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Life Story / Obituary
Through unending faith, Joyce DeHaan was a woman who lived by her heartfelt beliefs, and Christian convictions. She was ever giving, and dedicated to those entrusted to her care. Just as disciplined as she was devoted, faith, family and helping others came to be her ultimate focus in life. Joyce was an example of responsibility along with determination and dedication in all she did. She loved her family beyond compare, and leaves treasured memories for all to embrace.
Born in Holland, Michigan on January 6, 1928, the daughter of Arnold and Anna (Bouman) Branderhorst. Joyce grew up alongside her four siblings and enjoyed all that childhood had to offer. The beach offered many family outings and adventure for Joyce along with neighborhood friends. Her father worked as a carpenter, and her mother was a homemaker. Although the Great Depression during Joyce’s youth created years of hardship for all, Joyce and her family clung fast to their faith.
Joyce attended the local schools and from a young age enjoyed music. She was musically inclined, having played the piano and later, the organ. She sang often at area churches, gracing all with her beautiful singing voice. Joyce excelled in her studies and when graduating from Holland High School in 1945, she did so as valedictorian of her class. World War II made for worrisome hearts, yet even so, Joyce was filled with hope for what the future held.
A pioneer for female advancement, Joyce furthered her education at Calvin College in Grand Rapids where she studied pre-med. During her time at Calvin, Joyce paved the way for many young women pursuing dreams of careers that up until that time were mainly reserved for men. She went on to attend the University of Michigan Medical School, graduating in 1952. Joyce completed her internship at St. Joseph Baptist Hospital in New Orleans and studied tropical medicine at Tulane University in preparation for her three years of service as a medical missionary in Africa. While in Nigeria, Joyce helped design the hospital and implemented health care protocols along with caring for patients which was much needed. Her time in Africa also provided Joyce with additional training, including the opportunity to perform several eye surgeries.
Joyce was involved in a kerosene refrigerator explosion in which she suffered severe burns. After undergoing many skin grafts, she returned to the states in February of 1956. Having been burned so badly, her injuries led to drug addiction, which in turn led to alcoholism. At that time, Joyce and her fiance, Ray DeHaan took up where they left off. They had dated off and on for quite some time, often riding Ray’s 1950 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and had become engaged. Deeply in love, Joyce and Ray were happily married on May 1, 1956 at Pillar Christian Reformed Church in Holland. They enjoyed a memorable honeymoon to North Carolina as Joyce always recalled how beautiful and plentiful the rhododendrons were in bloom. After being ignored while Ray listened to the Tigers game all the way there, instead of despairing, Joyce became an avid Tigers fan along with Ray.
The couple moved to Denver, Colorado for Ray’s medical internship and they soon started a family. Joyce took pride in working with the underserved while in Colorado, and remained at home for a year before they moved to Phoenix, Arizona. For the following two years, Joyce did more rural practice work. They eventually moved their family to Grand Rapids and then Ann Arbor while Ray finished his residency before returning to Colorado for a time.
During these years, Joyce and Ray were blessed with five children, including Debra, Douglas, David, Diane, and Darcie. When Ray was hired by Upjohn Pharmaceuticals in Kalamazoo, they made the area their home. Through the years, Joyce and her family created endless memories to be treasured. The holidays were spent surrounded by the love of family, and together they enjoyed several vacations and family trips along the way.
In Kalamazoo, Joyce first worked at Upjohn and then Kalamazoo College Student Healthcare Center. She devoted countless hours studying to become a Board Certified Additionologist and dedicated the rest of her career working at Gateway Villa, and Victory Methadone Clinic. Joyce was gently sympathetic and very knowledgeable in her field. As an expert, many referred to Joyce when it came to dealing with addictions. As a longtime member of AA, January 1, 1980 was the very last time Joyce had a drop of alcohol. With her medical background, and through faith and pure determination, she set out to help others on their own journey to overcome.
Joyce was disciplined in every aspect of her life. Nothing got done around the house until her bed was made each morning. Ray did most of the cooking, and every Sunday morning Joyce enjoyed playing the organ before church. Over the years she even tried learning the ukulele and guitar. She liked the old, traditional hymns of her youth. For many decades, Joyce rose early to study the Bible and to spend quiet time with her Lord. She loved to read, mainly historical novels, along with religious books and those centered on God’s love. While Ray watched the Tigers on TV, Joyce was by his side knitting. Joyce absolutely loved shopping, particularly with her daughters. From garage sales to art shows, Joyce’s love for shopping was evident.
The couple were quite involved in the Luke Society where Joyce and Ray offered heath care for the destitute, a ministry they both loved and felt called to. Over the years, their ministry to the poverty-stricken came to include the help of their children. At one time or another, they took their children on short term mission trips to places such as Honduras to care for those in need.
Joyce loved to sunbathe on the beach and thoroughly enjoyed beautiful sunsets. In the late 1980s, she and Ray bought a place on North Shore Beach in South Haven. It was a wonderful gathering place for family, and was well used through the years for study groups or simply to get away. Through the summers the kids would come and go with their families, and the all the grandkids looked forward to time spent there. Along with their beach house, Joyce and Ray shared a love for travel. With her adventurous spirit, Joyce loved their trips to Austria, Greece, Chili and Argentina. They toured and went camping twice in Alaska, and took two trips to Israel.
The guys in the family enjoyed their hunting trips, but the women indulged themselves at the beach, in the arts and with fine foods. In all, the women went on five major, memorable trips together. Although her calendar remained full, Joyce always remembered special days in her family such as birthdays and anniversaries and she bought cards for every occasion, often personalizing them with headshots of the recipient she had cut out and placed strategically somewhere on the card.
In 2011, Joyce underwent heart bypass surgery and was never quite the same. Her health deteriorated, and for the last year and a half she was deemed legally blind. What will be most remembered about Joyce DeHaan was the domino effect she had on people. She was quite disciplined, and all the more devoted in everything she set her mind and heart to. Sometimes referred to as one tough lady, she was just as forgiving, and made an incredible impact on the lives of others. Having overcome much, she used her own struggles to help others. For these things and so much more, Joyce will be lovingly remembered and dearly missed.
Joyce DeHaan, M.D., age 87, of South Haven, formerly of Kalamazoo, died Thursday, August 20, 2015 in Kalamazoo. Joyce was preceded in death by a brother, Harold Branderhorst. Surviving are her husband of 59 years, Ray DeHaan, M.D., her five children: Debra (David) Kool, Douglas (Gayle) DeHaan, David (Claudia) DeHaan, Diane (Edward) Kruis and Darcie (Troy) Weldon; 13 grandchildren: Ana (Lavell) McClain, Levi (Kristen) Kool, Micah Kool, Eva Kool, Brad DeHaan, Taylor DeHaan, Lucas DeHaan, Marcus DeHaan, Jordan Kruis, Jesse Kruis, Jacob Kruis, Jacqueline Kruis and John Kruis; three siblings: Donald (Sue) Branderhorst, Ellen Boss and Arlene Christian; many nieces and nephews. A memorial service for Joyce will be held Saturday, August 29, 2015, 1:00 PM at the Third Christian Reformed Church (2400 Winchell Ave.) followed by a reception in the church hall. Please visit Joyce’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorial donations may be made to the Luke Society www.lukesociety.org . Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive; 375-2900.
To read Joyce DeHaan's autobiography, copy and paste the link below into your web browser.
To download the PowerPoint Show from Joyce's service, including the memories of her grandchildren and the video "In Her Own Words," copy and paste the link below into your web browser.