Life Story / Obituary
A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Barbara Suzanne Boyce lived a life rich in faith and family. Selfless in every way, Barbara was quick to give of herself in support of those she loved. With tremendous grace, she lived a heart-centered life. Her greatest joy was knowing that her loved ones were well, and she was an unwavering stand for children and grandchildren. Generous, kind, and loving, Barbara was a powerful role model and matriarch. She greeted each day as a gift and every person with warmth. Cherished by all who were blessed to know her, Barbara will long be remembered and deeply missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the growing conflict in Europe, 1939 held much to celebrate, including the end of the Great Depression, the premieres of the classic film Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, regular television began to broadcast nationwide, and The World's Fair in New York. As the US actively armed up for war, families continued to center their lives in love and hope for a brighter future. Nowhere was that hope more evident than in Grand Rapids, MI, where Minor and Suzanne (Milanowski) Penning welcomed their daughter Barbara to their family on April 21.
Though Barb had an older brother, Gordon, he died shortly after being born. As a result, Barb grew up an only child. Her father was a printer at Michigan Litho, and her mother worked at Basch Jewelers on Monroe Street. The family lived at 1801 Hillmont in Grand Rapids, and their family life was rooted in their Catholic faith. Barb began her schooling at St. Adalbert School. She then attended West Catholic School and graduated from Catholic Central High School with the class of 1957.
During her Junior year of high school, Barb came to meet her classmate, Robert Boyce Jr., during History class. The pair quickly became a couple and courted for five years. When Bob was ready to propose, he went to Basch Jewelers, where Barb's mom worked. She helped him purchase a ring and gave him a good deal on it. Barb and Bob were married on June 17, 1961, at Holy Spirit Church. Following their wedding reception at a Polish Hall on Diamond Street, they honeymooned to Niagara Falls.
The newlyweds first made their home in an apartment on Woodworth Street. In time, they began their family and moved to Barbara Street in 1963. Blessed to welcome six sons and a daughter to their family, Barb centered her life around creating a loving and supportive home. She and Bob built the foundation of their family upon their Catholic faith and attended Saturday night mass at Holy Trinity Church. Barb relished in motherhood and made every effort to meet her children's needs. Without complaint, she adjusted her own needs to ensure that each of her children had all that they needed and could fully pursue their interests with success. She patiently helped with homework, taxied them wherever they needed to go, cheered on their every endeavor. Absent a single mean bone in her body; Barb parented with kindness and unconditional love.
As her children grew older, Barb went to work as a baker. She first worked at Duncan Donuts then she worked second shift at Meijer to accommodate her family's needs. Not only was Barb willing to work hard to care for her family, but she also ensured that they experienced the value of vacations. The family enjoyed camping throughout Northern Michigan, Cadillac and Black Lake were some of their favorite places to camp. They took a memorable trip pulling a pop-up camper to the Great Smoky Mountains and Mammoth Cave.
Once her children grew into adulthood and began families of their own, Barb embraced her role of grandmother with great joy. She was enormously proud of her grandchildren and loved sharing every possible moment with them. She never missed an important function and celebrated each of their accomplishments with love and pride. Birthdays and holidays were always special. Barb continued to role model the principles upon which she lived her entire life for her grandchildren. She practiced her faith, worked hard, embraced others with love, and shared her abundance. Whether taking her grandchildren to Walker St. Pharmacy to acquire the latest Beanie Baby, buying the newest DVD's on Tuesdays, or helping her entire family stock up on things they didn't need, Barb always led with her heart.
For Barb, every day was a blessing and an opportunity to shower the people she loved with kindness. She spoiled everyone she came in contact with. Her family, her neighbors, her coworkers, and her church fellowship were enveloped in her love, generosity, and faith. As humble as she was kind, Barb enjoyed her cats, country music, soap operas, and shopping. She also loved gossip magazines, and always bought two of each so she could share with her family. She made a tradition of buying treats or packing sugar cookies in a tin to take to Bob's shop, and later in life attended 7 AM mass on Sundays at St. Alphonsus Church.
Barb resided at Edison Christian Health Center for almost a year before returning home for the last time.
Without a doubt, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Barb's steadfast love and support. The very heart of her family, she embodied the principles of her faith. In doing so, she was a natural teacher and an inspiration. She taught each of us by example how to live a wholehearted life. Truly an angel on Earth, Barb's legacy will continue to live on in the hearts and lives of those she loved so well.
Barbara S. Boyce, of Walker, Michigan, age 81, passed away May 16, 2020, at home with her family by her side. She was also preceded in death by her brother, Gordon Penning. Barbara was a member of St. Alphonsus Parish and will be remembered for her loving devotion to her family. She is survived by her husband of 59 years, Robert Boyce; children, Douglas (Robin) Boyce of Walker, Deborah (Robert) Taylor of Marne, Robert (Mary) Boyce of St. Joseph, Michael (Jodi) Boyce of Grand Rapids, David (Loraine) Boyce of Belmont, Thomas (Tanya) Boyce of Sparta, James (Shannon) Boyce of Walker; grandchildren, Andrew, Sarah, Sara, Stephanie, Megan, Josh, Benjamin, Ana, Jessica, Avery, Patrick, Anthony, Barbara, Amber, Austin, Naomi, Shae, Cecelia, Brennan; 4 great-grandchildren; and sister-in-law, Mary Brown of Marne. A private family service will be held at a later date.