Friday, October 7, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Taken from her loved ones without warning, Sterling “Sudie” Braun was a blessing to everyone she met. She lived life to the fullest, not shying away from doing things her own way, and she enjoyed shocking people at times. Sterling was deeply devoted to her loved ones, and she had a special place in her heart for animals. She faced her fair share of health challenges, but she never let things get her down and faced everything with both strength and courage. Sterling had the best sense of humor and loved sharing her laughter with all who were near. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
Sterling was born in Grand Rapids Michigan to John and Mildred (Kennedy) Hake on December 16th, 1954. They named her Shirley Joy. (In later years, she legally changed her name to Sterling) She was the third of four daughters in the Hake family – sisters Marcy, Ellen, and Libi. Sterling’s father owned Jeffers-Hake, an insurance company, while her mother was a busy wife, mother, and homemaker. As a small child, Sterling was nicknamed “Sudie”, taken from a nursery rhyme her mother got slightly wrong. “Sukie put the kettle on, Sukie put the kettle on, we’ll all have tea.”
In many ways Sterling was a young girl of her generation. She could be a bit of a devil as a child and was known for continually pushing her sisters’ buttons. Sterling was close to her father and enjoyed going up North to his hunting cabin with him and also taking trips in his plane. There were also fun-filled family trips all over the United States in their Airstream trailer. As a teenager, Sterling had a quarter horse, which is perhaps how she came to have a special love for animals.
Although she was diagnosed as a diabetic at the age of nine, she never let it define her or the life she lived. Sterling graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 1973. She eventually attended Central Michigan University and graduated with a degree in recreational therapy. From there Sterling completed an internship in Phoenix, Arizona and then landed a job at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital where she worked for many years. Sterling later worked for the Social Security office in Disability Benefit Determinations, from where she recently retired.
Over the years diabetes took a toll on her body, and in 2009 she received a pancreas and kidney transplant. Sterling was grateful for the transplant and remained active in fundraising for the Kidney Foundation.
Throughout her life Sterling was a woman of many interests. She enjoyed her work, but her real passions were her pets, dog training and dance. She especially enjoyed training and showing dogs.
In recent years she developed a passion for gardening and turned her backyard into a dramatic terraced garden complete with water feature. Sterling had always been an outdoor person, so it wasn’t really all that surprising that she made her own little piece of heaven right in her backyard.
In everything she did, Sterling Braun had a zest for life that was contagious to those around her. As her family and friends can attest, she was truly unique, and she taught those around her the importance of not taking life too seriously.
Sterling loved being at home surrounded by the love and companionship of her dogs, and she was fortunate to have many loyal and genuine friends. Outgoing, Sterling had a spark and an energy that drew others to her. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
Sterling “Sudie” Braun, of Kalamazoo, died unexpectedly while on a visit to Chicago on Sunday, October 2, 2016. Members of her family include her 3 sisters: Marcy Repp, Ellen Hake, Libi Hake; her two dogs, Finn and Angel; and her cat, Gabe.
Visit with family and friends on Friday from 5-8 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Services will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Please visit Sterling'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 contributions may be made to the Kalamazoo Humane Society or the National Kidney Foundation.