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Life Story / Obituary
Naomi Munn lived a life dedicated to virtue and benevolence. Her acts of kindness and charitable gifts throughout her 88 years of life are admirable and remarkably respected. Hundreds of children were welcomed into her home where they were given a new chance with the guidance of Naomi’s loving arms. She was a caring wife, a devoted mother to many, a cherished grandmother and friend to all. We are sad to say goodbye to such a spirited and generous soul.
The year was 1928, and the decade was still very much in full swing with the notable title, the “Roaring Twenties.” Walt Disney produced and released Mickey Mouse’s debut into the cartoon world with “Steamboat Willie,” while Amelia Earhart became the first solo woman to take flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The world of modern medicine was also changed forever with the discovery of Penicillin, which later created the antibiotics of today. In a world of such amazing discoveries and inventions, Leon and Viola (Colpetsir) Boyd were making strides of their own with the birth of their beautiful baby girl named Naomi Ruth. She was born on April 15, 1928, in Bronson, MI.
Naomi grew up as one among a family of three children. From the earliest of her times in childhood, her incredible selflessness began to mature and flourish into what it would eventually become in her adulthood. She made the city of Kalamazoo her home and would ultimately have an impact on the future beyond her wildest dreams.
Before making her mark, though, she fell in love. And with this love, she found her partner who would join her in the effort to help so many others. It was the year of 1949 while Naomi was working in the restaurant of the Portage Bowling Alley. Otis Munn may have made a few strikes in his bowling game, but he certainly did not strike out when he met his future wife. They dated for a short while, but then Otis received his draft notice to serve in the Korean Conflict. Naomi was forced to say her tearful goodbyes, but the romantic letters helped keep the two content while he was away. One of the letters she sent to him said “when you come home for the weekend, we will get married on November 22, 1950”. She had everything planned, all Otis had to do was be there. Naomi always knew what she wanted and knew that Otis was the love of her life.
The newlyweds quickly settled into married life in a home in Kalamazoo on Mable Street. Before long, the two joyfully celebrated bringing 9 children into the world together. Naomi was a natural caretaker, and motherhood suited her well. She filled her home with abundant love. Some of the love she shared was in the form of her infamous hard candies, peanut brittle, and cookies. She was talented in sewing and made many toddler books and sweet dresses for her children when they were young. She was also quite skilled in crochet and ceramics, crafting many wonderful artifacts left in her memory. Otis worked a lot, so this made it difficult for the family to travel much. She was not one to sit all day with a house full of energized children, but instead, she would often take them to the park and share the simplicity in life - like feeding the birds together. She raised them to know that it did not take much to obtain the everyday joys.
Starting around 1962, Naomi and Otis began fostering children in their home. This was an experience close to Otis because he grew up as a foster child. From that year on, the family always had a few foster babies in the house. They continued this wonderful altruistic gift to the community for over 45 years. They nurtured and provided a safe environment for hundreds of children. In the later portion of those years, the couple also fostered mentally disabled children.
Throughout the years, the holiday season was an important time for Naomi. She had a knack for decorating the house with lights inside and out to bring cheer to the cold and wintry days. She hosted many Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations setting out a big dinner for each and provided many gifts to others for Christmas. She thoroughly enjoyed the company of others and the warmth of conversation with loved ones - both family and friends. She always saved up some energy for Black Friday shopping, though! She would scout out the amazing deals at JC Penney and Tot to Teen amongst many others.
As their own children grew up and moved out, Naomi and Otis kept their foster doors open. Eventually, Otis retired from his career and was a great support in the home with the children as well. Though they devoted much of their energy to others, the two did find time to enjoy various activities together. They both enjoyed frequenting the casinos, and Naomi especially liked the slot machines. She also tried her luck playing the lotto using the same numbers for many years! The two watched as grandchildren and great-grandchildren blessed their lives. She was actively involved with all of them and loved to spend time sharing in life’s small moments with each of them.
In Naomi’s times of solitude, she would enjoy reading mystery novels (especially ones written by her favorite author, Andrews). Her radio was generally tuned to 106.5 for adult contemporary music, but on Sundays, the spiritual music blasted motivating her to mop the floors with a little more spunk.
Otis suffered from some health complications after breaking his hip, and before long, Naomi was forced to tearfully say her goodbyes for a final time. He passed away in April of 2008. She endured the loss of her husband with the support of many family members and friends. She continued to live her life thoughtfully and with great devotion to helping others.
As the years continued, Naomi fought the daily impacts of dementia along with various health ailments. Her commitment to providing for so many children throughout her life is an amazing legacy; however, her selfless ability to pour her heart and soul out to all of them is truly unforgettable. Her boundless love, time and energy are a true lasting inspiration to us all. Her mark on this community will be long-lasting. Naomi leaves behind many memories which we will hold close to our hearts. Her presence will be greatly missed.
Naomi Munn, died March 27, 2017 at the Laurels of Galesburg. Naomi was preceded in death by her husband, Otis Munn; daughter, Amy Munn and 2 siblings: Dolores Messer and Jamie Boyd. Surviving are 8 children: Patrick, Tia, Robert, Mark, David (Leigh), Vanessa, and Danny (Jean) Munn and Dolores (Richard) Thomas; a second-mother to her granddaughter, Kisha (Matt) Munn; many other grandchildren, a very-special great-grandma to Jacob Rae Clark as well as many other great-grandchildren; and foster parent to hundreds of children. Services will be held Thursday 11am at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 with visitation beginning at 10am. Burial at Bronson Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission or Loaves and Fishes.