Wednesday, May 31, 2017
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food & refreshments will be served.
6:30 PM Prayer Service.
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.
A Local Hospice Oranization of Your Choice
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Energetic, intelligent, and passionate, Kathleen McHugh Drzick lived with a firm commitment to seeing the positive and living each day to the fullest. Even in the face of life’s greatest challenges, Kathleen chose to center herself in love and hope. Her passion for learning and teaching, the way she welcomed life on life’s terms, and her commitment to continual growth inspired many. Deeply treasured, Kathleen leaves behind a legacy of beautiful memories her loved ones will forever hold as priceless.
The 1920s were marked by tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts. This vibrant time grew even more brilliant on July 11, 1925 as Donald and Alice McHugh, of Charlevoix, MI, welcomed their youngest daughter Kathleen into their family. They called her "Sweetie Pie," which was shortened to "Pie," her lifelong family nickname.
While Kathleen’s father provided for the family through his work as a builder, her mother, a former teacher, ran the household, instilling the values of learning and continual growth which formed the firm foundation upon which Kathleen built the rest of her life.
The Depression compelled Donald McHugh to move the family to New Smyrna, Florida where he was able to find work in boat-building, and the McHughs remained in Florida in the 1930s until they were able to return to their beloved Charlevoix. Kathleen started school in Florida but continued her primary education at St. Mary's Catholic School in Charlevoix. There she discovered her talent for writing "stories."
Growing up in Charlevoix, Kathleen’s roots were firmly planted in the beauty and power of the outdoors. It is here, in the company of her older siblings, Donald, Margaret, Monica, Alice, and Anne, that Kathleen enjoyed winter sports and summers on Lake Michigan.
After the sudden death of Donald McHugh, Kathleen's mother Alice moved the youngest daughters to Detroit where she completed her graduate school education and resumed her career as an elementary school teacher.
Kathleen’s inherent gifts for expertly wielding the English language in her writing and speaking afforded her many successes as a high school debater and contributor to the Rochester, MI High School newspaper and yearbook and later on the editorial staff of the Nazareth College newspaper. During her summers in Detroit in her college years, she was hired as a feature writer for the Pontiac Daily Press, an experience which would later lead her to work as editor of the Sutherland Paper Company's corporate newspaper.
An impassioned and dedicated student of learning and teaching, Kathleen completed her bachelor’s degree at Nazareth College, earned a Master’s in English at Western Michigan University, and pursued her doctoral studies in English at Michigan State University. During her career, Kathleen shared her wealth of knowledge and wisdom with many fortunate students in West Michigan. In her early years, she taught high school English at Richland High School, Kalamazoo Central High School, and St. Augustine High School. She also went to work as a newspaperwoman until the birth of her youngest daughter. From 1965 to 1990 Kathleen served as a professor of English at Western Michigan University.
In 1946, Kathleen’s roommate Dorothy Stender Talanda introduced her to Stephen Drzick who had recently returned home from his naval service in Europe and was attending WMU. On December 27, 1947, Kathleen and Steve united in marriage in a nuptial mass at Holy Name Parish in Birmingham, Michigan. In 1949, the happy couple welcomed their daughter Ellen Marie who was followed in quick succession by Anne, Mary Aileen, Francis, Patricia, and Margaret.
The family created many happy memories in their homes in Milwood, and later in the Arcadia neighborhood, where good times often centered around the backyard pool and barbeque. The couple enjoyed hosting cookouts with their friends from Steve’s workplaces and Kathleen’s WMU colleagues.
The family also enjoyed many road trip vacations over the years. Travels to Quebec, Washington DC, and Gettysburg proved particularly memorable. During their retirement years, Kathleen and Steve enjoyed exploring Ireland, England, Germany, Austria, as well as making road trips to Florida to visit their daughter Anne and their son Frank, often in the company of Anne and Bill Cagney.
Kathleen was an avid reader who could often be found with the Wall Street Journal in her hands and a stack of books at her side. She remained well-informed about the events of the day until her final illness. She enjoyed theatre, film, and the arts and was a faithful fan of the Detroit Tigers. In her years in Kalamazoo she was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church. She spent her final two years in Jacksonville, FL near her daughter Anne deForrest.
Kathleen will long be remembered as a person of high energy who maintained an optimistic outlook in spite of life’s hardships. Even in the face of the unimaginable challenges of outliving her spouse of nearly 60 years, as well as four of her children and all of her siblings, Kathleen consciously celebrated life’s many gifts and embraced each day as precious. Without a doubt, Kathleen’s legacy of love, hope, learning, and teaching will long live in the hearts of those who were blessed to have known her.
Kathleen Drzick, age 91, died May 13, 2017, in Jacksonville, Florida. She was preceded in death by her husband, Stephen; and her four children, Ellen Marie, Mary Aileen, Francis, and Margaret. Surviving are her daughters Anne (David) deForrest of Jacksonville, FL; and Patricia of Portage. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments from 4-7 PM on Wednesday, May 31 at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive (269-375-2900), where a prayer service will be held at 6:30 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 AM on Thursday June 1 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Kalamazoo. Following the mass, food and fellowship will be shared in the church hall. Interment Ft. Custer National Cemetery, Augusta. Please visit Kathleen’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo of her and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church or the local hospice organization of your choice.