On December 27, 2019, Joanne M. Rhoades, 76 of Kentwood, Michigan left earthly pain and suffering to go on to her eternal reward and reunion with her beloved husband, Fredrick T. Rhoades.
Joanne was born in Newberry, Michigan December 2, 1943, to Harold and Elizabeth (Fenlon) Fitzpatrick, both of whom are deceased.
Joanne grew up in St. Ignace, Michigan, in the midst of an extended family including grandmother, aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins. Even at four or five years of age, she was friendly and outgoing. Often on walks downtown with an older sister, she would suddenly speak to an adult and tell them her name was Joie and inquire as to who they were. Her best friend's name was Bobbi and they were inseperable and adventurous. One day they discovered an unattended ladder leant up against the back of the State warehouse that serviced the State Ferries. Ladders being made to be climbed, they climbed. The building's supervisor (himself a relative) saw to their rescue.
Joanne's mind was that of a designer. She loved making things. During her late teens, she because especially creative and adept at producing beautiful hammered copper wall art. She graduated from LaSalle High School in 1961. She later came to Grand Rapids and attended Davenport Business College, graduating with an Associates degree in Business Administration. She found her job at Michigan State University Extension Service testing soil and water samples for area farmers rewarding and enjoyed knowing the people there.
She and Fred were married in 1965 and settled in Kentwood, Michigan until Fred's job with Meijer, Inc. had them move to Charlotte, Michigan. There they bought a house and were able to adopt their son, Brian, the love of their lives.
After Fred's death in 1976, Joanne and Brian moved back to the Grand Rapids area, settling back in Kentwood. Retiring from Farmers Insurance in 2008, gave Joanne time to enjoy herself, but, took on part time work to keep busy. Her last one was at Gaines Meijer in the bakery were she loved being the Cookie Lady, handing out cookies to countless children. She also enjoyed reading, puzzles and knitting. All the "Preeemie" caps she donated to Spectrum Neo Natal Unit were greatly appreciated as were the beautiful baby blankets she presented to the newest additions to the family.
With her best friend, Karen Oliver, Joanne learned about Collies, had fun local adventures and especially loved their trips to Disney World - The Happiest Place on Earth!
Joanne was the kindest, most loving person to everyone she met. She never expected anything in return, she just wanted everyone to be happy. Her positive attitude, willingness to help and ready sense of humor will be long remembered by family and many friends.
She leaves behind to cherish her memory: son, Brian; granddaughter, Charlie; sister, Margaret (Bertch) Merriman; nephew, Jeff (Karyn) Merriman, Cami and Joely; sister, Liz Fitzpatrick; niece, Sara (Bryan)Hendrick, Sydny and Riley; nephew Joby (Tracey) Dendy, Jackson and Mallory; nephew James, Alexis and Claire; Sister-in-law, Sue (Mike) Johnson, niece Tassey (Scot) Handley, Samantha, Tzila and Cade; nephew Tyson (Keri) Hillard, Karson, Addison, Jayden and Jersey; Favorite Aunt Eleanor Fitzpatrick, many cousins and friends.
Per Joanne's wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.