Betty Jane (Gray) McKouen

Lansing, Delta Township

Angels do walk on earth for our mother was one. We were truly blessed to have her as our mother. At age 92, mom left us to join her husband and family on May 16, 2016. Born on Leap Year Day, February 29th, she only had a real birthday every four years. She was preceded in death by her husband of 69 years, Gerald F. “Jerry” McKouen; her parents, John M. Gray of Manchester, England; Katherine M. (Bequist) Gray of North Manitou Island, MI; and her sister, Eileen Knapp. She is survived by her son, Gerald L. (Billie) McKouen; her daughter, Patricia McKouen; (5) grandchildren: Michael Kirchen, Jr., Jon (Heather) Kirchen, Bradley (Nancy) McKouen, Thomas (Sara) McKouen, and Brian McKouen; (7) great-grandchildren; and nephew, Gary L. Knapp.

The only pet she had as a child was a bunny (Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail Gray). In later years, real bunnies played an important part of her life as she would watch them play in her back yard. She collected bunnies made of all types of materials and to many, she became known as the “Bunny Lady.”

While attending West Junior High School, she received “The American Legion Certificate of School Award.” She graduated from Lansing Central High School in June, 1941 as Class Valedictorian and also earned the Commercial and English Awards. She was a member of the National Honor Society and was Editor of their yearbook, “The Oracle.” She loved being surrounded by books and first worked at the “Old Central” Andrew Carnegie Library as secretary to the Head Librarian, E. Jennie McNeal. She also worked at Oldsmobile in the Time Study Department.

She was den mother for her son’s Cub Scout Troop; a leader for her daughter’s Brownie Troop and was often “volunteered” for room mother duties at her children’s grade school. She was an avid collector of Lansing history, books (especially poetry) and genealogy. She was a lifetime member of the Lansing Historical Society, a member of Beta Sigma Phi for 50 years, and a member of the Mar-Moor Garden Club. She loved playing the piano. Her hobbies included Lansing history, crossword puzzles, poetry, antiquing, scrapbooks, and clipping articles and cartoons to give to family and friends. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was fortunate to have caring friends and neighbors wherever she lived.

Her favorite quote was from ‘The Book of Life’ – “And what is as important as Knowledge?” asked the Mind. “Caring and Seeing with the Heart” answered the Soul. She lived her life by that quote. Always searching for knowledge, her family and friends knew her ‘soul’ through the heartfelt caring she always gave them.

Private services will be held for the family with interment at Deepdale Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory can be made to the Capital Area Humane Society, 7095 W. Grand River, Lansing, MI 48906, or to the Historical Society of Greater Lansing, P.O. Box 2095, Lansing, MI 48901. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at

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Gene and Kathy Hengesbach
May 22, 2016 at 9:08 pm

We remember Betty fondly from out times in the antique business. She not only loved history but the artifacts that tell their story. Betty and her family are in our thoughts and prayers.


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