Life Story / Obituary
As her family and friends can surely attest, Joan Sellman truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength for those around her, even in the most difficult of times. Joan was a shining example of kindness and charity, touching the lives of so many who were near. Her life was built on the firm foundation of faith, and she was never afraid to work hard in order to provide for her loved ones. Joan’s highest priority in life was fostering deep and personal relationships with her friends and family members. A proud mother and sister, she was overjoyed to watch her family tree blossom to include so many loved ones. Deeply loved, Joan will be forever missed by those who knew her best.
With the end of WWII in 1945, America was making the shift to being a nation at peace once again. Rationing had become a thing of the past, and the baby boom was underway. Amidst this transitional time was a time of great joy in the lives of Rudolph and Ruth (Nelson) Benander as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Joan Elaine on February 19, 1948, in Rockford, Illinois.
Growing up, Joan was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home alongside her three sisters, Carole, Anna Marie, and Joyce. Joan grew to form close bonds with her sisters, and though the siblings would sometimes have their moments they were always able to be there for each other when it truly mattered. At one point, Joan and Joyce pierced each other’s ears themselves. Since the sisters were quite far apart in age they weren’t very close as children, but in adulthood they grew to be very good friends. Throughout Joan’s childhood, the Benander family attended Salem Lutheran Church in Rockford, Illinois.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Joan as she met the man who would soon become her husband. His name was Charles Sellman, better known as Alan to those who knew him. The two first met while Alan was serving as an intern pastor who was also finishing seminary in South Carolina. Joan and Alan were married on July 27, 1968, then settled into a home in Pomeria, South Carolina, to serve at St. Matthew Church. While living in Pomeria, they were overjoyed to welcome the first two of their children, Charles and Sharon, into their hearts and home. In 1980, the Sellmans moved to Charlotte, Michigan, where their third child, Jennifer, joined the family. Though Joan and Alan ended their marriage with a divorce in 2000, she was always grateful for the years and the children they shared together.
All who knew Joan would say that it was easy to see that she treasured her family above all else. She thrived in her role as a mother and took her responsibilities very seriously. Joan did her best to raise her children into kind and hardworking individuals. Later in life she was thrilled to become a grandmother and took a deep interest in her grandchildren, doting on them whenever she could. Joan loved to spend time with her grandchildren and often took them swimming or to the beach. She was also very proud of her beloved nieces and nephews, remembering every birthday. For many years she would visit her family in Rockford every Thanksgiving. Joan forever considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many dearly loved ones.
Never one to sit still for long, Joan pursued many hobbies to stay busy. In order to provide for herself and others, she worked at Lacks Industries from 1995 to 2008. Joan took great pride in her Swedish heritage, even taking a two-week trip with her mother to visit Sweden. She was a faithful member of Trinity Lutheran Church. In her free time, Joan enjoyed reading fiction, especially romance novels by Nora Roberts, and watching HGTV. She loved camping at Muskegon State Park and spending time at Lake Michigan. Joan also liked Sudoku puzzles and music from the Beach Boys.
When reflecting on the life of Joan Sellman, it is easy to see her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She was well known for her sense of humor and quick wit, and she had a genuine love for people and serving others. Joan poured her heart and soul into everything that she did, a true inspiration to all who were near. Nothing brought her greater joy than spending time with her friends and family members, and she always made sure that they knew just how much they were loved. Though she will be deeply missed, Joan leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
Life Notes – Joan Elaine (Benander) Sellman
SELLMAN, Joan E.
Cedar Springs, MI
Age 74, passed away June 24, 2022 at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital. Joan was born February 19, 1948 in Rockford, IL to the late Rudolph and Ruth (Nelson) Benander. She was also preceded in death by her aunt, Ruth Benander; and brother-in-law, Greg Callsvik. Joan was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church. She loved to read, but her main passion was for her family and grandchildren. She will be missed by her children, Charles Sellman, Sharon (Lavell) Fourcha, Jennifer (Dennis) Brown; grandchildren, Brendan, Kayla, Jordan, Lincoln, Mollie, and Brianda. She was also survived by her sisters, Carole (Arland) Hultgren, Anna Marie (Tom) Warren, Joyce Callsvik; and several nieces and nephews. According to her wishes, cremation has taken place.