Visitation from 10AM until the start of the service.
Life Story / Obituary
As her family and friends can surely attest, Joanne Krueger Otten-Poskey truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength and encouragement for all those around her, even in the most difficult of times. Joanne was always willing to extend a helping hand to others, and she poured her heart and soul into all that she did. A proud wife, mother, and grandmother, she was overjoyed to watch her family tree grow to include so many beloved members. Forever loved, Joanne will be deeply missed by those who knew her best.
Born during the dark days of the Great Depression, Joanne brought a spark of light into the lives of her parents, LeRoy and Lenore (Dittmar) Ballman, when she was born on September 19, 1934, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Growing up, Joanne was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home alongside her two younger sisters, Carol and Kathleen. Joanne’s father supported the family by working as a mason, but during the Great Depression he delivered milk with Gehl Dairy instead. Meanwhile, her mother worked as a secretary at the Milwaukee Conservatory. Joanne grew to be very strong in her faith at a young age. She and her family were members of a Gospel Lutheran-Missouri Synod church, and the children and the parents sang in the choirs. Joanne was also blessed to receive music lessons at the Milwaukee Conservatory, where her mother worked.
While pursuing her education, Joanne attended local schools, including Gospel Lutheran Grade School and Milwaukee Lutheran High School. She balanced her education with her various activities, such as singing in the high school choir and an a capella choir outside of school. Joanne was very musically talented as well as an accomplished piano player and choral singer. Joanne studied at the Conservatory and had perfect pitch. Always liked by all, she even became the homecoming queen.
Following her graduation from Milwaukee Lutheran High School in 1952, Joanne went on to enter a three-year program at Milwaukee Hospital in order to pursue a degree in registered nursing. Her father wasn’t too happy with this decision because she didn’t receive a salary for the work she did in the hospital—instead, he had to pay them.
It was during her time in the nursing school that Joanne met the man who would soon become her husband. His name was Arthur Krueger, and he was attending the local seminary. The two first connected while singing in the a capella choir together. Art would give Joanne a ride home each Wednesday night, which she quickly grew to look forward to. They began dating, and over time their relationship blossomed into something truly wonderful. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Joanne and Art were married in Milwaukee on August 12, 1956. The newlyweds enjoyed a honeymoon in Niagara Falls, then moved to St. Louis to complete Art’s seminary.
All who knew Joanne can certainly agree that, of all the things she loved in life, she treasured her family above all else. Throughout their years together, she and Art were overjoyed to welcome their five beloved children into their hearts and home. Steven joined the family in 1957, followed by Karen in 1958, Christine in 1960, Arthur in 1966, and finally Kathleen in 1968. Joanne truly thrived in her role as a mother, and she always stressed how important it was to eat dinner as a family. Joanne’s husband followed a calling to pastor 2 small churches in Chillicothe, Ohio. After three years, the family then moved to Seymour, Indiana where Art pastored Zion Lutheran Church for six years. In 1966, her family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where Art pastored Mt. Olive Lutheran Church for 25 years.
After Art passed away, Joanne met and married Reverend Philip Otten in 1993. Joanne and Phil enjoyed 6 happy years of marriage, traveling the world together. Unfortunately, Phil passed away in 1999. In 2004, love struck again and she went on to marry Henry “Bud” Poskey. Joanne would always say that she was blessed to have loved and been loved by three wonderful husbands: Art gave her the gift of children, Phil gave her the gift of travel, and Bud gave her the gift of companionship. Later in life, Joanne was thrilled to become a grandmother and even a great-grandmother. She adored her grandchildren and enjoyed spending quality time teaching them how to oil paint or sew. Joanne was always grateful to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Joanne worked at Mary Free Bed Rehab Hospital as a Nursing Supervisor for 19 years. With encouragement by valued leadership, she also went back to school and worked hard to earn her BSN, graduating in 1983 from Nazareth College in Kalamazoo. As a pastor’s wife, Joanne was very active in the church, playing organ and directing choir. She was also a private piano and organ instructor for many years. Joanne loved to serve others through both her career and her volunteer work at her church home.
Never one to sit still for long, Joanne pursued many hobbies to make the most of her free time. She had a passion for creative arts and loved oil painting, sewing, quilting and classical music. Joanne liked to garden, and she enjoyed canning produce and making her famous salsa. While raising their five children, Joanne loved taking various family vacations throughout the country in their pop-up camper. Traveling became an opportunity for teachable moments for her kids. The family also enjoyed spending a month each summer at the family cottage on Long Lake near Alpena. Later in life, she was an involved member of her book club who loved reading historical novels. Joanne was a season ticket holder of both the Grand Rapids Symphony and Civic Theater. Though she began to struggle with her health in later years, she never lost her drive or her passion for the things she loved.
When reflecting on the life of Joanne Krueger Otten-Poskey, it is easy to see her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She was well known for both her solid work ethic and her heart of service. Nothing brought Joanne greater joy than spending time with her family and friends and as they were her richest blessing. She was never afraid to chase after her dreams and pursue success in all that she did. Though she will be dearly missed, Joanne leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
Joanne Krueger Otten-Poskey age 87, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Sunday September 4, 2022. She outlived her husbands, Rev. Arthur C. Krueger, Rev. Philip M. Otten and Henry “Bud” Poskey; and Phil’s sons, Stephen K Otten and Thomas D Otten. Joanne is survived by her children, Steven Krueger, Karen (Bill) Waldhart, Christine (Bob) Worpel, Arthur (Barb) Krueger and Kathleen (Carl) Genson; Philip’s children, Jeff Otten, Heidi (Wade) Peterson and Kyle (Robin) Otten; 23 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; sisters, Carol Ballmann and Kathleen (Keith) Tracy and several nieces and nephews. Joanne worked as a Nursing Supervisor at Mary Free Bed Rehab Hospital for 19 years and was a very active member at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church as organist and choir director and an avid artist. The Funeral Service will be held at 11 AM on Friday September 9, 2022 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt and Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. The family will receive visitors from 4-7 PM on Thursday at the funeral home and on Friday one hour prior to the service. Interment in Rosedale Memorial Park. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Orphan Grain Train. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read her life story, submit a favorite memory, photo or sign the guestbook.