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.
To the family of Susan Hamel-Pyle
Checks may be made to Ben Pyle and envelopes will be available at the funeral home.
Any Local Animal Rescue
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Although she was taken from her loved ones much too soon, Susan Hamel-Pyle made a significant impact in the lives of all who were near. She had a special place in her heart for kids, perhaps because she was such a kid at heart herself. A loving and devoted wife and mother, Susan forever viewed the day her daughter was born to be the best day of her life. She was outgoing, personable, and genuine in her care and concern for those around her, and her zest for life was contagious to all who were near. Deeply loved, Susan will be forever missed.
The 1960s were an exciting time in America. It was during this time that we elected the young John F. Kennedy as our 35th President of the United States only to mourn his death just a short time later. Civil rights were front and center, and by the end of the decade we had put the first man on the moon. Also during this exciting time was a time of excitement in the lives of Richard and Virginia (Carter) Hamel as they were blessed with the birth of the baby girl they named Susan on May 14, 1968. She was the youngest child born to her parents, and with two older brothers, Michael and Arthur, she was the daughter that her mother had been waiting for. Susan was also her Daddy’s sweet little girl and was very spoiled by him as well. In addition, she had two half-brothers, James and John.
In many ways Susan was a tomboy as she was forever trying to keep up with her brothers. Somehow she was also surrounded by boys in the neighborhood and could often be found out playing ball with them all. Although Susan loved climbing trees and driving tractors, she also took dance and played the piano. She was part of Gerri’s Jets Baton Twirlers, and she was once able to be in the Kalamazoo Christmas parade. Susan was a student at local schools including Mattawan High School where she was on the powderpuff football team and also played volleyball. She left school during her senior year, but she later decided to get her diploma through the Paw Paw adult education program.
There was nothing that meant more to Susan than her loved ones. She was filled with unspeakable joy to become a mother to her daughter, Casey, and it was easy to see that Casey was the light of Susan’s life. This was especially true since she was told that she would never have children. Susan loved spending quality time with Casey by taking her out fishing and mushroom hunting. She also spent many years with her longtime boyfriend, Don Kinsey, and he also served as a father figure to Casey. He treated both Susan and her daughter like princesses, and Susan was deeply saddened with his death.
Susan was often one to keep busy. She had a strong work ethic and worked in several local factories over the years. In fact, Susan was even certified to drive a forklift! She was an avid gardener who was known to dig up a wild plant on the side of the road to bring home to her own garden. She was also a music enthusiast who enjoyed a variety of different musical genres including legends like Frank Sinatra. It has also been said that when she listened to music, Susan only liked it one way - loud! As a young girl Susan liked dancing with her father to the music of his generation. She liked writing poetry, taking nature walks, and watching Keeping up with Kardashians and Mob Wives. Susan loved the water and being out on the water, too.
Although she faced many challenges in life, Susan was working hard to get her life in order and to make positive changes in her life. It was also in more recent years that she met her husband, Ben, while working at the Meijer on West Main. They dated for about a year before exchanging their vows on December 13, 2013, at the courthouse in Kalamazoo.
A lifelong resident of the Lawton and Kalamazoo areas, Susan Hamel-Pyle was a blessing in the lives of her friends and loved ones. She could be strong willed, but she was also very passionate about the people and things she believed in, and she loved to laugh. Lovable, compassionate, and a lover of all people, Susan cared about all people and animals alike. She could be loud at times, but she was so much fun to be around. Susan was known for her strength and resilience, and she taught others to stand up for themselves as well. She will never be forgotten.
Susan Hamel- Pyle, of Kalamazoo, died on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Susan’s family includes her husband, Ben; daughter, Casey (Garrett) Gannon; parents, Virginia and Richard Hamel; brother, Arthur (Christy) Hamel; half-brother, John (Mary) Rice; adopted sister, Paulette (Jake) Esmon; 3 stepchildren: Susan Ross, Benjamin Pyle, Jr., and Stacy Pyle; 5 grandchildren; great-grandchild, and special niece, Shyann Douglas. Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 5th at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (375-2900). The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Please visit Susan’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to a local animal rescue or to the family.