Mary Elizabeth Van Camp, the daughter of Dr. Elijah and Bessie (Gates) Van Camp, died Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Rose Arbor Hospice Residence in Kalamazoo, MI. She was born November 16, 1920 in Battle Creek, Michigan, where she lived her entire life.
Mary attended Albion College for 3 Â½ years but withdrew from school in her senior year because of the unexpected death of her older sister Edith, who left four small children ages 6 months to 7 years. Two of the children, Joan, age 5, and Judy, age 3, came to live with their grandparents. Mary went home to help raise them. Joan and Judy recall that Mary always made them a priority and planned fun outings for them.
Mary was a gifted artist and musician. Judy referred to her as the most talented person she has ever known, stating that listening to her play gave her a lifelong appreciation of piano music, especially Chopin.
Despite leaving college early, Mary went on to have a successful career at Michigan Bell Telephone from 1940 to 1983 . Her niece, Vicky, describes her as "an amazing role model, illustrating to us, at a young age, that a woman could have a career that allowed for advancement; a particularly important lesson for girls who were born in the 40s and 50s."
Mary has contributed much to the community, especially to her church, the arts, and various animal welfare organizations.
She is survived by 11 much-loved nieces and nephews and their families. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Edith, her four brothers, Lawrence, Wesley, Harold, and George, and her nephew, Phil. Phil's daughters recall how much he had admired her.
A memorial service is planned for Friday, November 11 at 1:30 PM at the First United Methodist Church of Battle Creek. She has been buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery along with her parents and her longtime companion, Evelyn "Teddy" Zeedyk.