Gladys Rose Vander Straaten (Martz), of Kalamazoo, MI, passed away Monday July 8, 2019 at Amber Place at the age of 88. She was born on March 28 in 1931 to the late Marty and Wayve (DeVall) Martz. Gladys grew up in the Oakwood neighborhood, graduated from Central High School in Kalamazoo and attended some college classes through KVCC. In her life she enjoyed various jobs, working in theater concessions at several local theaters, window dressing, working the candy counter at Kresge's, and housekeeping for an orthodontist. Though Gladys worked at various places, she was primarily a homemaker and caregiver, providing loving care for multiple family members through her lifetime. She married the love of her life, Dick Vander Straaten August 29th in 1951 and had 2 children; Laura and Sandra. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2001. Gladys participated in Mother's Study at her daughter's school, Washington Elementary, volunteered for Girl Scouts, attended Stockbridge United Methodist Church where she taught Adult Sunday School, participated in United Methodist Women's group and later attended Bethany Reformed Church. Gladys was deeply religious and had a very kind and giving heart. Her passion was her family and she loved children. She also had a special place in her heart for animals.
Gladys was preceded in death by her parents: Marty and Wayve (DeVall) Martz; a daughter-Sandra Vander Straaten; husband: Dick Vander Straaten, and two brothers Donald Martz and Richard (Carolyn) Martz. She is survived by her daughter Laura (Gary) Johnson; grandson Nicholas Johnson; brothers: Howard (Debra) Martz and Roger (Karen) Martz; sister-in-law Jean Martz; her husband's cousin: Nancy Burke; multiple nieces and nephews and their families.
Friends and family are invited to a visitation from 5:00 to 7:00 PM on Friday, July 12, 2019 at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 411 E Centre Ave, Portage, MI 49002 where a funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 11:00 AM with a visitation one hour prior to the service. Interment will take place at Mount Ever-Rest Memorial Park , South.
Gladys's family would like to extend special appreciation to the wonderful caregivers at Amber Place, Hospice of Southwest Michigan, Pastor Jeffrey McNally at Word for Life Church, Reverend Fritz Kruithof and Reverend David Zomer and staff at Bethany Reformed Church.
Memorial contributions can be made in honor of Gladys to Word for Life Church of God or Shepherd's Center. Please visit Gladys's online guest book to leave a condolence, personal message or memory of her.