Mary Alyce Joanis, of Niles

Published 8:51 am Monday, October 19, 2015

Sept. 14, 1923 — Oct. 11, 2015

Mary Alyce Joanis, 92, of Niles, Michigan died at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, at The Timbers of Cass County in Dowagiac, Michigan following a brief illness.

Mary Alyce Joanis

Mary Alyce Joanis

She was born on Sept. 14, 1923, in Bemidji, Minnesota to Francis Vincent and Nora J. (Nelson) Joanis. She was raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and came to Dowagiac in 1944. Her father built a home on Kings Road in Niles to which they moved in 1950, and where Miss Joanis lived for more than 60 years. In 1949, she and her father, Francis and her brother, Howard F. Joanis founded Michigan Box and Crate, Inc. at the corner of Thirteenth and Lake Streets in Niles. The company was successful for 20 years, and then closed to sell the real estate to the neighboring Simplicity Pattern Company.

Mary was a member of Saint Mary Catholic Church since 1950. She enjoyed handcrafts, especially crochet, but her greatest interest was her family. She had completed an extensive genealogy of her family, and always had a camera ready, generating many photographs of every member of her family.

She was preceded in death by her parents, and by sisters Lois Stueber, Joyce Fortson, and Helen Hilliard; brothers, Howard F. Joanis and Owen F. Joanis; and by three nephews and a great-niece.

Surviving family includes 12 nieces and nephews, Kathy (Clark) Cobb and Robin (Ron) Reeves, both of Dowagiac, Donna Fortson Bloss of McAllen, Texas, Barbara Joanis (Steve Carr) Bader of Bozeman, Montana, Paulette Gearhart of Fitzgerald, Georgia, Andrea (Douglas) Teeple of Kent, Ohio, Gloria Curtin, Brenda Woodson, Michael Stueber and Paul (Debbie) Stueber, both of Niles, David (Glenda) Hilliard of Cassopolis, Michigan, and Joel Hilliard of Dowagiac; 26 great-nieces and nephews, 35 great-great nieces and nephews, and two great-great-great nephews.

The Memorial Mass for Mary Alyce Joanis will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, at Saint Mary Catholic Church by the Rev. Alphonse Savarimuthu, MSFS of the parish. Committal Rites will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Niles.

The family will receive relatives and friends on Friday at the church beginning at 10 a.m. Contributions in memory of Miss Joanis may be made to Saint Mary Catholic Church. Arrangements were made at the Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles.