Joan B. (Shimer) Gernaat, age 80, of Portage, MI died Monday afternoon June 20, 2016. Joan was born June 5, 1936 in Watervliet, MI, the eldest daughter of Earl and Ruth (O'Riley) Shimer. She resided in Portage most of her adult life and was employed by the Portage Public Schools for 39 years, retiring in 1997. Joan was also a long serving President of the Portage Education Association, holding that position for 19 years. Like her mother, she was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. A very creative person, she was known for her ceramics and her poetry. She looked forward to time spent with friends, from her past coworkers from West Middle School to her ceramics classmates. She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Kaye Smithley; and brother-in-law, Roy Smithley. Joan is survived by three children, Deborah (David) Hughston of Canandaigua, NY, Catherine Gernaat of Kalamazoo, and Mark (Traci) Gernaat of Portage; three grandchildren, Sarah Hughston, and Sydne and Carter Gernaat; brother, Earl "Chip" (Gwen) Shimer Jr. of St. Joseph, MI; and many very special nieces, nephews, and cousins. A memorial service will be held 1 o'clock Saturday, August 13th at the Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Portage Chapel, 411 E. Centre Ave. Friends may meet the family one hour prior to the service at the chapel. Private burial will take place at a later date. Memorials may be directed to Rose Arbor Hospice.