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Joan Marie, age 85, was born April 22,1936, passed away Sunday night, January 2, 2022, in her home with her loving husband nearby. The daughter of Wendall I Bauer and Mildred Louise Hamilton. Joan was born, raised and went to school in Marshall, Michigan. Joan met Leo Smith at the dance hall in Augusta, Michigan where her father played banjo with the band.They enjoyed much dancing and roller-skating and spending time with friends. Leo and Joan got married on February 19, 1954 the same year that Joan would graduate from high school. Leo was serving his time in the army in Fort Knox, Kentucky. After graduation Joan moved to Kentucky to be with Leo, along with their new puppy Buff. Upon getting out of the army and moving back to Michigan, Leo and Joan built their home starting with a barracks from Fort Custer. Still living in that same home today where they raised their four children, Michael (Carol) Smith, Richard Smith, Nancy Smith and Janice (Greg) Bowen. As a family growing up with horses, pigs, cats and dogs they were all involved with the Miller Road 4-H Club taking their animals to show at the Kalamazoo County Fair. Leo and Joan attended every school event of football, volleyball, basketball, band, choir concerts and graduation ceremonies to watch and support all their grandchildren, Gregg, Jacalyn, Jessica, Chad, Cody, Sarah, Andraya and Kent. Joan was very talented and enjoyed doing many crafts. She was a perfectionist and excelled in every craft she tried, Knitting, crocheting, sewing, ceramics, basket weaving and wood carving were some of the main ones. She did acrylic paints on fabric, worked on a loom, wood burning and some quilting. There was nothing she couldn’t do if she wanted, was a very strong willed woman. Throughout Joan’s life she was in many clubs, Cyclelettes Motorcycle Club, Kalamazoo Woodcarvers Club, Good Sam Kazoo Campers Chapter 78 Club, and the Red Hat Club. Joan kept in contact with a group of classmates “Class of 54” and was able to attend this past reunion in August 2021. She enjoyed their 8 years of going to Florida for the winters and spending time with friends there. Joan is survived by her husband just shy of 68 years of marriage, their 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. Joan was loved and will be dearly missed. May she rest in peace.

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1 Condolence

  1. Nancy (McKee) Warner on January 8, 2022 at 11:56 am

    Jo and I walked to and from high school everyday. No one had much money in those days so we’d save our lunch money and get a Louie’s nutty roll or donut to eat on the way home. Not the best diet in the world 😋. I also have fond memories of going to Ceresco to have an ice cream cone with Joan and her Dad. You will be missed my friend.



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