Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience


Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience

Maryanne "Mimi" Gabriel

April 4, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI




Maryanne "Mimi" Gabriel exited this world like she lived: in her own way and on her own

schedule. On April 4th, 2024, Mimi passed beyond the veil after a long battle with lupus and a short fight with cardiac, G.I., and respiratory issues. She was preceded in death by her parents, Conrad and Leona, her brother, Phil, and her stepson, Dion. She is survived by her husband, Dallas, two sons, Shawn (Eileen) and Jason, stepson, Chris (Shanda), sister Gayle (Garrett), sister-in-law, Lucy, and her "grandbabies": Tess, Hanna, Emily, Kris, Maxwell, Maya, Helena, and Aliza as well as many nieces and nephews and cousins.

Born in 1943 in Sault Saint Marie, MI, to Conrad and Leona Gabriel, Mimi was the youngest of three children and by all accounts acted like the youngest her entire life. She graduated from Sault Area High School in 1961 and followed her sister, Gayle, to Kalamazoo for college, but was detoured for a short time by a marriage and the birth of two of the best children, Shawn and Jason (the second time being a charm).

Mimi worked hard as a single mother to graduate from Western Michigan University, not once, but twice, at age 38 and 55. She married a second time in 1982 to Dallas Kerber and became the stepmother to Dion and Chris. Not happy with marrying Dallas once, she married him again in 1995.

Dedicating her life to helping others, Mimi began work on Sylvia's Place in 1994 (a domestic shelter in Allegan County). As director, Mimi worked alongside an amazing team, tripling their operating budget, expanding services, and changing countless lives. Mimi retired from Sylvia's Place in 2004.

Failing at retirement, Mimi became the executive director of the Allegan County United Way and worked tirelessly with hundreds of community partners to fundraise and add multiple programs.

She doubled the operating budget and cultivated another exemplary team before her retirement in 2010 and again in 2013. Failing at retirement once more, Mimi continued to advocate by sitting on the board at Community Action Allegan County and was active in Aging to Saging

circles until her passing.

A lover of the Upper Peninsula and harboring a lifelong desire to live on the water, Mimi took

time in her life to travel, enjoy her house on the lake, and be present for her children and grandchildren. She became the taxi service for her "grandbabies" until well out of their baby stages. She was always picking up, dropping off, watching a game, or cheering on from the sidelines. When she arrived, she was early and never empty handed.

A force of nature, but perpetually level-headed, Mimi was always available for loving support, advice, and an ear to bend. It was not uncommon to hear her on the phone or sitting at her kitchen counter with a friend or loved one, giving advice and general counsel. She loved a story that came with a little drama and gossip, but she always listened more than she spoke, and when she spoke, she meant it. She was fixed and unyielding (read: stubborn), took no fecal matter that was not hers, but was open to discussion and correction when needed. Mimi was a friend and loved one to many, a mentor to some, and a pain in the ass to a few. To those who were lucky enough to be adopted, befriended, or loved by her, she showered them with time and made them feel special. We will miss her cards, calls, gifts, words of advice, the ubiquitous wearing of the color purple, her hugs, and her laughter.

The standing orders from Mimi were as follows: No wake, no visitation, no funeral, no feeling sorry for ourselves. She asked for a "Celebration of Life" for all who loved her, which will be held at Barn 1888 in Hopkins on May 26th from 1-5pm. Do not bring flowers or wear black; consider wearing purple and donating to Sylvia's Place by calling (269) 673-5742 or visiting or the Mimi Gabriel Angel Scholarship Fund by calling (269) 673-8344 or visiting: