Friday, August 12, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be shared.
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.
Memorial Fund for her sons c/o Sergio Alvardo
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Mary Lawrence, words such as vibrant, hardworking, and honest come to mind, however, perhaps the word that paints the most vivid picture of her is loving. She always looked for the good in everyone she met. A compassionate daughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandmother she faced whatever came her way. A longtime resident of the community she loved, Mary was a good friend to many. Deeply loved and taken too soon, she will be forever missed.
The 1960’s were characterized by great social changes. Known as the era of optimism, many Americans believed they were standing at the dawn of a golden age. At the beginning of this promising decade in our nation’s history, Mary Esther was born on August 16, 1961 to hard working migrant workers. Her birth gave them much hope and happiness. She was the oldest of eight children and moved from Texas to Indiana before settling with her parents in Kalamazoo, Michigan as a teenager.
Her mother modeled a lifetime of dedication working at General Motors, owned and operated a restaurant, and running the household when the kids were young. Her step dad, Victor was a good provider to the family over the years. As a kid, Mary was tough. Her dad had taught her how to box and she protected her siblings growing up. Over the course of her lifetime, she saved the lives of two of her siblings and they knew who to call when they were in trouble. Known as an over achiever, Mary went on to graduate with the Class of 1981 from Kalamazoo Central High School. She was a regular bookworm, always reading! While attending Grand Rapids IT Center and Davenport studying computer sciences, she met her first husband, Elias Alvarado. Together they had three wonderful sons. Self-sufficient and single for quite some time, she leaned on her boys for support. Working at Toys R Us as a divisional leader for nearly eighteen years while also going back to Davenport to pursue a dental hygienist degree, she was driven, there is no doubt!
While raising her three sons, she became like a second mom to many of their close friends. A fantastic cook, making many traditional Mexican dishes and her tasty homemade chili no one ever wanted to leave. She never held her tongue with the boys, but was not argumentative. They knew just by the tone of her voice when they needed to rein in their behavior. Her boys were her babies; her pride and joy. Her love for them radiated in every bone of her body and they were equally protective of her. They were especially vigilant about her boyfriends over the years. They needn’t worry however, as Mary was a strong and independent woman. In fact, it was Mary that took Fred out on their first date; the movie, Narnia! Including her handsome sons in the wedding, they were married on August 4, 2007 at Fred’s grandfather’s home. The newlyweds honeymooned in downtown Kalamazoo at a beautiful bed and breakfast. Nine years older than Fred, they were the best of friends, enjoying many silly moments together! Mary was the saver, while Fred was the big spender. Knowing retail, Mary knew how to find only the best of bargains, allowing them the means to take in a movie and dinner out on the town! Having no children of his own, other than a special step daughter he helped raise, Fred loved Mary’s boys as if they were his very own.
Mary had many special hobbies and interests. She was quite the gardener, growing many of her own vegetables, a trait she picked up after working for River Street Flowerland. Her flower garden was the envy of the neighborhood! She also worked at the Family Health Center, however her favorite job was her most recent one at Impact Label where she was employed for the past five years. A favorite pastime was taking her sons out to dinner and a movie! A true Trekkie, Mary favored anything sci-fi including Star Wars. As for television, she’d pretty much watch anything, but especially liked Criminal Minds. When she wasn’t watching TV, she loved to curl up with her Kindle Fire. She also cherished time spent going to drive in movies, having picnics at Milham Park, taking long walks, or enjoying the water at either Markin Glen Park or South Haven beaches. A collector of just about anything, including VHS movies, she even kept every driver’s license she’d ever owned! Mary was a very spiritual person who enjoyed listening to Christian music, as well as the popular Selena, and attended many concerts in Grand Rapids over the years.
With all of her unique jobs, hobbies and pastimes, nothing brought Mary greater joy than being a grandmother! She simply worshipped her time with each and every one of them. They had her very well trained and it didn’t matter to Mary, she’d spoil them all the same! Described as extremely honest and an inspiration to so many, Mary’s love of life will be greatly missed. She truly brought out the best in people and leaves behind a rich collection of wonderful memories to be cherished by all who knew and loved her.
Age 54, died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident on August 5, 2016, in Kalamazoo. Mary Esther was born August 16, 1961, in Goshen, IN. She was preceded in death by her Mother, Esther M. Hernandez; Grandmother, Nestora Hernandez; Brother-in-law, Scott E. Kraft; Uncle, Frank Hernandez; Grandfather-in-law, Lee Roy Blosser and Uncle-in-law, Milton Bowen. Surviving are her children and grandchildren: Elias Jr. Alvarado III, wife, Dariella (Rodriguez), Grandchildren (Selena, Andrew, Nayeli, Arron, Angel, Daniella, Shayla and Yulianna); Lupe Alvarado, Grandchildren (Kaylee, Lupe Jr., Leigha ann and Abel); Sergio Alvarado, Grandchildren (Isabella and Gabriel); siblings: Sylvia Hernandez, Debra Kraft, Fred Jr. and (Maria) Hernandez, Rueben and (Marcianna) Hernandez, Rosalinda Hernandez, Victor Hernandez and Nicole Murphy; Father, Fred E. Hernandez; Step Father, Victor Compos; Husband, Fred Lee Lawrence; Ex- Husband, Elias Jr. II; Mother-in-law, Joan Blosser; Daughter-in-law, Ashley Woodford; Granddaughter-in-law, Josa Lyn Woodford; Brother-in-law, Tarin & Shonna Lawrence; Aunt, Irean & Claude Ryan; Aunt, Mary & James Moore; Aunt, Elizabeth Collins; Aunt, Denny Helen Bowen; Brother-in-law, Leon Arizola; Sister-in-law; Collette Holland; Sister-in-law, Roxanne Lawrence; and many, many loving nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, and loving friends. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Friday from 5-8PM at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home; 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo- (269) 375-2900 where services will be held on Saturday at 11AM. Burial will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. A luncheon will be held at the General Baptist Church (2772 Roosevelt Ave; Parchment). Please visit Mary Esther’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to a Memorial Fund for her sons C/O Sergio Alvarado.