Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Joyce Bolthouse

October 11, 1935 - August 19, 2022
Grand Rapids, MI


Graveside Service

Monday, August 22, 2022
1:00 PM EDT
Rosedale Memorial Park
0-50 Lake Michigan Dr. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
(616) 453-2411

Please bring a lawn chair


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Emmanuel Hospice
401 Hall St. SW, Suite 263
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 719-0919

Life Story / Obituary


Joyce Bolthouse was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. Active and independent throughout her life, she will forever be known for her genuine compassion for others. Joyce’s gentle wisdom and her legacy of graciousness will live on forever in the hearts of all who knew and loved her.

Her story begins in the 1930s, a time when there wasn’t much that was not affected by the Great Depression. There were few jobs and a soaring unemployment rate that left countless American families without homes. Despite these tough times, Joyce Elaine was born on October 11, 1935, in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Steven and Elizabeth Roberts. The oldest of four children, her birth brought much hope and happiness during a difficult time in history.

Growing up on the southwest side of town on Grandville Avenue, Joyce lived a typical childhood of the times. She attended local schools and graduated from South High School. Her work began as a dental assistant in her young adult years. Her life forever changed when she met Roger Nienhuis through his friend, Elmer Slaughter. Roger was a deputy in the Sheriff’s Department and after dating for a short time, he proposed. Their wedding ceremony was held on August 19, 1955. Settling down in Wyoming, they raised three wonderful children; Roger, Kathy, and Amy.

Once Joyce became a mother, she shifted her focus to being a homemaker and helping manage the household. She enjoyed sewing and making her children’s clothes. Always interested in stretching the family budget, she often counted out portions of ravioli so each kid got the same amount. Each and every Sunday after church they would join the Nienhuis family for large dinners. As a family, they were fortunate to travel to Florida to visit their parents and shared many lasting memories over the years. She and Roger shared a common faith and instilled in their children strong Christian values. They regularly attended Lee Street Christian Reformed Church and their kids to Southwest Christian school. Sadly, in 1968, when the children were young and Amy, the baby, was the tender age of five years old, Roger died in a motorcycle accident. Joyce was devastated but leaned on her close friends and family for support.

Elmer Slachter zonce again introduced her to one of his closest friends, Jay Bolthouse, and the two of them hit it off from the start! After marrying at her uncle’s home, Jay adopted all three of the Nienhuis children. Jay, along with his brothers, owned and operated Bolthouse Bros Growers, a local produce farm in Tallmadge Twp. He and Joyce lived in a home close to the farm on Lincoln in Ottawa County. Joyce embraced farm life. She happily made lunches for the crew and each of the children worked on the farm. In 1974, she and Jay welcomed home their baby daughter, Kara. They shared many happy memories gathered around their backyard pool cooling off after a long day of working on the farm. Their pool became a popular gathering place for the kids’ friends and family events. It was evident to all who knew her that her family meant everything to her.

Once the children were grown, Joyce continued her many special interests. She enjoyed working in the jewelry department at Rogers Department store where she was able to keep up with the latest fashions. Most of her earnings went to store credit as she loved her bling! Active in her faith, Joyce loved supporting her church’s many endeavors especially their outreach to children in Haiti. A remarkable seamstress, she made clothes for kids in Haiti out of pillow cases. She also participated in the soap drives held for Haitian children. She was often asked to give her famous chalk talks at churches, schools, and youth groups. Later, she and Jay were members of Lamont Christian Reformed Church and then Richmond Reformed Church.

Jay and Joyce were involved with another farm in Georgia. On their trip, they would stop and deliver plants to the farm. They enjoyed taking their kids, friends, and grandkids to Disney World over the years. Joyce never grew tired of the trip or the entertainment! She soaked in all the fanfare at each of the theme parks. A special highlight was a trip she and Jay took to Hawaii. The beautiful sandy beaches and lush green hills etched a lasting impression on them both. Sadly, Jay passed away in 2001.

Each summer, she rented a cottage for the family to come and visit and enjoy together. She treasured these special moments with her kids and grandkids. She always looked forward to their visits and loved to dote on her kids. They were especially thankful whenever she made her famous Black Bottom pie!

When it came to relaxing she was often reading or watching television. She loved a good James Patterson novel and everyone knew not to disturb her on Fridays at 10 PM during her Blue Bloods crime show! Joyful, positive, and always doing things for others, Joyce lived a blessed life. Her generosity and unconditional love are the greatest gifts she leaves behind. Joyce’s endearing and sweet personality will be dearly missed by her special friends and family. May the many special memories they shared together warm their hearts for generations to come.

Joyce Elaine Bolthouse, age 86, of Grand Rapids, passed away peacefully on August 19, 2022, surrounded by her family. She was preceded in death by her husbands, Roger Nienhuis and Jay Bolthouse. Joyce is survived by her children, Roger (Nancy) Bolthouse, Kathy (Kevin) Byrne, Amy (Brian) Hiller, and Kara (Chris) Ritsema; grandchildren, Dawn (Scott) Truskowski, Audra (Jeff Lauer) Bolthouse, Sam Hiller, Kyle Hiller, Zoe Ritsema, Sydney Ritsema, and Haidyn Ritsema; several great-grandchildren and a great-great-granddaughter. Also, surviving are her siblings, Sharon (Nick) Hunderman, Jan (Ed) Wierenga, and Shirley Roberts; brothers-in-law, Bernard (Sue) Bolthouse and Roy Bolthouse; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. A graveside service will be held at 1 PM on Monday, August 22, 2022, at Rosedale Memorial Park (Bring a lawn chair). In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Emmanuel Hospice. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a favorite memory or photo or to sign the guestbook.