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Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around her, Michelyn “Miki” Burkett lived life on purpose each day while holding her loved ones near. She was a spirited and vivacious woman whose sparkling personality drew others near with ease. Miki devoted her life to living and caring for others, and she took her roles as a wife, mother, and grandmother to heart. A lifelong resident of the community she called home, she was successful in her career, helping countless people achieve their dreams. Although she will be deeply missed, Miki’s memory will remain a lasting treasure in the hearts of all who were blessed to know and love her.
The early 1940s were very much defined by WWII. Although we had hopes of remaining neutral, those hopes were dashed with the vicious attack on our naval base in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After declaring war the following day, streams of young servicemen and women made their way overseas while loved ones gathered around radios awaiting the latest news from the front lines. Rationing was put in place, and manufacturing was greatly focused on supporting the war effort. Amidst this historical time was the year 1942 when Ted and June (McWhirter) Reisterer were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as the calendar turned to welcome in the new year. The big day finally arrived when the baby girl they named Michelyn Lou drew her first breath on January 29th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was the younger of two children, joined in her family by her older brother, David.
For the most part, Michelyn, or Miki as she was usually known, was a young girl of her generation. She enjoyed playing the piano as a child and was quite gifted, too. Miki’s parents owned and operated Club Hollywood while her mother was also in retail sales. She attended schools locally and graduated from St. Augustine Catholic School in 1960.
Life was forever changed for Miki when she married her high school sweetheart, Jerry Perrin, in 1965. Together they had two children, Robb and Jon. In 1972, Todd and Sean Perrin joined their family after their parents and some of their siblings died in a fire, which brought their family to a lively brood that included four boys altogether! Although her marriage to Jerry later ended in divorce, she was forever grateful for the children they shared.
As the years went by, there was nothing that was more near and dear to the heart of Miki than her family. In 1988 she married Paul Burkett, and she was filled with unspeakable joy to welcome 13 grandchildren into the family. Every year Miki looked so forward to Christmas Eve since it was a time for everyone to get together to celebrate and also to attend Mass. Every year she loved spoiling everyone, too, especially her 13 grandchildren. Miki was great in the kitchen, and when her boys were at home they loved her potato chip chicken.
Throughout her life Miki was an active woman with many interests. She was a real estate agent who sold numerous properties over 20 years, owning and operating PM Realty for years. One of Miki’s favorite things to do was to head to Lake Michigan to work on her tan. As her family and friends can attest, Miki enjoyed having a cold beer and a cigarette. When relaxing, she was often keeping busy with crossword puzzles and trivial pursuit, and she never missed Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! Miki did enjoy music and had some great dance moves, especially when it was music from the 1950s. She always loved animals and had some birds of her own at times. Miki always said that she should have been a veterinarian. Miki had two special stuffed animals, Panda Junior and Puff. She found such comfort in knowing that they would be cremated with her.
Described as generous, loving, and the kind of person who wanted to please everyone around her, Michelyn L. Burkett, was a blessing in the lives of her friends and loved ones. She worked hard and took great pride in her accomplishments, and she wore her heart on her sleeve as well. Miki enjoyed watching her favorite shows, relaxing with a cold beer, and the number seven, but there was nothing that was more near and dear to her heart than her family that grew to include 13 grandchildren. She will never be forgotten.
Michelyn L. Burkett, of Portage, died on September 7, 2015. Miki’s family includes her four sons: Robb (Dana) Perrin, of Scotts; Jon (Jennifer Hess) Perrin, of Scotts; Todd (Margie) Perrin, Sean (Darla) Perrin and Jeff (Sue) Sweet; and 13 grandchildren. Miki was preceded in death by her parents and brother, David. The family will receive friends on Friday, September 11 from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. A mass of Christian Burial on Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. Please visit Miki’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign her guestbook and share a photo and/or memory. Those who wish may make contributions to the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church.