Cover photo for Eileen Marie Herrera's Obituary
1946 Eileen 2023

Eileen Marie Herrera

February 5, 1946 — January 27, 2023

Eileen M. Herrera passed away at home in Kalamazoo on January 27, 2023, after a 4 year battle with Lewy body dementia with her husband, Paul at her bedside.  Paul has been her husband, caregiver, and her full time guardian. They had been married for 27 years.   Eileen was born on February 5, 1946, to the late Thomas Dado and Eleanor Downer of Wayland, MI.  Eileen had been married previously to Juan Herrera from Parchment.  They had 3 children together, Karen, Juan T., and Jose.

Eileen graduated from Wayland High School in 1965, and where she made lifelong friends that she continued to visit on occasion as an adult and they nicknamed themselves “The Wayland Kittens."  After graduating from Wayland High, she enrolled into the Sisters of St. Joseph nursing program at Borgess Hospital where she met Juan Herrera serving as an immunologist.   She then finished her nursing degree at Austin Junior College in Austin, Texas while Juan finished his military commitment.  Eileen and family later returned to Parchment of Kalamazoo as a wife, mom, nurse, and student graduating from Nazareth College with a BSN in 1993.

Eileen spent 25 years as a nurse at Borgess Hospital where she served as a nurse educator. She also became a first year nursing student instructor at Kellogg Community College, Battle Creek, and the second year Nursing instructor at Southwest Michigan Community College, Dowagiac.  As retirement years approached, she applied her nursing skill at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Regional State Hospital prior to retiring in 2010.

Eileen was as feisty as she was glamorous. The most common questions she was asked by her coworkers were “been shopping lately?” or “where did you get that outfit?”  She loved shopping for clothes, outfits, hats, jewelry, and most especially antiques, especially old pictures/ prints.  She attended the monthly Allegan Antique Market, and the downtown Kalamazoo antique market where she furnished her Westnedge Hill home with antique furniture.  She kept up with the trends by being a frequent shopper on QVC, but never missed a chance to shop at Macy’s, or Marshalls, and especially at the boutique shops in downtown Rockford, MI.  During her 27 years of marriage to her second husband, Paul Mudry, the two became shop-a-holics and enjoyed frequenting these favorite shops and even sharing opinions about items, (although she usually would purchase them anyway).

Eileen loved to travel, and when it was inconvenient to travel as a married couple she would escape away with her dear best friend Dorothy Matlock, a fellow RN. The two of them traveled the world together, visiting Hawaii, Europe, and southern United States.  They indulged in shopping trips and antiquing together while Dorothy’s “Dutch" heritage balanced Eileen’s “Czech” extravagance.  The two were life-long friends both at work and afterwards.

Eileen was fond of the A-Capella group Sweet Adelines of which she was a member for several years. She also enjoyed embroidery and knitting (Dorothy taught her that!).  On days when Paul couldn’t find Eileen, it was because she adventured off on her own to her favorite spot in South Haven, "the North Pier".   Even as the dementia progressed, and walking and talking was difficult, Paul was able to give her some enjoyment from the car as they sat looking at the beach and the rolling waves.

Eileen was blessed with three children while married to Juan Herrera.  Karen Wile, Juan Herrera, and Jose Herrera MD, all as adults became professionals in their own right either as an accountant, or psychiatric physician.  Her second love (even more than their love of antiques) was her cats!  Eileen always had cats (and one dog, Cinnamon) and they were loved and spoiled mercilessly.

Eileen is survived by her adoring husband Paul; children Karen (Larry) Wile, Juan T. Herrera, and Dr. Jose Herrera; stepsons Christopher, Benjamin, and John Mudry; sister Loretta Conway; niece Margie Conway; nephew Steven Conway; and grandchildren Natalia Estes, Austin Jay Estes, Thomas Estes, Jenner (Emily) Wile, Loran Wile, Grace Wile, and Gabriel Wile. Eileen was preceded in death by her first husband Juan Jr. and her best friend Dorothy Matlock.

A memorial service for Eileen will be held at a later date to be determined. Memorial contributions may be made in honor of Eileen to the Red Cross, and Centrica Care Navigators, formerly known as Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Eileen Marie Herrera, please visit our flower store.

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