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PO BOX 20054
Kalamazoo, MI 49019
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Life Story / Obituary
Beth Pomeroy was a loving person. She always saw the good in people and was an extremely generous and loyal friend to many. Known to speak her mind and keep everyone on their toes, she lived her life with inspiring grace. She was an excellent artist and loved to express herself by writing poetry. Beth left her mark in this world and will remain in the hearts of all who knew and loved her.
In 1958 Garold and Marajane Pomeroy welcomed their newborn baby girl Beth into their loving home on February 8th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was the middle child between her older brother, Douglas, and her baby sister, Maralee.
Beth lived a happy childhood where she was known as an affectionate, sweet, and silly girl. She enjoyed sharing her infectious laughter! She loved her siblings, especially her big brother Doug, who could do no wrong in her eyes, and enjoyed countless hours playing with both of them. As she grew older, she was somewhat of a spitfire and loved adventure. There simply wasn’t anything that could stop her from doing what she set her mind on doing! Fiercely independent, Beth moved out of the family home as a teenager. She became a mother to her first son Bradley shortly thereafter. By the grace of God, she survived a severe motor vehicle accident when Bradley was still an infant. The accident which occurred on August 17, 1976 would alter the course of her life forever. Beth was in a coma for nearly a month. She slowly emerged from the coma and was transferred to Mary Free Bed Hospital for extensive rehab. Her traumatic brain injury caused her to have limited use of her left side, short term memory loss, and other cognitive challenges. Due to her injuries, she realized she could no longer sustain her role as a mother and lovingly placed Bradley up for adoption. Two years later she gave birth to her son Scott whom she also placed up for adoption.
Beth went to Rainbow Tree rehab program to help give her the skills to live independently. While she was there, she met another rehab client named Brian Hales. Romance was in the air and they fell in love. They later got married and spent several happy years together. Throughout Beth’s accident and rehab, her parents were her biggest supporters. They worked tirelessly to get her the best rehab possible to help her be independent.
In recent years, her son Bradley searched for his birth family. He connected with Beth’s dad who told him about his younger brother Scott, and introduced him to Beth. She was so thrilled to meet and spend time with both of her sons at once. A couple of years after they got to meet, Scott was killed in an auto accident which caused Beth much grief. Beth was also able to meet Bradley’s wife Stacey, and daughters Montana and Kylee which gave her great joy. She loved to buy Christmas presents for both of her granddaughters and their parents every year thereafter.
In 2009, Beth became a member of the Progressive Alternatives family, an organization that assists with housing and rehab for clients with brain injuries. For the past eight years, Beth has remained sober and has been able to have her own apartment with the help of wonderful aides and virtual care. Her relationships with the Progressive Alternatives (PA) community brought out the creative spark in her! She loved to go to yoga, have massages, and go swimming with other PA clients. Above all, she enjoyed attending the weekly PA arts and crafts sessions. One of her favorite projects was an old door that Beth painted. She asked every visitor she had to sign it for her. The door was filled with signatures and she was so proud of it. She considered everyone in PA her family. When Beth joined PA, she needed a guardian to help with major decisions. Beth’s dad asked June, her sister-in-law to fill that role which continued for the rest of Beth's life.
Beth’s creative gifts and interests gave her great joy. She loved to paint on canvas as well as write poetry. When she couldn’t sleep, she would get a cup of coffee and write poetry by the hour. Beth always cherished sharing her poetry with everyone. She loved to include a poem in most every birthday and Christmas card she sent. In addition to her artistic life, Beth loved to go shopping. She could be spotted with her PA aides at the local Goodwill, Dollar store, or Walmart. She loved to search for the latest trinkets and craft supplies as well as reading glasses. Over the years she collected more than fifty pairs!
She made friends everywhere she went. She was a social butterfly and loved to talk to everyone. Beth was very proud of her pet parakeets Skye and Blue Tail. She got great joy from talking to and caring for them. Beth loved spending time in her room with her electric bed and flat screen TV. When she was bored, she would often call and chat with her sister in law June up to several times a day!
In August of 2016, Beth was so proud to reach forty years of surviving her accident. She celebrated the milestone at an open house with family and friends, which she so enjoyed. She wore a crown and felt like a queen for the day.
Just three short months ago, Beth was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer which had spread to her brain. Despite the radiation treatments and difficult chemotherapy, Beth remained positive. No matter how bad she felt, when asked, she was always “pretty good”. She loved sweets, cold food and coffee! When asked by her aides what she wanted to eat, the answer was often "something sweet". Especially the last few weeks of her cancer battle, McDonald’s Frappes were a great joy to her. Her very last taste of food was a frappe that June made for her and Beth said it was "wonderful".
At times, Beth would get into one of her famous laughing fits, where her entire face would turn red from ear to ear and she would laugh for several minutes straight. Of course it made everyone else around her join in as well! Known to be a rascal at times, her recent illness brought out the best in her. She was extremely grateful to her family and caregivers and told them repeatedly how much she loved and appreciated them. Beth made wonderful memories over the years and she will be deeply missed.
Bethany Lynne Pomeroy, of Kalamazoo, age 59, passed away Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at her home, surrounded by family, following a brave three-month battle with cancer. Beth is survived by her son Bradley (Stacey) Baar, sister-in-law, June Pomeroy, nieces; Rebecca and Rachel Pomeroy, Jerri Moon, and granddaughters Montana and Kylee Baar. Beth was preceded in death by her parents Garold and Marajane (Kik) Pomeroy, her brother Douglas Edward Pomeroy, her sister Maralee Rae Pomeroy-Vincent, and son Scott VanZyl. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Progressive Alternatives. Visit with family and friends on Saturday from 3-4 at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home where services will be held at 4 pm.