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.
Educational Savings Fund for Jennifer's Children
C/O Merchantile Bank, 2925 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Checks payable to Bret Pittman.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
After more than 10 long years of courageously fighting cancer, Jennifer Pittman was taken from her loved ones last week. Jennifer was an amazing woman who defined strength and grace under pressure. She loved many and she loved passionately. She adored her husband and children - Bret, Hannah and Gavin and cared for them even while battling daily fatigue and pain. Jennifer may be best remembered for her wickedly quick and fierce wit and sense of humor. She kept everyone laughing even under the most difficult circumstances.
Jennifer was born in Elkhart, Indiana to Dr. Barrie Phillips and Beverly on August 21, 1968. She was named Jennifer Kingsley Phillips after her adoring grandparents, Gale and Virginia Kingsley. She was the youngest of four siblings in the Phillips family - sisters Gail and Betsy; and brother Barrie II survive. She enjoyed a full and fun childhood with her father who was a clinical pharmacologist and her mother who was a devoted wife, mother, and local painter.
As a child, Jennifer loved riding her bike and playing with her childhood dog Missy. She was a member of the Dunlap United Methodist Youth Group and the high school marching band. She was also involved with the Concord High School Chorale and she had a beautiful voice. Her summers were spent on Drummond Island surrounded by friends and family. Jennifer discovered her love for math at a young age by balancing her mother’s checkbook.
After living in Indiana, Jennifer moved to Kalamazoo, and attended Western Michigan University. After spending a year in Florida, and attending University of Florida, Jenn transferred back to WMU. At WMU Jenn received a Bachelor’s of Science in Statistics in 1991 and went on to receive a Master’s degree in Engineering Management in 1994.
Jennifer began working as an Adjunct Professor at Western prior to beginning her career as an Industrial Engineer at then Upjohn - later Pfizer. As an industrial Engineer, Jennifer honed both her engineering and management skills while also forming many deep and rewarding friendships. During her time at Pfizer, Jennifer met the love of her life, Bret, and they married and began their family.
Jennifer welcomed her daughter Hannah into the world in 1999 and Gavin in 2003. Jennifer then dedicated her life to caring for and loving her family. She worked full time yet managed to always be up for the next party, adventure, or family excursion with her children.
Jennifer enjoyed many summers on Drummond Island, spending her days floating in the lake with her cousins and hunting for puddingstones. She spent time with her siblings and extended family and later brought her own family and children for many adventures on the island. She also loved spring break trips to Florida where she would rise before the sun for the best shelling on the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva. In 2016, along with her family, Jennifer traveled to Paris, France fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Jennifer inherited her artistic talent from her mother and was passionate about jewelry. She had an amazing sense of style and she spent time remodeling her home and gardening alongside her family. She relaxed by going to the movies with her children and spending movie nights at home that included her beloved cat, Butters.
Jennifer fought hard against cancer for many years and she tried every new treatment possible to spend all the time she could with her children. On Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 Jennifer passed away while surrounded by her family. She beat many obstacles to be with us for as long as she was. She will be deeply missed by her husband Bret, children Hannah and Gavin, her three siblings Betsy, Gail, and Barrie, her parents Barrie and Beverly, her adored extended family as well as many dear friends. The world is a little less bright without her amazing spirit.
On Thursday, March 16th, a celebration of life will be held for Jennifer from 5 to 8 pm at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.
In Lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the college savings fund for Jennifer’s children. Donations will be received at: Educational Savings Fund for Jennifer's Children C/O Mercantile Bank, 2925 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008 (269) 488-9200
- Written by Hanna Pittman