Life Story / Obituary
Quiet, steadfast, and determined, Joanne Ruth McClurken lived her life as a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She carried the responsibilities of her role as the matriarch with honor and integrity. She loved her family wholly and will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew her.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression and the growing conflict in Europe, many families found the way to continue to center their lives in love and hope for a brighter future. Nowhere was that hope more evident than in the Tallmadge Township home of Anthony and Magdaline Tanis as they welcomed their daughter Joanne Ruth into their hearts May 28th, 1936.
Growing up on the family’s fruit and dairy farm as the youngest of the Tanis family’s seven children, Joanne’s childhood was filled with a love of the outdoors and animals, and a lot of hard work. From a very young age, Joanne held the responsibility of daily chores and quickly forged the tenacious work ethic upon which she would build the rest of her life. Like her older siblings, Alice, Shirley, Marjorie, Clifford, Raymond, and “Whitey,” Joanne attended Riverbend Elementary School and Grandville High School.
During high school, Joanne met James McClurken. The two dated, fell in love and were married on Sept 13, 1953, by the Justice of the Peace. After honeymooning in Northern Michigan, they returned to Tallmadge Township where they lovingly built their lives together.
In 1956 Joanne and James were baptized together at Grand Valley Baptist Church where they remain members to this day.They became parents of seven children; James, Timothy, Kevin, Cynthia, Brian, Daniel, and Noralee. Joanne loved being a mother and relished in her capacity to efficiently run the household while caring for the children. When Brian died at a young age of a heart attack, the family’s connection grew even stronger in the knowledge that each day together was a gift to be treasured.
Not only did Joanne run the household, she worked the farm at Jim’s side. Whether working the fields, tending to the apples, or caring for the cows, Joanne unhesitatingly did what had to be done. She also managed a wonderful garden that provided tomatoes, corn, peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, and more delicious vegetables which she canned, froze, and gave to friends and family each year. Joanne loved animals and every day she enjoyed feeding the turkeys, raccoons, and deer from her porch.
With the tremendous responsibilities that come with farm life, there was not a lot of time for family vacations. However, Joanne and Jim did manage to take a couple of trips. They traveled to Pennsylvania, Mackinaw City, and to the family cabin on Blue Lake in Broman, Michigan. Despite there not being much time for leisure, Joanne found the time to embroider and crochet, weaving her loving spirit into each stitch. Her love of outdoors inspired her interests in outdoor televisions shows like Wild Alaska, Alaskan Frontier, and Mountain Men. A good game of Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune was always a sure delight while Family Farm Magazine, Town and Country Magazine, and Reader’s Digest were her preferred reading.
Nothing delighted Joanne more than her grandchildren. She loved spending time with them at home and attending their athletic and school events. Joanne was a powerful role model for her children and grandchildren. In her quiet and steady way, she was loving and kind, undauntable in spirit, was of service in everything she did and was witness to God’s love to all.
Joanne was a “Number One Wife.” Always alongside Jim, Joanne supported each of his endeavors with strength and sureness. She reverently nursed him through many farm accidents and graciously provided for all his needs. Just last week, like many days before, Joanne and Jim worked side by side clearing and cutting the debris from last Thursday’s storm. Most shockingly, Joanne suffered from a blood clot in her neck and was rushed to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital where her health quickly diminished, and she died at 10:26 on Tuesday, July 18th.
Without a doubt, Joanne’s unexpected death has many feeling a deep sense of uncertainty as she was always the source of center for those she loved. May there be comfort in knowing that Joanne’s legacy of strength, faith, and love lives on in the hearts and lives of those she loved; and that she would want nothing more than for her loved ones to continue to have the great lives she worked so hard to provide for.
Joanne Ruth Tanis McClurken born May 28, 1936, passed from this life on July 18, 2017. Joanne was a hardworking daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who spent her life caring for her family and for the many animals given to her charge. She was preceded by her patents Anthony and Magdalena Korhorn Tanis; sisters Shirely Mae Bussa, Marjorie VandenToorn, and Alice Creswick; brother Clifford Tanis; and her son Brian McClurken. Joanne will be missed by the family members who survive her, especially by James W. McClurken, her husband of 63 years: her brothers, Ray Tanis and Elbert “Whitey” Tanis: her children, James M. McClurken, Timothy and Christine McClurken, Kevin and Cindy McClurken, Cynthia McClurken and Douglas Hoople, Daniel and Claudia McClurken, and Noralee Baker: her grandchildren, Yolonda McClurken, Timothy McClurken, Shaun McClurken, Tricia McClurken Chupp, Alyson Yeats, Kimberly Easler, Keith McClurken, Shaena McClurken Ziegler, Casey McClurken, Christopher McClurken, Elizabeth McClurken Diasparra, Victoria McClurken, Brandon Baker, Brendon Graham, Nathan Graham, Joycelyn McClurken, and Messina McClurken: and by great-grandchildren, MaKenzie Seiler, Hannah McClurken, Abigale McClurken, Olivia McClurken, Kelsey McClurken, Christopher Fitzgerald, Alayna Zeigler, Kaylee Zeigler, Leonardo Diasperra, Penelope Diasperra, Cecelia Diasperra, Bryssen Easler and Harper Easler. The family will meet visitors at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW Thursday, July 20, 2:00-4:00 pm, and 7:00-9:00 pm. Services will be held at Grand Valley Baptist Church, 3186 River Hill Dr NW, Grand Rapids on Friday at 11:00 AM showing at 10:00 am until service begins at 11:00 am. Contributions in her memory may be made to Grand Valley Baptist Church. To read more abour Joanne’s life, to sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com