Noreen Rena (Stanton) Reardon, 76, passed away on Wednesday, October 20, 2021. Her passing was unexpected, due to complications from a recent surgical procedure. She was born on February 28, 1945, to Walter and Berenice Stanton in Detroit, Michigan.
She grew up on a farm near Saginaw and graduated from Saginaw High in 1962, where she learned German, played the drums, and provided illustrations for the high school yearbook. She went on to graduate from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Political Science. She was a passionate public servant working in numerous roles in both social work and education. Early on, she worked on a senior services program on the east side of Detroit and was working at the Social Services Department for the State of Michigan in central Detroit, when she met her husband of 30 years, Patrick. Together, they were very active in the civil rights movement and traveled twice to Washington, DC, to protest the inauguration of Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War. They married on December 20, 1969, and later moved to Kalamazoo, where Noreen became an active and devoted member of the community. She worked for Kalamazoo County and Western Michigan University in the human resources and personnel departments, at Kalamazoo Valley Community College as a training coordinator, and later with Kalamazoo County’s Community Services Department, where she supervised the delivery of social services including Head Start programming.
Noreen loved to teach, and often taught as a substitute teacher. She worked as a reading tutor for young children, and for several years, taught English as a second language to recent immigrants. She loved getting to know her students and their families and providing them support in whatever way she could. She was an active volunteer with the Democratic Party and worked to get out the vote each election. She loved her books: murder mysteries, true crime, current events, and Irish culture and political history. She loved to draw and sketch the world around her and the things and people in it that she loved. She loved spending time at Lake Michigan, enjoyed visiting her sister in Traverse City, and attending the Barn Theatre and Kalamazoo Art Hop with her good friend Marti Perry. She enthusiastically maintained relationships with her Canadian cousins and other family. She was passionate about politics and stayed abreast of world events. She viewed herself as a citizen of the world, and cared very deeply about human rights, the importance of science, and education, all values she passed on to her children. She felt injustices deeply and personally. Following the 2015 massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina, she was moved to place a bouquet of flowers on the steps of Kalamazoo’s Allen Chapel AME Church in sympathy.
Noreen was a true caregiver and one of the most generous people you could ever meet. She loved hosting her family for Christmas and could never wait for her family to open the gifts she had bought them, often handing them to you as you walked in the door. Her loved ones remember her as: welcoming, compassionate, enthusiastic, sweet, strong, and courageous. She stood up for what was right and was person of true integrity. Most of all, she cared about her family and loved her children and grandchildren with all her heart.
Noreen is survived by Patrick and their children, Kathryn (Jason) Richards, John “Jack” (Laura) Reardon; her two beloved granddaughters Imogene and Elyse Richards; two sisters, Sandra (Peter) Nesteroke and Karen Bruce; and her late brother’s wife Shirley Stanton, nephew Brian (Angie) Stanton and their children, Katelyn and Zack. She is preceded in death by her parents and brother Leslie Stanton and sister JoAnne Stanton.
In accordance with Noreen’s wishes, cremation has taken place. A public memorial service will take place on Saturday, December 4, 2021, at Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society, 5975 Lovers Ln, Portage, MI 49002, with an hour of visitation beginning at 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at 11:00 a.m. with Reverend Rachel Lonberg officiating. Health precautions will be taken, and guests are requested to kindly wear a mask. Noreen would have asked that you be vaccinated as well.
Memorial contributions may be directed to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes and Southern Poverty Law Center, envelopes will be available at the funeral home.
While visiting Noreen’s tribute page please take a moment to light a candle or share a memory with the family. The Reardon family is being assisted by Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society, 269-679-5622.