; and many nieces and nephews. Cremation will take place. A gathering will be held on Sunday November 4th from 2pm-5pm at Wild Ginger 639 Romence Rd, Portage. Please visit Loretta’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Association of Southwest Michigan. Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.