Life Story / Obituary
A compassionate and selfless woman, Joyce Krueger-Baker was one in a million. Joyce loved deeply, lived fully, and gave selflessly in all ways. From her family and beyond, Joyce was there with a loving, helping hand. She was just as outgoing as she was creative, and was known to be a natural caregiver. Foremost was the family she adored, and her love for the Lord was a blessing throughout all of her days. For these things and more, Joyce will be dearly missed and fondly remembered.
Joyce was the daughter of Harold and Mina (Clark) Kreft. Born on October 8, 1934 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she came into the world at a time when families struggled through the hardships of the Great Depression, and impending war overseas. People learned to find joy in the little things, like gathering around the radio or going to a picture show which was a welcome reprieve from everyday worries. Joyce was the fourth of five children in her family. She grew up alongside her brothers, Arnold and Harold, and her sister, Evelyn passed away as an infant.
Joyce enjoyed a childhood typical of her generation. Her family made their home off Four Mile Road where Joyce called home for much of her life. During her youth she formed a great love for animals. As a child, she got too close to a fire and suffered burns, and from that point on she was always afraid of fire. Joyce’s parents ran a pretty strict household. There was little room to bend the rules, and Joyce was sure to follow them. She and her family were faithful members of Arcadia Christian Reformed Church just down the street from their home where Joyce grew in her faith.
Through the years, Joyce and her family enjoyed traveling to Arcadia, Michigan to visit extended family members. She attended the area schools and went on to graduate from Creston High School. After high school, Joyce began working for Baker Furniture Company before moving on to work for Kindel Furniture. To her credit, Joyce could type very quickly and efficiently. Joyce spent many years in the furniture industry working in the secretarial field, but her life soon turned in a new direction when she met Ronald Krueger while roller skating at Ramona Park.
A handsome young man, Ron picked Joyce up for their first date on his motorcycle. Although this did not meet her parent’s approval, Joyce was quite fond of it, and of Ron, too. Happily married in 1954 while he was home on leave from the Air Force, the newlyweds returned to his base in Florida where in time they welcomed the birth of their first child, Ronald. They lived in Oklahoma where they welcome Donald into the family before returning to Grand Rapids where completed the family with Terry and Kendra.
Joyce made a good, clean, organized and loving home for Ronald and the kids. With three rambunctious boys, Joyce often had to be the peacemaker. Even while raising her family, she continued to work outside the home. Joyce first worked for Arthur Anderson Consulting, and then for a steel company in Walker. She was a wonderful cook and made numerous family favorites. Joyce sewed often, making Halloween costumes for her children and eventual grandchildren. Being creative came naturally for Joyce. She was very artistic and enjoyed doing crafts. Joyce loved the outdoors, all it had to offer and was always up for an adventure.
Although Joyce’s marriage came to an end after nearly 25 years, Joyce was always grateful for the children they shared and remained friends. However, love was not lost for Joyce. While taking dance lessons at Arthur Murray, Joyce met Jack Baker. In time they married and together they enjoyed much including dancing, traveling and socializing. Joyce made friends easily and with her gift for gab, she could strike up a conversation with anyone. This was especially true when she and Jack traveled to destinations such as Branson, Missouri and taking time to enjoy the slots. When Jack began suffering from health issues, Joyce lovingly looked after him. Jack sadly passed away after 15 years of marriage.
Following Jack’s death, Joyce broke her ankle and her first husband, Ron came to help her. This time together went so well they decided to build a home together. So true to Joyce’s nature, they built with the intention of caring for others in mind. The home was complete with a guest room when needed, and a gathering room to host get-togethers for family and friends.
Joyce especially enjoyed hosting Christmas parties. The Christmas holiday held a special place in Joyce’s heart and she’d begin cooking and baking days in advance. With great anticipation, she loved preparing for the holiday and always made sure there were plenty of gifts. Even the trim and wrappings included Joyce’s love as she used fancy bows and pretty ribbons to adorn their packages. Much like her father, Joyce relished times spent in the company of family.
For the last 15 years, Joyce served as the personal secretary and office manager for the Drs. Alfred and Genevieve Swanson with whom she became very close. A natural caregiver, Joyce had genuine, loving compassion for her elderly loved ones. When they faced age related difficulties, Joyce was sure to be by their side. Joyce took care of her father, and later, her aunt Gertrude. Joyce easily anticipated the needs of others and helped whether it was asked for or not.
Everyone knew of Joyce’s great love for animals. Most recently, she particularly adored her feline companions. She was extremely compassionate towards animals, and those needing rescue seemed to always find their way to Joyce. She always took them in and both great and small, she used her God given talents as a blessing in the lives of others.
Most of Joyce’s life was spent living on her grandfather’s property. She watched it develop through the years, and was elated when a street was named after him. Her knowledge of the area was quite evident. Ever loyal and faithful, Joyce traveled to the Arcadia area each year to place flowers on the graves of relatives buried there.
Joyce was a classy woman. She liked things a certain way, but she carried herself with grace and humility. A sympathetic woman, she was also generous with her time and talents. With ways all her own, Joyce had a way of making each family member feel special, and never ceased putting others before herself. Her family will always treasure and remember the ways she selflessly cared for others. Joyce loved her Lord and was ready for her eternal journey to begin, and to again be reunited with each of her loved ones who went on before her.
Joyce Krueger-Baker passed away Saturday, September 26, 2015 at home with her family close by. She was preceded in death by her son, Don Krueger; parents Harold and Mina Kreft; brothers, Arnold and Harold Kreft; her infant sister, Evelyn; and her second husband, Jack Baker. Surviving are her sons, Ronald (Connie) Krueger, Terry (Karen) Krueger, and daughter, Kendra Krueger (Stephen Garcia). Also surviving is her first husband and best friend, Ronald Krueger; grandchildren, Nicole (Rudy) Fleminger, Dana (Ryan) Hartman, Justin Krueger, Jenica Bowman, Aaron (Autumn) Krueger, Rochelle (Dave) Bird, and Leah Krueger; nine great-grandchildren; her brother, Gordon (Karen) Kreft also survives her as well as several nieces and nephews.
A funeral service for Joyce will be held Thursday, October 1, 2015, 11:00 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home-Van Strien Creston Chapel where friends may visit with her family on Wednesday from 7-9 PM and on Thursday from 10 AM until the service. To read more about Joyce, to share a favorite memory or to sign her guestbook, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.