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Elisabeth Cerda

Elisabeth Cerda (Betty), of Kalamazoo passed away on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at the age of 93. She was born in Steyr, Austria, on May 9, 1926 as the only child of Franz and Maria (Kleine) Sindelar and spent the WWII years in Austria, finishing high school there. In 1945, at the end of the war, Steyr was first occupied by Russian and then by US Forces. Betty worked as an interpreter and translator for the American Forces which occupied her hometown. There she met PFC. Otto J. Cerda. They were engaged the following year and she immigrated to the United States under the War Brides Act in 1947. On August 2, 1947 they were united in marriage in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1951, the Cerda’s moved to the Portage area where they lived for the next 62 years before moving to Wyndham at the Heritage Community in Kalamazoo. Betty studied one year at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and finished her education at Western Michigan University in 1961 with a BA and MS in chemistry. She was employed by the Upjohn Company as an organic chemist and computer scientist until her retirement in 1987 after 32 years of service with the company. Betty was a member of the American Chemical Society, the Association of Computing Machinery, the Upjohn Rx Divers, SCUBA Club and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Betty enjoyed many hobbies. She was an outdoor person and with her husband loved to travel, returning annually to Austria. They both liked camping, hiking and backpacking in the mountains of Austria and the Western USA. Gardening and swimming were her passions that lead to 30 years of SCUBA diving in many parts of the world. Betty was an accomplished and award winning photographer, above and below water. Another one of her loves was classical music, especially opera that brought her regularly to New York City and Chicago. Betty could never sit idle; she was always busy with sewing, knitting, crocheting and other crafts. She was an avid reader and wrote articles about her adventures. The computer was a big part of her life. Betty was preceded in death by her husband Otto, on August 13, 2019. They had been married for 72 years. She is survived by a step brother Kurt (Johanna) Kirchmayr in Weistrach, Austria. In the US her survivors are her niece and nephew Carol and John Perschbacher of Grandville MI, plus the extended Cerda Family. Memorial contributions can be made to Hospice of SW Michigan located at 222 N. Kalamazoo Mall Suite #100, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. The family is being cared for by the Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society, 129 S. Grand Schoolcraft, MI 49087 (269-679-5622). While at Betty’s webpage at www.avinkcremation.com please take time to sign her guestbook by lighting a candle and/or sharing a memory with the family.

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I had the privilege of caring for her. I learned a lot from her. She was a special lady.

Alisha Turner May 15 2020 1:32 PM

2 files added to the album Memories Album

larry and missy May 8 2020 9:12 AM

I have known Otto also known as John and Betty for years. They were wonderful people. I cherished their friendship. I first met Otto when we shared a class room at Vicksburg Schools,. I always enjoyed visiting them when they lived on Apple Street. Betty always wrote the most interesting Christmas letters. I always felt enriched by knowing them. Fred A. Snell

Fred A. Snell May 4 2020 10:53 AM

Betty and Otto were our neighbors on Applecroft for about 12 years. They were both wonderful, friendly people. We remember hearing the opera music playing as they were working outdoors in the gardens or sitting by the pool. We loved keeping in touch after we moved. They had so many interesting life stories to tell. May you and your family be blessed with many happy memories of both Betty and Otto. They are together again in heaven. With Deepest Sympathy. Larry and Missy Griffioen

Larry & Missy Griffioen May 3 2020 9:51 AM

I met Betty and Otto at The Sound Room in the early 70s, first in the service department where I worked the counter and then in sales when I moved there. They were great customers and great friends. Many times I delivered, set-up, repaired and installed equipment in their home on Applecroft. Often we sat at their dining room table to discuss our families, their lives and current events. We shared a lot of views in common. They knew my wife and sons and always asked about them. In 1980 I moved to Stereo Showcase and they continued to seek my advice and help. Betty's diving hobby always intrigued me and her love of opera was amazing. Some of the components in her last A/V system were installed by my son and I and she occasionally gifted us with her used components when she upgraded. I still listen to her B & O turntable and ADS 710 speakers every day. I will never forget Betty and Otto. Her birthday was the same as my wife's and she was born the same year as both of my parents. Our condolences to the family. They were a great couple. Jim and Martha Coash

James R Coash May 3 2020 9:25 AM

I always enjoyed looking at the underwater photo's Aunt Liz took and shared with family and friends. Liz and Otto were indeed world travelers and the Christmas letter's they shared were journalistic works of art. We'll miss her stories and talk about them when we think of Liz and Otto. RIP Uncle Otto and Aunt Liz

Thomas Topolski Apr 30 2020 6:22 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Elisabeth Cerda

Lori Bumgart Apr 30 2020 1:39 PM

Friends and Family uploaded 2 to the gallery.

Friends and Family Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM