Cover photo for Crystyl Arnita Rucker's Obituary
Crystyl Arnita Rucker Profile Photo
1951 Crystyl 2021

Crystyl Arnita Rucker

December 23, 1951 — October 17, 2021

Crystyl Arnita Rucker was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 23, 1951. She is the daughter of Amos and Agnes Rucker. She was a 1970 graduate of John J. Pershing High School. She attended Michigan State University and received her Bachelors Degree and Masters Degree in Education.

She moved to Battle Creek, Michigan to begin her teaching career in 1974 at Northwestern Junior High School, where she taught seventh and eighth grade Journalism and English. Affectionately known as "Ma Ruck" at Northwestern, she was both fierce and hilarious. She ruled her classroom and the hallways with both a heavy disciplinary hand, as well as a light loving touch. She believed in connecting with each student to push his or her academic and personal potential, while having lots of fun. Outside of Northwestern, she taught and mentored Battle Creek students in the "Dreamers" Program and spearheaded academic after-school and family scholarship programs at the Battle Creek YMCA. She retired from Battle Creek Public Schools in 2003.

In addition to teaching and leading young people, Crystyl enjoyed: gardening; literature, especially black authors and poets; worshipping at Washington Heights United Methodist Church; grilling and cooking for family and friends; rescuing Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs; flaunting her signature expressive, beautiful nails; growing into an avid wrestling, baseball, and football fan along with her son; Garfield comic strips and popcorn in class; and roller coasters. She was notorious for her love of Motown, funk, gospel, and classic R&B music. She also loved comedy and was quick to deliver a punchline on the phone or to a crowd. Most of all, she relentlessly loved her family and friends.

Crystyl leaves behind to cherish her memory her son, Bryce A. Rucker, of Detroit, Michigan; nephews Byron A. (Ruby) Paisley, of Romulus, Michigan and DeVuante L. Brown, of Highland Park, Michigan; and a host of cousins, nephews, nieces, great-nephews, great-nieces, and treasured friends. She was also blessed with a "Viking" family: from which she leaves behind numerous colleagues on the devoted and legendary faculty of Northwestern Junior High School, as well as thousands of former Northwestern students. She was driven and privileged by the opportunity to walk through life with this second family.

Crystyl was called to her heavenly home on the morning of October 17, 2021, a little more than two months shy of her 70th birthday. She was preceded in death by her parents, Amos and Agnes Rucker, her brother, Byron K. Rucker, and her special sister Sharon K. Gawlak.

Visitation will be held Thursday, November 4, 2021 at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home, 105 Capital Ave NE, Battle Creek, MI, from 6:00PM – 8:00 PM. Crystyl's Celebration of Life will be held at 12:00 PM on Friday, November 5, 2021 at First United Methodist Church, 111 East Michigan Ave., Battle Creek, MI, and officiated by Reverend Marshall Murphy, Jr. The celebration ceremony will continue with a Repass at 2:00 PM at Faith Assembly Christian Fellowship, 400 West Michigan Ave., Battle Creek, MI. Crystyl will be laid to final rest alongside her parents and brother at Memorial Gardens Cemetery, in Belleville, Michigan, at a small ceremony on Tuesday, November 9, 2021.

Memorial contributions may be made for the Crystyl A. Rucker Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship was instituted to continue Crystyl Rucker's legacy of nurturing Battle Creek Public School students to achieve educational excellence. To give directly online, please visit:

Crystyl was a pillar of the Battle Creek community, and in the lives of the many people who will miss her immeasurably.

Loving you forever and always. - Your Village

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, November 4, 2021

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care

105 Capital Ave NE, Battle Creek, MI 49017

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Celebration of Life

Friday, November 5, 2021

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

First United Methodist Church

111 E Michigan Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49017

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