Monday, October 24, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
St. Joseph Church
936 Lake Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
A luncheon will follow in the church hall.
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a contagious zest for life, Pepper Jeanne (Slumkoski) Granger was a blessing to all who were near. She was always on the go and full of all kinds of knowledge, with unwavering passion for the people and things she believed in. Pepper wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, yet she always did so in a respectful way. Her devotion to her family was easy to see, and there was nothing that made her more proud than witnessing her family grow to include four children, seven grandchildren, and three great-granddaughters. Although she accomplished so much of which to be proud, Pepper was a humble woman who lived to love and serve others. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
The 1930s brought us some of the most trying days we have faced as a nation as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs became hard to find, which made the unemployment rate soar, and countless American families found themselves without homes. Despite the trials around them, Frank and Ethel (Lee) Granger were filled with unspeakable joy to welcome their daughter into their hearts and home. Born on March 24, 1931, in Saginaw, Michigan, she was adopted by her parents and raised in an old farmhouse in Hastings. They took great pride in their home, and Pepper was responsible for polishing the banister every day. When she was just a young girl she got scarlet fever and ended up losing most of her hearing as a result. She required a hearing aid from that point on. Pepper attended local schools including Hastings High School where she played the French horn and alto sax as she always loved music. She was part of the marching band and also played piano and wrote church hymns. Pepper particularly loved jazz including Don Niels and Ken Morgan. After graduating from high school in 1949, she started nursing school but an allergy left her unable to continue.
An amazing dancer, Pepper became a dance teacher at the Arthur Murray Dance School. This proved to be quite fateful as it was there that she met her future husband, Stan. He had been a student there and found Pepper’s beauty captivating. They began dating, and with a desire to establish a life together they were married on October 20, 1961. Soon, they began welcoming children, and they were blessed with four children including Michael, Monica “Nikki,” Thomas, and Kevin who were all two years apart. When she became a mother, Pepper stopped working and focused her time and attention at home. She was very involved in the lives of her children, and although money was tight she made life amazing for them by getting creative. She often rolled up the living room rug to teach her kids how to waltz and polka. Pepper shared her love for music with her children, and they could often be found on the front porch harmonizing together. It was important to her that her children use proper English, and she was known to correct them when they didn’t. Although resources were few, they had fun doing things such as playing family games like Uno, Pinochle, and Cribbage. At Christmas they always had homemade ornaments on their tree. Pepper was resourceful in the kitchen, and everything she made was fantastic including her breads and potato soup. She also taught Monica how to cook and bake. They took simple vacations including to Yankee Springs and Deer Park. Although her marriage ended in divorce in 1981. Pepper and Stan remained good friends and got along better as a result.
In addition to caring for her family, Pepper kept busy with so many other things. Before getting divorced she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Nazareth College while in her forties. Although it was never published, she wrote a book called “A Penny’s Edge,” and she worked as a medical transcriptionist at Bronson Hospital. She was good at her job too, as she was the only one who could translate the dictation of the foreign doctors. Pepper also typed over 120 words per minute. She was active in St. Joseph’s Parish, St. Thomas More Parish, Good Shephard, Right to Life, and the Catholic movement. Pepper always helped at St. Joseph School while her children attended elementary there, including as a secretary and on the playground. Within her church, she was a Lector and a Eucharistic minister. As someone who loved reading she had an extensive home library and loved Agatha Christie, anything from her hero, Angie Dickenson, and sarcasm. Later in life, Pepper bought a maroon 1985 Camaro, and this was her “baby”. She liked to drive fast, and at times had fun at streetlights with others wanting to race. Smart as a whip, Pepper was a whiz at Jeopardy, as she always knew all the answers. During her sunset years, she enjoyed crosswords and reading the Sunday New York Times. In fact, she even saved them all!
Even though she was only just over five feet tall, Pepper was impossible to miss. With her fiery red hair she has been called a spitfire, and she wasn’t afraid to do things her own way. Respected among everyone she met, Pepper was a lover of life who was entertaining, loving, and always efficient and productive. She was forever on the go with an insatiable thirst to learn new things. Life will never be the same without Pepper here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
Pepper Jeanne (Slumkoski) Granger, of Portage, died October 19, 2016, at Medi-Lodge in Portage. Pepper’s family includes her 4 children: Michael Slumkoski, Monica “Nikki” Cayanong (Eufronio Cayanong, Jr.), Thomas (Cindy) Slumkoski and Kevin (Judy) Slumkoski; 7 grandchildren: Jamie, Jason, Joseph, Rose, Joseph, Jessica and Jonathan; and 3 great-granddaughters: Ella, Rainah and Lillian. Cremation will take place and a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church followed with a luncheon in the church hall. Please visit Pepper’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or Alzheimer’s Association. Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo- (269) 375-2900