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home : obituaries : obituaries
February 22, 2020

1/2/2020 3:33:00 PM
Joan Harris

Joan E. Harris, 84, of Center City, Minnesota, formerly of Muskegon, Michigan, passed away peacefully on December 20, 2019 at Fairview Lakes Hospital in Wyoming, Minnesota with her daughters by her side.

Joan was born May 31, 1935, in Hamilton, Ohio, the second of three children, to Elmer and Elsie Smith. While in elementary school, she was a proud member Girl Scout Troop 353 and the Jackson School Safety Patrol. As a youngster, Joan was also quite the athlete, winning a certificate of merit for the Girls Public School Athletic League in Cincinnati, Ohio, and placing second in the soccer ball throw at the city outdoor meet.

During middle school, Joan and her family moved north to Muskegon, Michigan, where she would spend the next 20 years of her life. A passable student but "ideal citizen" while at Maple Grove School in Norton Township, Michigan Joan was active with theatre and athletics.

Upon middle school graduation, she stated that her favorite sport was baseball but she considered all sports her hobby. Her favorite subject was mathematics and one day she hoped to become a geometry professor. Attending high school at Muskegon Heights High School (Go Tigers!) in Muskegon Heights, Michigan, Joan continued her athletic excellence, winning her MH Letter. She also veered from mathematics—something she would return to later in life—and worked on the school newspaper and yearbook staffs. She was also a member of the Library Club.

After graduation, Joan continued living with her parents in Muskegon, working at the local phone company and participating in many, many bowling leagues. She was a dedicated daughter, sister, and aunt, but one day in the early 1960s, Joan and her good friend Joyce loaded up a VW Bug and lit out for brighter lights and a bigger city. Their destination? Los Angeles, California.

Once there Joan worked as a payroll clerk until she met a dashing credit manager and co-worker, named Bill Harris. A few years of marriage and a couple daughters later, Joan and Bill moved from Los Angeles to Poway, California. There, Joan became a fantastic stay-at-home mom to her two growing girls. Following a divorce in 1993, Joan returned to her Michigan roots, once again residing in Muskegon. She took a job cleaning industrial buildings and offices with Rose Janitorial Service. After a few years of cleaning, she rose up the ranks and became the scheduler and hiring manager for the company.

Upon her retirement in 2004, Joan moved to Center City, Minnesota to be closer to her oldest daughter, Kelly.

Here, Joan lived a quiet life able to engage more freely in her passions, including dollhouse and miniature building, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, adult coloring, and reading - always reading.

All throughout her life, Joan was called a true friend and genuinely kind person by all who had the pleasure of her company.

Joan is survived by two daughters, Kelly Harris of Center City, Minnesota and Stacy 'Stacee' Ann Harris of Las Vegas, Nevada; brother Robert (Sharon) Smith of Muskegon, Michigan; six adored nieces and nephews Ron Haney, Sheila (Bob) DeVries, Lou Ann (Gary) Knuppenberg, Michael (Kerry) Smith, Joan (Scott) Sanborn and Trena (Nick) Streider; and several beloved grand-puppies and grand-kitties. She was preceded in death by her parents Elmer and Elsie Smith; sister Shirley Ann (Louis) Haney; nephew Robert C. Smith; and beloved grand-puppies Emma, Morgan, Scully, Nanook, and Brogan.

Joan’s life will be celebrated at a family gathering in Muskegon.  Memorials preferred to Northwoods Humane Society in Wyoming, Minnesota. www.northwoodshs.org.    Arrangements by Grandstrand Funeral Home in Lindstrom.  Condolences may be expressed online at www.grandstrandfh.com





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