Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Joyce Gutierrez

January 11, 1931 - July 26, 2022
Grand Rapids, MI



Sunday, July 31, 2022
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church

Trisageon Service

Sunday, July 31, 2022
7:00 PM EDT
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church


Monday, August 1, 2022
11:00 AM EDT
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
334 LaGrave Avenue SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


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.

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
334 LaGrave Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Joyce Gutierrez was a loving mother, partner, and grandmother. A caring nurturer, she cherished her years as a mother and was delighted with the arrival of her grandchildren. She leaves behind a rich legacy of accepting all people with compassion. Her warm personality, genuine friendship, and loving ways will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.

1931 saw crippling effects on the nation’s economy. Car manufacturers were going out of business, and a severe drought hit the Midwest causing dust bowls, yet the good news was that Charles and Nazeema (Bashara) Hanna were celebrating the arrival of their newborn daughter, Joyce Elaine, on January 11th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her birth was a shining moment during tough economic times.

Growing up a member of first-generation immigrants, Joyce learned some Arabic spoken in the family home. The family, including her younger sister, Shirley, lived on the south side of town on Prince Street. Strong in their heritage, they attended St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church. Church had a large influence on Joyce’s life. Born with a beautiful voice, she sang in her high school choir as well as at church and local weddings. As a family, they enjoyed spending a week at a rented cottage on Lake Odessa with close family friends. Many of her favorite memories were from these years. Eager to make her own living, Joyce accepted a position at Toledo Plate after high school where she gained experience in office work.

Her ambition and strong skillset helped her in the workforce as well as in her new business relationship with Jim Mervenne. He was starting the CH Burpee Company at the time they met. Later Burpee became Burco Inc. and Joyce was instrumental in managing the office while Jim was out on sales calls. They worked closely through the years, and she considered many of her coworkers like family. During this time, she became a mother to her son, Paul. They lived on the northeast side of town. For much of these years, she was involved with her life companion, Ardie Tanis. Both nature lovers, Joyce and Ardie owned a summer cottage on a small lake before later buying their cottage on the Muskegon River near Croton Dam. She and Ardie loved hosting family and friends at the cottage for many years. Joyce worked hard to afford the time and resources to travel. They owned a motor home and fifth wheel through the years and traveled as far as the Rockies. She and Ardie also took trips to visit Paul and his family, as well as cruises to Costa Rica and Alaska. Joyce was dedicated to anything she put her mind to doing. She always made sure she played as hard as she worked!

When it came to special pastimes, Joyce held a wide variety of interests. She enjoyed bowling on leagues for a while as well as perfecting her recipes in the kitchen. She especially loved to honor her rich heritage by preparing Syrian dishes. Joyce loved sharing her love of food and traditional recipes with her grandsons. A wonderful hostess, she cherished entertaining people in her home. Her faith community remained a very important piece of her life and she actively participated in worship. Although she retired once, she missed the opportunity to be around others and went back to work until she was in her eighties. For the past twenty-five years, Joyce enjoyed living with her sister, Shirley. Highlights of these years were the many winters they spent together in the South to avoid the harsh Michigan weather. She loved to read and often chose romance novels. Joyce watched all of the television game shows, and recently enjoyed the popular crime show, Blue Bloods. Described as often serious as well as observant, Joyce modeled a life of loving others unconditionally. She lived by her Christian values and treated everyone with grace and kindness. May the memories she shared stay forever in the hearts of her loved ones and may they find great comfort in knowing she loved them beyond measure.

Joyce E. Gutierrez, age 91, of Grand Rapids, passed away peacefully at her home on July 26, 2022. Joyce is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Paul & Alane Gutierrez; grandchildren; Jason Gutierrez and Kyle Gutierrez; sister, Shirley Ansara; niece, Laura Ansara; her cousin, Mary Maxim; as well as several other cousins and their families; and her beloved dog, Snickers. Joyce was preceded in death by her life partner, Ardie Tanis.

Joyce’s favorite hobby was working. She loved going to Burco Inc. for 50 years and remembered all the great family of friends she made, especially the members of the Mervenne family. Joyce loved spending time with her family at the river cottage, going on camping trips, or just being at home.

Her funeral service will be held on Monday, August 1, 2022, at 11 AM at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 334 LaGrave Ave SE. Friends are invited to visit with her family at the church on Sunday from 6-8 PM and on Monday beginning at 10 AM. The Trisagion Service will be held on Sunday beginning at 7 PM. Interment in Woodlawn Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial contributions to St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church are appreciated. To share a memory, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com