Dorothy Ann Richards Burt

March 18, 1922 - April 20, 2017
Kalamazoo, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Dorothy Ann Richards Burt, 95, died on April 20, 2017, at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Dorothy lived a life full of love, family, curiosity, self sufficiency, aesthetic appreciation, thoughtfulness and personal experiences that she turned into life lessons and a wonderful legacy for her family and all who had the opportunity to know her.

Dorothy was born on March 18, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Marguerite Emma (Eleveld) and Ralph Richards. As young girl, she lost her brother, Jimmy, and then her Mother died at early age, instilling in her an appreciation for the importance of family that she honored for the rest of her life. She grew up in the Depression, a time she captured vividly in her writing and story telling, and never forgot the lessons of thrift and caring she learned.

A true daughter of Grand Rapids, Dorothy remembered her childhood as full of neighborhood adventures, family gatherings and – later – ice skating and dancing dates. She graduated from Creston High School and attended the David Wolcott Kendall School of Art (now the Kendall College of Art and Design).

In May of 1941, Dorothy met Gerald W. (Jack) Burt at the Dixie Pavilion in Wayland, Michigan; they married in February, 1942, in Glendale, Arizona, where he was an Army Air Force Cadet. Their first child, David, was born in 1943 in San Francisco, where Jack was stationed.

After the war, they settled in Grand Rapids and had three daughters: Carol, Beverly and Constance. Dorothy worked as a secretary while raising her family, and also served as a Cub Scout as well as Girl Scout Leader, creating memories, teaching skills, setting a valuable example and establishing important values for her children.

When Jack retired, the “city girl” transitioned to country living on the Burt family farm in Martin, Michigan, where she learned to love the rhythm of the agricultural and natural seasons – an appreciation she shared with, and nurtured in, her grandchildren. She also found time to return to her artistic pursuits in drawing, painting and writing as well as to rekindle her interest in travel, especially to Europe. Her writing flourished after she moved to Kalamazoo and became part of a writing group at The Fountains in Kalamazoo, which eventually led to a publication of her essays on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband, Jack; son, David; and grandson, Jon. She is survived by her daughters Carol Carra (Phil), Beverly Grambau (Geoff), Constance Burt (Worthy Martin); grandchildren Angela Burwick (Georg), Ben (Kelly), Nick and Kate Grambau; Shannon Burt; Andy Carra (Holly) and Lacy Carra Ghashghai (Khashayar); and thirteen great grandchildren. She took great delight in each succeeding generation and lavished her love and attention on them.

A private family memorial service will be held at a later date. Please visit Dorothy's memory page at where you can read her obituary, share a memory or photo, and sign her guest book online.