Medical 05

Colleen Lorraine (Black) Dittrich

June 4, 1964 ~ March 31, 2021 (age 56)


A Lifetime of Healing

Colleen Dittrich passed from this life in her Kalamazoo home last Wednesday due to natural causes. Born in Gary, Indiana, Colleen moved to Michigan with her family in the mid 70's where she grew to be a fun-loving, spirited teenager who made many friends. She graduated from Kalamazoo Hackett High School in 1982, cultivating a love for anatomy and setting her mind to becoming a nurse. Through hard work, she realized her dream in 1986 when she earned her nursing degree from Purdue University.

Colleen's first job as a triage nurse in Gary, in many ways defined her. She learned to thrive under pressure while having a sharp wit and leading with her heart. Her compassion and dedication to patient care led her to labor in the nursing field for many years. She had found her true calling. Before declining health, she had recently cared for dialysis and psychiatric patients in Kalamazoo. Hundreds of patients have no doubt benefitted from her deep empathy and healing touch throughout her days.

Colleen was also a devoted mother, fiery sister, and savvy shopper. She babied many dogs and cats throughout her days, treating them as family. She was preceded in death by her mother, Loretta J. Grella, her step-father, Anthony J. Grella, and her father, David R. Black. Colleen is survived by her loving son, Thomas Dittrich of Kalamazoo, and her two brothers, Michael Grella of Kalamazoo and Darren Black of Salem, Massachusetts. She is also survived by her niece, Maisie J. Grella of Kalamazoo as well as other family.

For information about Tuesday's visitation hours and the funeral service, friends may contact

Please visit Colleen's tribute wall to leave a condolence, personal message or memory of her at


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