Nellie Siebertha Yahr, age 99, of Kalamazoo passed away September 5, 2022. She was born February 3, 1923 in Kalamazoo to the late Jasper and Gertie (Botma) Bunschoten.
Nellie’s childhood began in Kalamazoo until her parents purchased the farm on XY Ave. and Silver St. in Vicksburg, better known to local residents as “Bloody Run.” As a child born to Dutch immigrants, the values of hard work and importance of family were ingrained into her life.
As a young woman Nellie began working at Ruud Manufacturing and later landed at The Upjohn Company, where she proudly spent the next 42 years of her career in manufacturing, retiring in 1985.
A shared love of dancing eventually brought Arthur Yahr into Nellie’s life. They were married on March 15, 1958, bringing to her family three step-children – Sandra, Gordon and Kathryn. Nellie loved children, and though she did not have her own, she spread that love to her nieces and nephews, her step-children, step-grandchildren and the rest of her family – spoiling them all along the way. She religiously sent many birthday or anniversary cards to all of her loved ones. She and her siblings remained very close over the years, quite often gathering to play cards or dominoes, and even traveling together. She and Art hosted many family reunions for both the Bunschoten family and the Yahr family, as well as many other gatherings of friends and family while they had their place at Sweet Lake in Gobles.
Nellie was a kind, giving and independent woman, known to be a bit frugal but generous with her time and love. She frequently invited her nieces and nephews for weekends properly spoiling them with plenty of sweet treats and new coloring books. The neighborhood children on Karendale affectionately named her “the cookie lady” since she enjoyed baking and sharing with them. She loved gardening and tending to her flowers. She and Art were very proud of their large, neatly cultivated garden at Sweet Lake. They enjoyed traveling quite often to northern Michigan to visit Art’s family; many trips to Las Vegas, Hawaii and Alaska were highlights. During their marriage they gave a loving home to three dogs – Penny, Cinder and Mitzy.
Nellie and Art were devoted fans of Rem Wall and The Green Valley Boys rarely missing a dance or their tv show. She also looked forward to Saturday night Lawrence Welk and The Wheel of Fortune.
Nellie was able to stay in her home on Karendale in Portage until 2015, even mowing her own lawn into her 90’s; but later accepting help from her lovely neighbors that assisted with mowing and clearing her driveway of snow. She then moved into the Heritage Community where her sister and brother-in-law, Gert & Harry also lived.
Nellie was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Arthur Yahr, her step-daughter Sandra Newville, her step-son Gordon (Mary Lou) Yahr; and her siblings, Henry (Mary Geier) Bunschoten, Sebertha (Richard) Decker, George Bunschoten, Jasper (Helen) Bunschoten, Gertrude (Harry) Cornell and Florence (Ronald) Hayward.
She is survived by her step-daughter Kathryn (David) Dagley; many step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sister-in-law Margie Bunschoten; her nieces and nephews, Bill (Phyllis) Cornell, Linda (Steve) Stanford, Bruce Bunschoten, Rhonda (Dan) Walters, Carolyn (Mike) Cree, Greg Bunschoten, Terri (Ken) Wolthuis, Gail Bunschoten, Mark (Devin) Bunschoten, Lori (Brian) Poolman, Paula (Steve) Brundige and Gary Bunschoten; as well as numerous great- and great-great nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be held Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at 11:00am at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 3926 S 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. A reception will immediately follow at the funeral home. Interment will take place at 1:30pm, following the reception, at Mt. Ever-Rest Memorial Park South, where she will be laid to rest with her husband, Art.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Nellie’s memory may be made to Centrica Care Navigators (formerly Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan).
To share a memory or leave a condolence for the family, visit https://www.langelands.com