Vivian Lucille, "Lou" Liebetrau, 94, of Niles, passed away peacefully at Lakeland Hospital of Niles, on Sunday, June 26, 2022.
"Lou", to whom she was known by most, was born in South Bend, to the late Chester and Julie (Jacobs) Perkey. After a re-introduction to a childhood acquaintance, orchestrated by who later would become her mother-in-law, Lou fell in love with, and married William P. "Bill" Liebetrau of Niles, at the First Church of the Brethren, in South Bend, on October 12, 1946.
With a heart of gold and a gentle spirit, Lou was able to connect, care for, and give guidance to all of those who had the opportunity of knowing her. As a mother of seven, a grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother of far too many to enumerate. Lou understood the power and meaning of family, and what it took to leave a legacy that will be remembered for generations to come. Lou lived a life that was greatly spent putting others before herself, especially when it related to children. Lou operated a daycare out of her home for more than thirty years, nurturing generations of children and leaving a lasting impression on all who affectionately referred to her as "Aunt Lou", Grandma, or "Little Grandma”.
Lou was able to engage with others through her passion for music and dancing. For years, she and her late husband Bill, of almost 60 years, were admired for their impressive skills on the dance floor. Their family was often delighted to witness their spontaneous dancing wherever their surroundings, be it in their living room, a public venue, or anyplace else that offered enough space for them to move their feet. They never missed an opportunity to "trip the light fantastic"! Towards the end of Lou's life, music was able to brighten her spirits, and provide a little entertainment for those who were fortunate enough to see her dance.
Lou's delicious alternate form of connecting with strangers, friends, and loved ones was through her memorable cooking skills. She enjoyed hosting holidays and other events where no one left without a full belly and a lipstick imprint on the cheek! Lou was probably most famous, for her cheesecake pie and anise cut out cookies! In later years Lou found so much enjoyment in preparing meals, that she began writing a regular food column for the local paper, and her ideas, methods, and recipes were appreciated throughout the Niles community for years.
She was a very generous person who gave her time freely for causes she believed in. She, along with the help of businesses and members of the community, spent countless hours planning, raising funds for, and putting together the Veterans War Memorial in Niles. Lou had a heartfelt appreciation for the veterans, and for the sacrifices they made, and took it upon herself to ensure that all of those who served, were respected, and remembered.
On those rare occasions when Lou took time for herself it was usually spent attending to one of her numerous flower gardens, snuggling up with a book, playing canasta, or pouring her heart into animals. Lou served as a perfect example of what it means to be selfless and all of those who had the benefit and pleasure of knowing and being loved by her, will cherish her memory forever.
Lou is survived by her children, Linda (Chuck) Shemes of Grand Blanc, Robert Liebetrau of Niles, Randy Liebetrau of Granger, Wendi (Doug) Mills of Niles, Heidi Guy of Niles, Judi (Mark) Price of Buchanan; daughter-in-law, Debra Liebetrau of Granger; as well as a vast amount of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren!
Those who have preceded Lou in death are her parents, Chester and Julie Perkey; parents-in-law, Ernst and Gladys (Powell) Liebetrau; her husband, William P. "Bill" Liebetrau; her eldest son, William K. “Bill” Liebetrau; grandson, Bryan A. Czarnecki-Liebetrau; and great-grandson, Gabriel Liebetrau.
A public graveside memorial service for Lou will take place at Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles, on Friday, July 8, 2022. Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will be open until the service starts at 11:00 a.m.
Memorial contributions may be made out to Riley’s Children’s Foundation or the Berrien County Humane Society.