Saturday, September 9, 2017
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Visitation One Hour prior to service.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
As her family and friends can attest, there was no one quite like Joan Nuyen. She was vibrant, hardworking, and passionate about the people and things she loved with a zest for life that was contagious. Joan was deeply devoted to her husband and children, but as a mom of four boys she certainly learned how to hold her own! She was an amazing hostess who opened her doors to countless others over the years, touching the lives of so many. An avid gardener, fantastic cook, and talented woman, Joan maintained an active lifestyle throughout her entire life’s journey. Deeply loved, she will be forever remembered.
The 1930s were primarily defined by the Great Depression. It was a dark time in American history when the unemployment rate soared, countless American families lost their homes, and numerous banks went under. It was during this challenging time that Waldo and Helen Siegfried were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their lives as they were blessed with the birth of the baby girl they named Joan on January 4, 1932, in Fennville, Michigan. When she was a young girl, she moved to Comstock where she attended local schools and graduated from Comstock High School in 1949.
Not to be forgotten during this time was Joan’s introduction to the man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was Joe Nuyen, and they met while in the same class in high school. They dated while in high school and after graduating, and they eventually found themselves in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Joan and Joe were married in 1951. Soon after, they learned they would become parents. Together they welcomed four children including Chris in 1952, Marc in 1955, Robin “Bobby” in 1957, and Kenrick “Ken” in 1961. In 1956 their growing family built a house in Portage. Joan was an amazing mom who was both strict and fun, depending on the situation. She worked into being a mom of boys as she knew that fighting, minor injuries, and at times a trip to the emergency room were all just part of her life. Joan was there to cheer on all of her boys when they played Little League baseball and Joe coached. She also loved hosting the teams for pool parties once they had the pool installed. Joan was a busy mom as her husband was busy with the barbershops he owned, Coachlite Barbershops.
Once her youngest son was in school, Joan went to school part-time and earned her teaching degree. She earned her BA in Education from WMU in 1967, and she earned her Master’s in Education from WMU in 1971. Joan spent many years working as the home economics teacher at Portage Northern High School. She was a brilliant teacher who even won a trip to Europe with her class. Joan’s husband and several of her students all went together. She also won a microwave when they were still a new thing. When she stopped teaching, Joan spent four or five years working at Michigan Power. After moving to Colon in the late eighties, Joan and Joe hosted magicians who came to the area to attend magic school as Colon is known as “The Magic Capitol Of the World.” They bought the Magic City Café and the secondhand store in Colon, which Joan enjoyed owning for a short time. Joan later went to classes and seminars on holistic and alternative health. She believed in the healing abilities of natural health for herself and others. After moving to Plainwell, Joan ran the Possibilities Styling Centers from 1994 through 2004.
Although she enjoyed her work, Joan loved nothing more than being with family. She hosted several family pool parties before her children and grandchildren moved out of state, and for many summers a member of the Plainwell High School swim team was hired to teach her grandchildren lessons in her pool. She and Joe were members of the 49er Club with friends who also graduated in 1949. The group met at a different restaurant every month. They did some traveling including a trip to California when Chris was 16, and they also went to Florida a few times, to Washington, D.C., and to Niagara Falls. They enjoyed Christmas at home until the boys were in Boy Scouts and they went on ski trips with the troops. Joan and Joe also traveled out of town for weddings. They bought a condo in Clearwater Beach, Florida. For years their sons and their families came down for Christmas and spring break. Later, they bought a home in Glenn where Joan lived for more than 20 years. She loved heading down the 65 steps by chair lift to the beach when she could, as enjoyed walking the dogs. Joan was a dog lover who had dogs throughout her entire life, usually a Cocker Spaniel, but she most recently rescued dogs and enjoyed the company of two dogs in the home at a time.
Always busy, Joan was a woman of many interests. She was an amazing cook, and she loved making up concoctions, although Joe was a picky eater who pretty much liked meat and potatoes. When the boys finally started trying what she made, they discovered how good her food actually was! Being the oldest of the boys, Chris was responsible for helping in the kitchen. Joan even made her own dog food for her dogs! When her kids were younger, she also kept a vegetable garden to so her family could enjoy fresh vegetables. She always maintained a flower garden, and a rock garden was "planted" both in Portage and at the home in Glenn from her many rock-collecting trips to the beach.
With unending love for others, Joan Nuyen touched the lives of so many in such a special way. She was known for being stubborn, but what mom of four boys wouldn’t be? Joan made sure her children and grandchildren knew how to work hard, and she even put her granddaughters’ boyfriends to work when they came to visit at the lake. She did make plenty of time for fun, too, and she loved hosting others whether it was exchange students, magicians who were studying their craft, local kids who needed a place to swim, or family and friends in her lake home. Life will never be the same without Joan here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
Joan passed away Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at the age of 85. She was born in Kalamazoo on January 4, 1932 to Helen and Waldo Siegfried. Joan married Joe Nuyen of Comstock in 1951. They were married for 61 years. She enjoyed entertaining family and friends at her beach house. Joan enjoyed traveling, gardening, cooking, and the theater. She also enjoyed walks on the beach with her dogs where she often collected driftwood and beach glass. Joan graduated from Western Michigan University with a BA in Education in 1967. She returned to receive her Masters in 1971. After spending time as an at-home mom, she entered a teaching career in the Portage Public School District. Following her career in teaching she was a Customer Service Liaison for Michigan Power. She owned and operated the Magic City Café and finished her career as owner of Possibilities Styling Centers. In addition, she was certified as a bodywork and massage therapist. Joan was preceded in death by her husband, Joe in 2012. She is survived by her brother, Phil Siegfried; four children: Chris (Kay) Nuyen of Plainwell, Marc (Kathy) Nuyen of Sultan, WA, Robin (Debra) Nuyen of Sherman Oaks, CA, and Kenrick (Jackie) Nuyen of Plainwell. Joan was proud of her eleven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. A funeral service will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, September 9 at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Dr; Kalamazoo (269-375-2900), the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service; lunch will follow the service in the Life Story Center. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to SPCA of SW Michigan, 6955 W KL Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49009.