Mary Lou Pattison

July 8, 1933 - July 23, 2015
Kalamazoo, MI



Monday, July 27, 2015
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and refreshments will be served.

Driving Directions


Tuesday, July 28, 2015
11:00 AM EDT
St. Thomas More Parish
421 Monroe Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
(269) 381-8917

Burial at Genesee Prairie Cemetery. Following the burial, food and fellowship will be shared in the Life Story Center back at the funeral home.

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.

Cathy Nemec
for Flesher Field
Oshtemo Twp Park Improvements,


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

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


With quiet strength and an unending love for family, Mary Lou Pattison created a timeless legacy to be treasured. She may not have had the riches of some, but her heart overflowed with blessings. Mary Lou’s greatest joy was found in those she loved while making precious memories along the way. Always a caring and giving woman to know and love, she will be dearly missed.

While the nation struggled through the worst year of the Great Depression, the year 1933 saw an unprecedented U.S. jobless rate of over 15 million. At the same time, great strides were being made in the culture of America as Radio City Music Hall opened and The Ranger, the first U.S. aircraft carrier, was launched. FDR held his first “Fireside Chat” to boost the spirits of Americans while they also continued their thirst for entertainment as a deviation from hard economic times. Despite the changes in the world around them, George and Mary Goretzka of Kalamazoo, Michigan found much to be thankful for on July 8, 1933 when they lovingly welcomed the birth of their daughter, Mary Lou.

Mary Lou was the youngest of four children; her brother, George and sisters, Pauline and Eleanor were a number of years older than Mary Lou but she had her sister, Pauline's many children to grow up with, and most often there were plenty of cousins around. Her father worked as a printer for the Upjohn Company while her mother looked after their household and young Mary Lou. They made their home on Campbell Street where she enjoyed a childhood typical of the times. Mary Lou attended St. Augustine School, and went on to graduate in 1951. When her sister Eleanor passed away, it was Mary Lou who continued to nurture and care for Eleanor's children as if they were her own.

Mary Lou was attending a local square dance when she met the love of her life, James Pattison. A city girl through and through, this handsome farm boy from nearby Oshtemo Township swept Mary Lou off her feet. They dated for a time, and after falling deeply in love, they were blessed in marriage. After beginning their new lives together on the farm, Mary Lou quickly realized the shock of having to get up early to cook and everything else associated with farm life.

It wasn’t long before the addition of children came into their lives. Jimmie, Cindy, Cathy, Judy, Matt, Kim, and Nancy were a blessing to Mary Lou. In all ways, she treated them equally, and loved them each unconditionally. Even though she was not the greatest cook, Mary Lou always managed to get dinner on the table promptly at 6:00 PM. She was great when it came to laundry, and could get a stain out of anything. With seven children in ten years, while James delivered milk, Mary Lou ran the household, and she did so quite efficiently. With such a large family, she had to be skillful whether doing laundry or making sure the kids had their baths. She managed with a firm yet loving hand, and gave her kids chores to teach them responsibility.

Mary Lou was very supportive of her children. She was involved in 4H with them, and always helped as a leader. As a family it was a highlight to attend the county fair each year where great times were shared by all. Although one year, Mary Lou nearly got run down by a bull! When her kids played in little leagues at Fleshers Field, James coached the kids while Mary Lou worked the concession stand. Never one to be in the limelight, Mary Lou was a quiet leader. Later in life, she served as a volunteer with the elections and at the Discovery Shop. She never hesitated giving her time and talents to those who needed it most.

The church and Mary Lou’s Catholic faith was always an important part of her life, and she raised her children in that very faith, just as she had been raised. Currently, Mary Lou was a member of St. Thomas More Student Parish. Through the years, Mary Lou liked to bowl and play bingo. Along with a core group of friends, she also enjoyed playing cards. In her later years, she became an avid Detroit Tiger’s fan, as well as a huge fan of Notre Dame Football. More than anything, Mary Lou loved her grandchildren dearly and enjoyed getting together with family at every opportunity.

Mary Lou never stopped loving her beloved James. Before his death in 1986, one of his last wishes was a desire to experience Las Vegas one last time. There wasn’t anything Mary Lou wouldn’t do for him, and she saw to it that his wish was realized. Having had her own bout with ill heath after surviving a cancer diagnosis in 1975, Mary Lou leaned on her faith and the strength of family and friends to see her through this trying time. She soon secured work to help support herself, and continued to keep busy with her volunteer work and other activities.

One of the activities Mary Lou enjoyed was dancing. While out one night attending a dance, she met Bob Marlin. The best of companions over the last 20 years, they shared much in common, and enjoyed each other’s company. Together they visited casinos throughout the state, but home was where Mary Lou most often liked to be.

Mary Lou was a loving and caring woman. She treated everyone the same, and never showed any favor, especially toward her children. Her heart was filled abundantly with the love of her family, and she cherished numerous memories with them through the years. A hard and tireless worker, Mary Lou lived by the belief that one works, no matter the circumstances. Sadly, Mary Lou was re-diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, and died peacefully at her home with her children by her side.

Mary Lou Pattison, age 82, of Kalamazoo passed away on Thursday, July 23, 2015. Members of her family include her seven children: Jimmie (Anita) Pattison, Cindy (Brett) Canter, Cathy (Mark) Nemec, Judy (Howard) Lane, Matt (Shelly) Pattison, Kim (Andy) Dragicevich, Nancy (Bill) Gilman; 18 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and special friend, Bob Marlin. Mary Lou was preceded in death by her husband, James Pattison in 1986; a grandson, Travis Lane in 2004; her two sisters: Pauline Foster-Newland and Eleanor Rolfe; and by her brother, George Goretzka.

Learn more about Mary Lou and visit with her family and friends from 5-8 pm on Monday, July 27, 2015 at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler, 6080 Stadium Drive, (375-2900). The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 am on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at St. Thomas More Student Parish, 421 Monroe Street. Burial in Genesee Prairie Cemetery with a luncheon to follow at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler, 6080 Stadium Drive, (375-2900). Please visit Mary Lou’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorials may be directed to an improvement fund for Flesher Field in Oshtemo Township.