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1933 Irene 2023

Irene Elizabeth Tompkins

July 5, 1933 — December 5, 2023

Irene Elizabeth (Lawliss) Tompkins, age 90, of Kalamazoo, MI, passed away on Tuesday, December 5, 2023.

Elizabeth was born on July 5, 1933, in Davison, MI, to the late James Thomas and Irene Matilda (Lightfoot) Lawliss. Her family moved to Beulah, MI, and at age 16, she won the 1948 4-H National Home Improvement award and many other Regional and State 4-H awards.

Elizabeth graduated from Benzonia High School, Benzonia, MI, with the class of 1951, where she served as Class Secretary.  She attended Western Michigan University in 1951 and left in 1953 to marry her high school sweetheart Richard Tompkins moving to Swindon, England, where Richard was stationed at a United States Air Force Base. They moved to Traverse City, MI, after Richard’s discharge.  In 1985 she resumed her studies and graduated with a Bachelor of Science.  She also completed a Theology studies program at Oxford University, Oxford, England (1993).

Elizabeth enjoyed sewing, knitting, gardening, decorating and had a strong interest in guiding the spiritual development of others.  Elizabeth was dedicated to serving others, both families and children.

She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega, Gamma XI Chapter, Western Michigan University (1952), Osteopathic Hospital Hostess President, Traverse City, MI (1964), and a Girl Scout Leader (1963-1974).  She was a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Traverse City while she lived there, and at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of Kalamazoo, MI.   

Elizabeth was the Owner / Director of Westminster Preschools, Traverse City, MI; she served on the State of Michigan Library Board and she worked at Bethel Baptist Church and Catholic Family Services both in Kalamazoo.  She was a Formation and Vocational Director for the Western Michigan Episcopal Diocese; and was a Spiritual Director and Workshop Leader as well as a Board Member at Transformations Spirituality Center with Sisters of St. Joseph.  She also had many other service roles in the Diocese and at St. Luke’s.  

Elizabeth is survived by her daughter, Carol (Edward) Tompkins-Parker; step-grandson Josh (Amber) Parker, great-grandchildren Alex and Ella; step-grandson Noah Parker, great-granddaughter Adrianna; step-grandson Seth (Brittany Dickenson) Parker, great-grandchildren Mariedith and Walter. 

Son: Mark (Marsha) Tompkins; grandson Benjamin (Maggie) Tompkins, great-granddaughter Quinn; granddaughter Madeline (Andrew) Rennhack, great-grandchildren Evelyn and Sawyer; granddaughter Eleanor Tompkins.

Son: Scott (Patrice) Tompkins; granddaughter Sarah (Andrew) Kleinschmit, great-grandchildren Noah and Liesl; grandson Christopher (Aubrey) Tompkins; granddaughter Anna (Jacob) Eccleston, great-grandson Theodore.

Elizabeth is survived by her sister, Jaima Kirk.

Elizabeth was preceded in death by her parents, daughter Nancy Tompkins, and sister Nancy (Lawliss) Philo.

A visitation will begin at 5:30 PM with a rosary to follow on Friday, December 29, 2023, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 247 West Lovell Street, Kalamazoo, MI.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, December 30, 2023, with Father Randall Warren as Celebrant.

Arrangements entrusted to Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 622 S. Burdick St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.

To view Elizabeth’s personalized web page, please visit


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