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Life Story / Obituary
It takes a special person to genuinely care for others, and Nikki Maliszewski did so at every opportunity. It was her heart’s desire to work with those who were mentally disabled, and with ways all her own, Nikki helped them discover their true worth. Nikki was accepting of people from all walks of life. Never judgmental, she was just as loving, caring and kind. Nikki had a quiet nature, yet with her quick witted demeanor, it was a joy to share her company. She loved reading and was an avid movie watcher, and as a homebody, she was just as content to remain at home to indulge in her love for cooking and baking. Although gone too soon from love’s embrace, Nikki’s legacy can be found in the many ways in which she made a difference in the lives around her.
Although a recession was soon on the horizon, the year 1978 was a time when disco ruled the dance floors, the Bee Gees hit the music charts, and Charlie’s Angels took TV ratings by storm. The year also brought forth movie favorites such as Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. While comic strip character, Garfield made his unscrupulous debut, in Kalamazoo, Michigan there was nothing more exciting in the lives of Lawrence and Judith (Clark) Maliszewski than the June 1, 1978 birth of their little girl, Nikki.
One of two children in the Maliszewski household, young Nikki was two years younger than her big sister, Jenny. Nikki was raised by her loving parents and enjoyed a childhood filled with her love of dolls and stuffed animals. She treasured her dog, Shara, and feline companion, Baxter. Nikki enjoyed all the girly-girl things while growing up such as soccer, and a love for swimming and dancing. Although she was on the quiet side, Nikki was a friend of many while attending St. Augustine Elementary School.
After graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School with the Class of 1996, Nikki went on to attend beauty school to become a manicurist. Even though she never worked in her trade, she practiced plenty on her mom, sister, and friends. Nikki worked at K-Mart for two years before landing a position at Rickman House through Housing Resources Inc. With a natural love of people and her desire to make a difference in the lives of others, Nikki set out to make it her true calling in life. She attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College for two years and for the following two years she went on to earn her BSW from Western Michigan University.
Nikki worked at Child and Family Services for a year and for the next several years she was employed with Interact of Michigan. She felt deeply blessed when she was hired at Pine Rest Christian Services of Kalamazoo. Nikki absolutely loved her work there and centered her career and life in caring for the mentally ill. She accepted people where they were at in life, and never judgmental, she professionally yet lovingly cared for her clients unconditionally.
In her free time, Nikki was a true homebody. She loved to cook and bake, and her love for reading never waned. Her current reads included War and Peace, and the new dictionary. Just a sampling of the things that interested her, Nikki was an intelligent woman who had unending wit to match. She had loads of books and DVDs, and liked nearly anything when it came to movies, but preferred watching a good movie at home. She also loved music and had quite a diverse and eclectic music collection. Nikki had a taste for fashion and enjoyed clothes shopping and perusing the home stores. She was a good cook, but still enjoyed her Coke and a Caesar salad, just the same.
Nikki’s love for animals and kids naturally drew them to her side. She had a gentle spirit, and her calm and loving nature was evident to all. Her spiritual side shone bright in the way she lived her life, even if she didn’t belong to or have an organized church affiliation. Through her care giving, Nikki had a special place in her heart for her parents whom she deeply loved. She strived to look after them, and never hesitated in letting them know how much they meant to her. Through the years, she and her family shared memorable times together. Although Nikki despised the holidays, she loved getting together with the family she dearly loved and cared for.
Family was very important to Nikki. In them she found a solid foundation for which she thrived, and her greatest joy was in caring for others. Through her loving kindness, she worked to help people find purpose in life, and built them up to discover their own self worth. She never hesitated helping others, and lived by example in all she did. For many years, Nikki suffered from allergies. On Tuesday, she was fulfilling an appointment with her doctor for one of her regular allergy shots when she was overcome by a terrible reaction, and sadly died. Nikki was many things to many people in her life. She was kind, caring, and extremely intelligent and very witty, but in the lives of those who knew and loved her, it will be her love that is remembered most.
Nikki Maliszewski, age 37, of Kalamazoo, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, August 11, 2015. Members of her family include her parents: Larry and Judie Maliszewski; sister, Jennifer (Todd) Wright; nephew, Andrew Wright; and her two cats: Montana and Fang. Services for Nikki will be held Monday, August 17, 2015, 3:00 PM at Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 375-2900 followed by an open house from 4–6 PM in the Life Story Center. Please visit Nikki’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can share a favorite memory and/or photo of her and sign her guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kalamazoo Humane Society.