Life Story / Obituary
Joan Beebe was an exceptionally loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. A caring nurturer, she cherished her years as a mother and was delighted with the arrival of her grandchildren. Joan was an avid crafter and gardener, as well as an accomplished artist. Her warm personality, genuine friendship, and loving ways will be deeply cherished by her many special friends and loved ones.
The 1930s were significantly impacted by the effects of the Great Depression. Banks were still closed but there was a promise of a new election year awaiting. During the middle of one of the toughest decades in American history, Melvin Robert and Josephine (Bommelje) Stuit welcomed home the arrival of their newborn daughter, Joan Lorraine, on May 4, 1931, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her birth brought great joy to her parents and she was later followed by her younger brothers, Robert and Ronald.
The Stuits made their home on Hoover Street. Joan’s grandfather lived with the family until he passed away when she was twelve years old. The family attended Fourth Reformed Church where all the children were baptized. Joan made Profession of Faith when she was 16 years old and always fondly recalled the Sunday dresses her mother sewed for her. Joan and her brothers were very close and enjoyed swimming in the summer months and ice skating together in the winter. When her younger brother Ronald was six years old, he was bedridden with rheumatic fever, forcing the family to move to warmer weather in Hollywood, FL. Ron did make a full recovery and after 16 months, they returned to Michigan. Growing up, Joan was especially close with her cousin, Dorothy. The two of them enjoyed summers together at the family cottage on Whitefish Lake. They were like sisters and entertained others performing duets together on the piano. The family also spent many happy times at their cottage in Tustin, MI.
A good student who loved to read, Joan attended Palmer and Fairmount Elementary and graduated with the Class of 1949 from Creston High. She still met her high school friends for lunch up until recent months. In high school, she was involved in drama and the school newspaper and her favorite subject was English. After graduation, she completed one year at Western Michigan College where she would meet the man who became her husband, Max Beebe. He was the friend of the young fellow who was dating her roommate. They enjoyed double-dates to the beach and the movie theater. Later joining in marriage, they raised three children; Paul, Mark, and Lynn. She and Max made their family home on Elmwood Ave NE before later moving to Emerald NE.
Joan cherished her years as a wonderful homemaker. She was a fabulous cook and baker and her famous sugar cookies were always a favorite request from her grandchildren! An exciting time for the Beebes was when Max’s job at American Seating relocated them to Windsor, CT. They enjoyed their time in Connecticut, but their love of Michigan brought them back to Lowell where they purchased a beautiful 15 acre home and property. The home sat on an apple orchard with a winding creek in the back where all the grandkids loved to play and go for tractor rides. She thoroughly enjoyed spending time with and visiting her grandchildren and always delighted to share in their many successes over the years, including the births of her 11 great-grandchildren. She made many trips out East to visit her son and daughter and their families. Those visits held very special memories for her. She also enjoyed vacations to Ireland and Russia with her children. For the past 18 years, Joan made her home at Covenant Living of the Great Lakes. Social by nature, she enjoyed spending time with friends and playing Bridge. Joan never missed a family birthday party! Spending time with her family was her most beloved pastime.
Over the course of her lifetime, Joan was a cheerful giver of her time and talents. A longtime member of Second Congregational Church, she was active in Bible Study, Women’s Fellowship Guild, the Second-Best Sale, and often prepared and served dishes for funeral luncheons. Joan also volunteered for many years with the Arthritis Foundation. Like so many others, Joan faced many challenges in her life. For the last 41 years, after conquering hers, she became a trusted mentor and sponsor to those who struggled to overcome their shared burdens. Joan experienced her greatest sense of peace in walking with the Lord in her Christian faith. She modeled a beautiful example of accepting all people with care and compassion. She was a special person to know and to love. Undoubtedly, Joan will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by her many special friends and loved ones.
Joan L. Beebe, age 89, of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed away on May 28, 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband, Max Beebe; brother, Ronald Stuit; and lifelong friends, Bill and Lois Viergever. Joan will be lovingly remembered by her children, Paul and Marti Beebe of Hudsonville, Dr. Mark Beebe and Mary Warner of New Haven, CT and Lynn Beebe (Larry Davis) of South Royalton, VT; her beloved grandchildren, Rachel and James VanDyken (Katelynn, Anna, Elyse), Sara and Shawn Soudek (Alayna and Adalyn), Matthew Beebe (Lukas), Leah and Aaron Dozeman (Cameron, Tessa, Nora), Hannah Beebe, Charlotte Beebe, Phillip Dow, Ben Dow and Danielle and Nick Bresette (Autumn and Vincent). Also surviving are her brother, Robert Stuit; sister-in-law, Donna Stuit; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Donald and Sandra Beebe; and many nieces and nephews. A celebration of Joan's life will take place later this summer. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a favorite memory, photo, or to sign the guestbook.