Betty Bieghler

May 19, 1944 - September 6, 2016
Portage, MI



Thursday, September 8, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and refreshments will be served.

Driving Directions


Friday, September 9, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church
1150 West Centre Avenue
Portage, MI 49024
(269) 327-5165

Following the mass, lunch will be served in Marion Hall.

Web Site


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.

Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan
222 N. Kalamazoo Mall, Ste. 100
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 345-0273
Driving Directions
Web Site

Parkinson's Foundation
200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800
Miami, FL 33131
(800) 473-4636
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Schafer's Flowers Inc.
3274 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(800) 760-7050
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


A vital part of the community she called home throughout the majority of her life, Betty Bieghler was a blessing to everyone she met. She completely immersed herself into everything she did, and she lived to make life better for those around her. Deeply devoted to her family, Betty was blessed to share the majority of her life with her true love, and together they witnessed their family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who made them so very proud. An inspiration to so many, she just made everyone around her smile. Although she will be deeply missed, Betty leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.

The first half of the 1940s were defined by our nation’s involvement in WWII. Countless young servicemen and women were serving overseas while those who remained stateside dealt with rationing on common goods and manufacturing that was focused on supporting the war effort. It was in 1944 that Ernest and Lucille (Baker) Derhammer were eagerly awaiting the birth of their twin babies as May unfolded in the city of Portage, Michigan, in 1944. The big day finally arrived when their two baby girls were born on May 19th. Betty arrived just 10 minutes before her sister, Barb, and together the twins were brought home to join their siblings: Richard, twin brothers Dave and Don, and Carol. Following Barb and Betty, their family grew to include another set of twins Shirley and Sue and then James, totaling 3 sets of twins and 3 singles!

In many ways Betty was a young girl of her generation. She and her sister had a paper route to earn some extra money, and she attended local schools. Betty’s high school years found her at St. Augustine High, and she graduated in 1962. She also worked behind the record counter at Woolworths, and she just kept playing those old 45 records. Betty was a very social girl with many friends. For the rest of her life she remained close with many of her childhood friends. Betty attended college to be an LPN for a time, but she soon discovered that it wasn’t a good fit for her. She then went to work at Michigan Bell.

It was while working at Michigan Bell that Betty met the man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was Jim Bieghler, and they soon fell deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, they were married on April 27, 1982, in Kalamazoo. They honeymooned in Las Vegas and visited family in both Arizona and California. They soon welcomed their daughter, Katie, into their hearts and home, and they settled in Portage.

Never one to be still, Betty kept busy with so many things. After working for the phone company for a number of years, she retired as an engineering clerk. Betty then went to work at the high school her daughter would eventually attend. She worked in a variety of departments there over the years including in the detention area, taking money for sports tickets, as a hall monitor, and working at numerous sports events in the evening. For years Betty worked some in the morning, came home and took a quick nap, and then returned to collect the money at the evening sports events. Betty also helped with fund raisers. She was so loved, too, as she was like the pied piper who always attracted all the kids as she just had a special way of communicating with them. Affectionately known as Mrs. B to them, she had such a positive impact in their lives. As someone who enjoyed cooking and baking, she loved making sweet treats for others including peanut butter balls. Betty and Jim attended St. Catherine’s Church throughout their entire married life. She continued working at the school until Parkinson’s disease forced her into retirement.

Throughout her life Betty was a woman of many interests. Her love for being in the kitchen and showering others with love found her making donuts at St. Catherine’s Church for many years, and she always made her famous brownies for the church funeral luncheons. Betty enjoyed working in her garden, and this was something she continued for as long as she was able. An avid sports fan, she loved attending Portage Central games with many friends. Betty could also be found at K-Wing and Western Michigan University hockey games, and her friends knew they better not try to talk to her during the games! Betty also enjoyed Portage Central theatre and would often buy a block of tickets to sell. She loved shopping whether it was at Meijer or Macy’s. Later on, she felt the most normal with a shopping cart in her hands as it helped mask the symptoms of her Parkinson’s. There were times that she went shopping three times a day for that reason. Betty spent 13 years suffering with the disease. Jim took her to the casino where she liked playing the big slot machines, where should would shout, “dollar, dollar, make me holler”, and she also loved buying scratch-off lottery tickets. She seemed to have luck on her side as she often did well, especially at the casinos. Although she loved all types of foods and could bake nearly everything, Betty never mastered being able to bake a pie.

All who knew Betty Bieghler would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was always put together and looked her best, but it was her kind and gracious spirit that truly radiated her inner beauty. Betty was never one to complain as she remained focused on knowing that others always had things worse than she did. Kindhearted, generous, and compassionate, she will be forever missed.

Betty (Derhammer) Bieghler, of Portage, died on September 6, 2016, at her home surrounded by her family. Betty’s family includes her husband, Jim Bieghler; daughter, Katie Bieghler; 4 step-daughters: Judi (Kevin) Yonkers, Jane (Dan) Jean, Jill (Greg) Bieghler, and Jennifer (Derek) Pearson; several grand and great-grandchildren; 7 siblings, twin brothers Dave (Joanne) Derhammer and Don (Carol) Derhammer, Carol (Bruce) McDonald, twin-sister Barbara (Mark) Pearson, Shirley (Rick) Hay, Sue Kovach and James (Roxanne) Derhammer and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and by a brother, Richard Derhammer. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Thursday from 5-8PM at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo- (269) 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday 11AM at St. Catherine of Siena Church followed by a luncheon in Marion Hall. Please visit Betty’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or Parkinson Disease Foundation.