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Life Story / Obituary
Ever nurturing and gentle, Inez Stevens filled the lives of those she loved with unending memories. Inez treasured her family, and gave freely of her loving and kind nature. A woman who saw the good in everyone, Inez was an example of goodness. She truly exemplified what is means to be a devoted wife, dedicated mother, grandmother, sister, and friend.
Inez's story began during the height of the Great Depression. By 1930, the average American income was cut nearly in half, and America fell even deeper into the depths of hardship as countless families continued to lose their jobs, their homes, and dreams for the future. To keep spirits high, people did what they could to be happy. They filled their time enjoying board games, and picture shows took them away from everyday worries. Dancing to the sounds of the big bands was all the craze, and baseball became America's favorite pastime. In the small Minnesota community of Mahtowa, the days were made brighter for Ailie and Wilho Kalenius on June 24, 1930 when they welcomed the birth of their little girl, Inez.
Having been raised on the family dairy farm, Inez grew up alongside her siblings, Ellen, Ethel, Hazel, Arthur, and Florence and enjoyed many childhood adventures. She attended the local schools, and although she loved riding to school, she always enjoyed walking through the beautiful pastures and appreciated the serenity of the woods. Snowshoeing was a common way of getting around through the deep, Minnesota snow, and during the months of winter she quite often snowshoed to her bus stop, and recesses were often spent ice skating.
Inez had plenty of chores around the farm, and one included bringing in the cows for milking. Throughout her youth, she savored many childhood activities. As a young girl she enjoyed making fudge when her mother went to town, and times spent with her brother, Arthur made for the greatest of memories.
At age 5, on her first day of school, Inez was afraid she was not "tall" enough to attend the "High" School which housed grades K-12. While attending Barnum High School, Inez was outgoing and a well liked girl. She became an honor student, and served as class president. She also served on the yearbook staff, which fit right in with her love for writing and poetry. Avid supporters of their school, Inez and her sister, Florence had a way of singing, and quite loudly, their school song, "O Barnum High, our colors fly . . . ".
Even though Inez had hopes of attending college after graduating from Barnum High School, it was in 1949 when she ventured out on her own. She moved to Lansing, Michigan where she lived with her sister, Ethel and her husband, Brownie. It was an exciting time for Inez, especially when her brother-in-law, Brownie introduced her to Harold "Steve" Stevens. Quite smitten from the start, the young couple began dating and soon fell deeply in love. On April 2, 1951, they shared vows of marriage before family and friends in what would become 63 wonderful years together. Through life's greatest joys and some down points in between, Harold and Inez created a life together full of unending love and care.
Before long, Inez and Harold began a family to call their own and went on to love and cherish the blessing of four beautiful daughters, Cindy, Karen, Maureen and Melinda. Inez made a good home for Harold and their family, and great memories were made together. She loved birthday celebrations, family picnics and times spent celebrating Christmas in Minnesota with family. They also enjoyed times away visiting close as well as extended family members in Alaska, California, Florida, and North Carolina.
Inez's creative side found her enjoying many arts and crafts with her girls. She also taught them how to sew and cook. Throughout their formative years, Inez instilled in her daughters independence. She took an active role in the lives of her children, and when grandchildren eventually came along, she was an encouragement to them, as well. She loved playing and baking with them, and enjoyed attending their recitals and many sporting events. Since she was a young woman, it was Inez's desire to attend college, and after her girls were grown with lives of their own, she did so with the support of her husband and family.
Inez enjoyed a special relationship with all of her family. She truly loved her sisters and sisters-in-law, and whenever they were together, they often talked and giggled well into the late hours. Throughout her life, Inez loved to read. She also continued her love of baking, especially Christmas cookies; holiday gatherings and special vacations with those she loved. She served as a Campfire leader, and enjoyed camping trips with her family, too. Through the years she continued her love for the outdoors which often included hiking and cross-country skiing. She snowshoed and gardened, but was always afraid of heights. Whenever she had the opportunity to do so, Inez loved attending concerts of the Detroit Symphony and going to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Most of all, Inez loved quilting and leaves behind many to be forever cherished.
Accepting of all who came within her reach, Inez Stevens was an especially patient and kind woman. She gave of her time and talents freely, and with her gentle, sweet nature, she enlightened all who enjoyed her company. With ways all her own, she touched and loved others, and will remain a special part of all that is in the hearts of those who loved and admired her.
At the age of 84, Inez Stevens, of Livonia, died on Thursday, November 13, 2014. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Harold; her sister, Florence; her daughters, Cindy, Karen, Maureen, and Melinda; sons-in-law, Cas, John, Paul, and James; ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Friends may meet with Inez's family on Sunday, November 16, 2014 from 2-6 PM at the Turowski Life Story Funeral Home - Livonia west of Middlebelt, 30200 Five Mile Road, Livonia, MI 48154. The service to celebrate Inez's life will be held Monday, November 17, 2014, 10:00 AM at the same location. To share a favorite memory or photo of Inez and to sign her online guest book, please visit turowskilifestory.com.