Obituaries Archive

Obituaries » Ann T. Niedzielski

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November 14, 1951 - April 30, 2024

Please join us to celebrate Ann at a memorial service on May 23, 2024, at 3:00pm at Climax United Methodist Church, 133 E. Maple Street, Climax, MI 49034. Family will begin greeting guests at 2:00pm.  

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And it’s breaking my heart you’re leaving. Baby, I’m grieving. But if you wanna leave, take good care…

Ann Therese Niedzielski passed away April 30, 2024, at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo, MI. Ann was born on November 14, 1951, in Kalamazoo, MI and has lived in Climax, MI for over 30 years.

Ann gave her time and energy to the causes and charities that were important to her. She volunteered at the Kalamazoo Humane Society, the food pantry, and for many other organizations. In fact, she volunteered so much of her time for the Navy Mothers that she was made an honorary Navy Mother. It was at a Navy ball where a charming sailor, Ken Potts, asked her for a dance and swept her off her feet. They were married on April 1, 1992.

In addition to Ken, Ann adored dogs and adopted many over the years. She could not help but rescue dogs in need. There were times that we thought she had rescued one too many! Her dogs were well-loved, never short of attention, and lived a charmed life under Ann’s care.

Ann was an avid reader and sharer of books. She cultivated this love in others by becoming a librarian. She worked at both the Portage Public Library and Blind Services, where she ensured that people with disabilities could experience the joy of a good book. Ann volunteered countless hours at the Lawrence Memorial Library in Climax, where she also served as a board member. It wasn’t a birthday without a new book from Ann, adorned with a thoughtful inscription.

Ann also enjoyed studying and creating art. She would often bring her friends and family on excursions to art shows and museums, teaching them to appreciate the techniques used by the artists. She leaves behind a legacy of her beautiful drawings, paintings and photographs.

Ann was happiest around a campfire, singing her favorite Cat Stevens or John Denver songs after she persuaded someone to play the guitar. In recent years, Ann enjoyed participating in the singing group at the Portage Senior Center. Also, around a campfire, she told elaborate ghost stories that still haunt many of us from our childhood. Ann was an amazing storyteller and perhaps should have considered acting as a career given her gift for dramatic prose.

Many of us hold special memories of traveling with Ann to the “Big Cabin” in Mio, MI. We played board games and Euchre when not on nature walks or floating down the Au Sable River. Two generations have been awakened by Ann to see the Eagles fly over the river and take in the stillness of the dawn. She nurtured an appreciation in nature, wildlife, and the environment far before it was trendy.

Family was very important to Ann, and she made a special effort to connect with her nieces, nephews, and cousins at reunions and other events. She was the keeper of the family history (and secrets!) after extensive study of the Morand and Niedzielski genealogy. Ann was the first to start the Mucket game, which became a family tradition at reunions.

Ann was a lifelong learner, who completed college courses for fun and craved new experiences. Her warmth, open mindedness and appreciation for the world around her will be deeply missed. We can only hope she is now surrounded by pink flamingos, her favorite bird.

Ann was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth Lee Potts, her parents Walter and Marguerite (Morand) Niedzielski, and her brothers Raymond, Robert and James Niedzielski.

…Oh baby, baby It’s a wild world. And I’ll always remember you like a child, girl.