NAGELKIRK, BERNICE J.
On March 30, 2018, Bernice Joan Nagelkirk of Kalamazoo, Michigan went joyfully to Heaven. Bea was a Christian educator with a deep faith and life-long love of learning. She began her teaching career in Muskegon at West Michigan Christian Schools where she taught 4th and 6th grades and junior high English. In 1979, she became a junior high English teacher in the Kalamazoo Christian Schools where she served until her retirement. Bea was an excellent teacher, believing all children would learn if teachers inspired self-esteem, discipline and pride. Her craftsmanship was publicly recognized in 1991, 1996 and 1997 with KVISD Excellence in Education awards.
Bea was born in Chicago, IL, the daughter of John and Gert Schipper. She attained a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Calvin College where she met her trumpet player, Robert Nagelkirk. Bob and Bea married in 1963 and spent 48 years together laughing, taking road trips and spending annual vacations at the cottage in Lake City, Michigan.
Bea enjoyed many activities. Her faith led her to serve in many roles in her Christian Reformed home churches including deacon, lay-reader and mentor. She was a lover of word games, books and puzzles. She enjoyed in-depth conversations, color tours, antiques and visiting her grandchildren.
Bea was preceded in death by her husband. Their family includes three children: Susan (Bill) Roth; Patricia Nagelkirk (Gerard Dehner, Jr.); Paul (Stephanie) Nagelkirk; six grandchildren: Christopher Roth (deceased), Calyn (Adam) Autry, Selena (Stephen) Ingram and Dustin Roth, Jack and Ella Nagelkirk; and one great-granddaughter, Selah Autry. Bea has two brothers, Kenneth (Elaine) Schipper and Allen (Ann) Schipper, and in-laws Jerry (Evelyn) Nagelkirk (both deceased) and Nancy (Glenn) Gelderloos. She will be missed by extended family in multiple states and many friends from Westwood Christian Reformed Church.
The family will receive friends from 2:00 to 4:00PM and 6:00 to 8:00PM on Friday, April 6th at the Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Westside Chapel, 3926 South 9th Street. A memorial service to celebrate Bea's life will be held at 11:00AM on Saturday, April 7th at Westwood Christian Reformed Church, 620 Northampton Rd. with her brother Rev. Allen Schipper and Rev. Mike Koetje officiating. Immediately following the service there will be a time of food and fellowship in the church hall. A private family burial will be held later in Grand Prairie Cemetery. Memorials in Bea's memory may be directed to the Kalamazoo Christian School Association.
Kalamazoo Christian School Association
2121 Stadium Dr.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008