Vivian Chandler

May 12, 1916 - February 7, 2017
Kalamazoo, MI



Friday, February 10, 2017
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and drinks will be served.

Driving Directions


Saturday, February 11, 2017
2:00 PM EST
St. Joseph Catholic Church
936 Lake Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 343-6256

Burial will follow in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Web Site


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.

Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan
222 N. Kalamazoo Mall, Ste. 100
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 345-0273
Driving Directions
Web Site

Lending Hands
2403 Helen Avenue
Portage, MI 49002
(269) 567-4381
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Smart, strong, and stoic, Vivian Chandler cherished her family while passionately giving much of herself in service of others. An accomplished singer and pianist, Vivian embraced the natural rhythm of life’s challenges and joys with finely tuned discipline and melodious delight. Fondly known as both “Bear” and “Ninny,” Vivian’s love will continue to beat like a catchy hook in the hearts of all who knew her.

Despite falling in the middle of World War I, 1916 was a year marked by many great events. While Albert Einstein worked on completing his theory of relativity, Charlie Chaplin enjoyed the height of his fame entertaining wartime audiences as a silent movie star. BMW established itself as a company and the toggle light switch was invented. As the war clouds continued to descend, people found great hope in the entertainment and inventions of the time. Locally, Hope sang with tremendous resound in the hearts and home of Peter and Catherine Paulus as they joyfully welcomed their daughter Vivian into their family on May 12, 1916.

As a child living in Holland, Michigan Vivian spent much of her youth in the good company of her four siblings.

Born with a gift for music, Vivian spent much of her youth honing her craft in high school and college choirs and glee clubs. Her gifts were such that she often found herself center stage, singing solo. Recognizing the calling that came with her talent, Vivian studied music education at WMU. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree she took her show on the road and shared her craft with the fortunate students in the Bear Lake Community Schools.

Though she gave up teaching after marrying her college sweetheart, John Mathias Chandler “Matt” in 1941, she continued to share her voice and music throughout her life; she often performed at weddings and funerals and was a long-time choir member. Vivian and Matt proudly raised three children together; David, Paula, and Susan, who very were much the center of their hearts and lives. Many a day was spent encouraging the children’s endeavors. David and Paula especially benefitted from their mother’s unfailing support of their tennis pursuits.

Vivian continued to feel compelled to use her gifts in service of others. She was a dedicated member of the St. Agnes Foundling Home for 9 years and even served as the organization’s board president. Many a determined hour was dedicated to the Borgess Guild as well. With Matt’s good company, Vivian worked several summers’ National Junior and Boys Tennis Tournament at Stowe Stadium in Kalamazoo. Returning to the classroom, Vivian had the pleasure and honor of volunteering in her daughter Paula’s Kalamazoo Public Schools classrooms over the years. She worked as both a tutor and a treasured foster grandparent.

Over their 56 years of marriage, Vivian and Matt enjoyed many shared adventures including traveling within the US and particularly memorable trips to Switzerland and Bermuda. After Matt retired, the couple enjoyed spending winter months in Florida. Here Matt played in the Senior Tennis Circuit in the good company of his lifelong cheerleader, Vivian, and they made many lifelong friends.

Vivian thoroughly enjoyed being with others while sharing a great song or playing a great game. One of Vivian’s favorite things to do was to accompany on the piano as her daughter Paula sang of the lovely songs from the Sound of Music or practice duets with her daughter Susan. Scrabble, Crazy Eights, Bingo, and Bridge were sure interests for Vivian, while her long-time monthly Gab and Gobble Club afforded great chat and eats. Vivian relished in being able to share her passion for fishing with her grandchildren. She could often be found on the bank of the lake at Parkview Hills with a fishing pole in hand and her grandson at her side.

A woman of tremendous strength and fortitude, Vivian lived on her own for nearly 16 years after Matt died. She took great pride in being able to care for herself confidently doing her own cooking, cleaning, and other household chores. It wasn’t until she suffered a stroke that left her wheelchair bound in 2014 that she had to seek the assistance of others. Following the stroke, she moved to Bickford Cottage Assisted Living where she thrived. The excellent care and companionship of other the Bickford community members afforded tremendous comfort for Vivian and her family. With great determination, Vivian retrained her stroke-affected arm and hand. Over time her resolve resulted in her ability to color intricate patterns and enjoy the satisfaction of coloring. In spite of the tremendous challenges of living with a body that had grown tired after 100 years of life, Vivian maintained her strong sense of center remaining positive and agreeable through her final days.

Above all else, Vivian loved to be surrounded by her family. She willingly embraced her roles as wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Vivian’s inspiring legacy will long live in the hearts and lives of those she held most dear.

After 100 amazing years, Vivian (Paulus) Chandler, died in the comforts of the Bickford Cottage Assisted Living community, in Portage, MI. She was preceded in death by her husband, John Mathias Chandler also by her son, David Chandler. Vivian is survived by her children: Paula (Tom) LaPorte and Susan (John) Schadler; 4 grandchildren: Shannon Brown, Jennifer Pinkel, Joshua Chandler and Kelly Vicari; 6 great-grandchildren; a special niece, Lynda Cutler and a daughter in law, Lisa (Dave) Scurria. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Friday from 4-7pm at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday 2 pm at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Burial will take place in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Please visit Vivian’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can read her story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or Lending Hands.

The family wishes to thank Bickford Assisted Living for the excellent care, love and support given while Vivian resided there. Also, a thank you to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, especially Nurse Matt Gross for his special medical care, love, and support and to Jessica her aide and Natalie her Social Worker.