Joyce Trefil

Oct 19th 1939 - Dec 9th 2013

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Although Joyce Trefil valued many things throughout her life, none were more important than creating close relationships with the family she treasured so deeply. She was a loving wife, devoted mother and proud grandmother, who derived endless joy from watching her family grow and succeed. Joyce was a woman of great strength, who worked hard throughout her life and persevered through trials that came her way, always remaining true to the joy that was in her heart. Those who knew and loved Joyce Trefil have so many cherished memories that will never be forgotten.

1939 was a tumultuous year for many worldwide. After enjoying an all too brief period of peace following World War I, many watched in terror as Germany invaded Poland, thrusting the globe into World War II (though it would be years before the United States officially became involved.) Despite the worldwide fear of war, Dennis Combs, a police officer, and his wife, Nettie, of Hazard, Kentucky had two wonderful reasons to celebrate. On October 19, 1939, they welcomed the birth of twins, daughter, Joyce Ann, and son, Jack, the youngest of their nine children. Tragically, Nettie died six weeks after the births of the twins.

A shy, yet confident young girl, Joyce loved spending time with her Grandma Jeanie, and often went to church with her. In school, she was an excellent student, and loved to go to the dances at the boarding school she attended. After graduating in 1957, Joyce moved to Grand Ledge, Michigan to live with her sister, Mary Burton. She soon went to work at Rick Butler, a clothing store, as well as at a dance studio in Lansing. Outside of work, Joyce liked to do crafts and go shopping, and her mischievous side was always making people laugh. Then, one day, her life took a new and exciting direction when she met the love of her life, Danney Trefil. After dating for a time, Danney asked Joyce to be his wife at a bowling alley in East Lansing, and they were married a short time later on August 6, 1966, in Maple Rapids, Michigan. A year after saying “I do,” the happy couple welcomed the birth of their first child, daughter Tammy, who was later joined by their two sons, Daniel (“Boo”) and Shawn.

It was easy to see that Joyce considered it a true joy to be a wife and mother. She was active in the lives of her children, while creating a home that was a place where love was plentiful. Time together as a family was always of the utmost importance to Joyce and Danney. They enjoyed taking their kids to Cedar Point for some amusement park fun every year, and spent many memorable summers together at Crystal Lake in Montcalm County. Traditionally, they had lunch at Grandma Trefil’s home after church every Sunday with all of the family. Her kids also have fond memories of going to Kmart with their Mom so she could hit all the “blue light specials” going on that day. Big sports fans, Joyce and her son, Shawn, always liked to watch games together – though she spent much of the time yelling at the TV. As a couple, Joyce and Danney enjoyed bowling on a league, the place where their love story had begun years before.

Joyce considered her family to be her greatest gift and blessing – and becoming a grandmother was just the icing on the cake. She simply adored her grandchildren and loved spending time with them, even if it meant watching cartoons together. She was always up for a good laugh! Aside from family, Joyce had a giving heart for everyone around her, and would give them the shirt off her back if they needed it. She also had a heart for the Lord, and attended St. John’s First Baptist Church. Unexpectedly, Joyce lost her beloved husband Danney on February 23, 2003, of a heart attack, after 40 wonderful years of marriage.

What gave Joyce the greatest joy was sharing herself with her family, offering them the most precious thing she possessed – her time. It is a gift none of them will ever forget.

Joyce A. Trefil, age 74, died on Monday, December 9, 2013. Surviving are her children, Tammy (Mike) Underwood of St. Johns, Daniel Trefil of Las Vegas and Shawn (Jennifer) Trefil of Perrinton; 5 grandchildren, Joshua and Jacob Underwood, and Ryan, Anthony and Julia Trefil; 2 sisters, 3 sisters-in-law, 4 brothers-in-law; and many nieces and nephews. Along with her husband, Danney Trefil, she was preceded in death by her parents.

Funeral Services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, December 13, at Osgood Funeral Home, 104 E. Cass Street, St. Johns, MI with Pastor Tim Knaus officiating, burial to follow at Fulton Twp. Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday, December 12, from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. To learn more about Joyce and view her Life Story film, visit her personal webpage at

Joyce Trefil