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.
American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22478
Oklahoma City, OK 73123
Mail to: P.O. Box 42040; Oklahoma City, OK 73123
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Vibrant and beautiful, Denise Paff lived a life rich in family, friends, and fun. A woman who knew no stranger, Denise embraced each moment wholeheartedly and inspired others to do so as well. With an infectious enthusiasm for life, Denise loved with all her heart, gave everything she had to give, and smiled every single day. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Denise will forever be missed by all who were blessed to share time with her.
1970 was a year marked by drama. As the Vietnam War escalated, so did the protests. The airwaves were filled with the varied sounds and sentiments of the nation in popular films like M*A*S*H and Catch 22 while the Beatles encouraged us to “Let it Be, ” and Simon and Garfunkel sang of a “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” It was in this vibrant time that Bob & MaryAnn (Cowgill) Pelikan welcomed their daughter Denise into their hearts and home on November 1st in Plainwell, MI.
Growing up in Plainwell, during the 70s and 80s Denise enjoyed a childhood centered in the values of family and hard work. While her father worked in construction, her mother was a great homemaker who did “everything else.” Besides her older siblings, Dawn and Steve, Denise also enjoyed the good company of many family dogs. Denise was a natural animal lover. In addition to her affections for the family dogs, she grew a powerful love for horses. Fortunately, she was able to spend much time with them through her involvement with the Bresa Del Rio Horse Club. As a youth, Denise attended Otsego schools. Later she transferred to Plainwell where she graduated from High School.
One fateful day, while doing laundry at the local laundromat, Denise was blessed with the good fortune of an extremely successful hunt for snacks. Looking for something to satiate her hunger, Denise popped into the local Wesco where she soon met the man who would become her husband, Rich Paff. Instantly smitten, the pair soon began hanging out and enjoying one another’s company. On New Year’s Eve 1987, the couple had their first official date. Not only did they ring in the new year, but they also began a wonderful journey filled with love, laughter, and much joy.
The happy couple married at the First Baptist Church on August 22, 1992, and made their home in Plainwell where they joyfully welcomed their son Brandon and daughter Kelsey into their family. Denise relished in being a wife and mother, and she poured her heart into creating a wonderful home filled with music, dancing, good food, lots of hugs, and eternal optimism. Denise infused her zest for life in her cooking and especially enjoyed cooking lasagna, tacos, fish, pizza, and breakfast for her family. No one ever left her home hungry! Denise was a proud mother, and many a fond memory was made watching her son play hockey, and her daughter play soccer. She never missed her children’s events and she always proved an enthusiastic force of support in the stands.
Never one to be still for long, over the years, Denise worked at Hop-In and Clark, McPherson Plastics, Safari Circuits, and Hi-Tech Medical. Denise possessed a powerful drive to be of service to others and she especially enjoyed helping folks out by watching their dogs and babysitting their children. She generously shared her skills as a member of a craft club, and she also volunteered many hours at both the Plainwell Schools and the SPCA.
A perfect day in Denise’s world was any day spent with her cherished family and friends whom she loved above all things. Whether traveling to Las Vegas, New York, Texas, and Colorado, camping for a week in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, growing her Panda bear collection, rescuing Siberian husky – Keelo, watching the Red Wings with her beloved, or welcoming the new year, Denise treasured every moment she was given. With both confidence and courage, Denise trusted her capacity to endure life’s difficulties and bless each joy equally.
Surely, Denise’s bliss was her precious granddaughter Adalynn. The twinkle in Adalynn’s eyes reflected Denise’s radiant spirit and embodied the many hopes she had for the future. Cheering on their favorite teams, celebrating the 4th of July, carving pumpkins, and waiting for Santa...the very best days were even better for getting to be Na, especially with Papa at her side.
Clearly, the sudden absence of Denise’s bright light has us feeling uncertain and stunned. It is hard to imagine life without her sharp wit, infectious laugh, the spark in her eye, and her steadfast belief in us. While we slowly begin to learn to breathe again, may we find deep comfort in knowing that each time we eat breakfast for dinner, heartily bear hug each other, choose to be positive on even the worst day, and unhesitatingly offer our care for others, we are living the best of Denise’s beautiful legacy in our own lives. And in so doing, we continue to keep her bright spirit burning and inspiring others to live just as fully as she did.
Denise Paff, age 47, of Plainwell passed away on January 2, 2018. Denise was born on November 1, 1970, to Bob and MaryAnn (Cowgill) Pelikan. Visit with her family and friends and view her life story film on Saturday, January 6 from 11:00 to 12:00 at the Gun River Conservation Club; 689 11th St. Plainwell MI 49080. A memorial service will follow at 12:00 p.m. at the same location. Denise’s family includes her husband of 25 years, Rich; her children: Brandon (Ashley Lown) Paff and Kelsey (Isaiah) Paff; one grandchild: Adalynn; her father Bob; her stepmother-in-law Sandy; her sister Dawn Pelikan and brother Steve Pelikan as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her mother MaryAnn and father and mother-in-law Richard and Patti Paff. Please visit Denise’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read her life story, archive a memory or photo and sign her memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to the SPCA or American Cancer Society.