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Life Story / Obituary
Joyce was born on October 17, 1957 in Allegan, MI to Darlene (Groen) and John Seekman. Darlene divorced John and later married Richard LaFountaine. With both families combined, Joyce was the the third of 11 children. She had six brothers: Joe, Moe, Jerry, Todd, Dennis, and Dell, and four sisters: Jeanie, Joni, Shari, and Diana. Joyce attended school in Otsego until second grade but switched to Martin Public Schools with her family’s move to a new farm. It didn’t take long to acclimate to the new school and she immediately made a lifelong friend, named Tammy.
Life on the family farm did not offer much in the way of entertainment, but Joyce managed to keep herself busy. She once told a story of a drag race she and a friend had on a backcountry road in Martin in her friend’s Impala versus a Camaro that ended in a photo finish. The farm had cows and horses, and Joyce enjoyed spending time riding the horses with her siblings. She was also very involved with school athletics, playing volleyball, basketball, and running track for Martin High School. It was during this time that Joyce began to develop the work ethic that she would exhibit throughout her life. In addition to her schoolwork, sports obligations, and chores on the farm, she also held down a job washing dishes and cooking at the Carriage Stop.
Joyce graduated high school in 1976 and soon after landed a job at Murco. She worked at Murco for three years and worked various other jobs until starting with Perrigo in 1989. While at Perrigo she worked in the mixing department, and at the warehouse out in Martin. She retired from Perrigo in August of 2017 after 28 years of service. Joyce dreamt of joining the Peace Corps in her younger years and still entertained the idea of joining after she retired.
Joyce’s life didn’t revolve soley around work. She married Roger Sours in 1978 and had two wonderful daughters, Amy and Angie. Although the marriage ended, she came away with the loves of her life, her daughters. Shortly after divorcing, Joyce kindled a new relationship with Bob “Bubba” Leslie. Bob and Joyce were married in the summer of 1995. On top of raising her daughters and working full time, Joyce also became co-owner of Bubba’s Sports Bar in Allegan with Bob. The pub opened on her birthday and still remains open to this day. Joyce acted as a silent partner but enjoyed helping out when needed until her divorce from Bob in 2005.
Joyce believed in working hard, but also in having a good time. Over the years she remained active, bowling in many leagues and playing slow pitch softball, winning several district and state championships. Joyce was an avid sports fan and forever faithful to her favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. She was also known to have a mischievous streak. At the holidays, family and friends would have to be on the lookout for “creative” wrapping. At social gatherings, especially if there were a few drinks involved, if Joyce was around you could often count on a full moon.
Joyce loved to travel and find new adventures. When her kids were younger she took them on trips to Mackinac Island, camping up north, and even took them on a trip to Disney World. Later on she enjoyed traveling with her sister Jeanie, making many treks to Pittsburgh to see their beloved Steelers. She also visited Alaska, Hawaii, and took her daughters on a family trip to Jamaica. On one trip to Mexico she ventured out to do some snorkeling and zip lining, which she was super scared to do, but once she conquered her fear she ended up loving it. Joyce loved spending time in the sun, and it showed with her trips to Florida to visit a long time friend, Star, and the many Sundays spent at her sister Jeanie’s pool. She also took many trips out to Reno for bowling nationals, although those trips were more for fun and gambling than the actual sport of bowling. After buying a Jeep for her fiftieth birthday, Joyce enjoyed many Jeep adventures with her Dad and one of her best friends, Kelly.
In recent years Joyce joined the family harness horse racing business, Seekman Racing, with her brother Joe and his wife Tina. Joyce loved going to the track to watch her horse race or just going down to the barn to help take care of the horses. She also found herself as a member of the Otsego Moose Lodge for over 10 years where she served as a bartender, and worked in the kitchen when needed. In her spare time, Joyce was an avid reader. Over the years, she acquired an extensive collection of Pittsburgh Steelers memorabilia and Native American pieces. She was also notorious for saving and collecting her change in large jars and jugs, a hobby that paid for at least one family trip.
More than anything, Joyce enjoyed any opportunity to bring family and friends together, especially during the holiday season. For many years, family Thanksgiving was held at her house. Christmas was her favorite holiday, and it was an annual tradition to gather in her kitchen to bake her famous pumpkin roll and monster cookies. Joyce will be remembered as someone who was always there for her daughters, her extended family, and her softball, bowling, and Moose families. She was always willing to help out when someone was in need.
In 2014 Joyce was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and after surgery and six treatments over almost six months, she was in remission and back to work, as busy as ever. In mid 2017 Joyce’s cancer returned, and after a long fight she died at home surrounded by family on December 3, 2018.
Visitation will be held from 4 - 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at McCowen & Secord, Life Story Funeral Home, after which she will be cremated. Her celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, December 6 at the Otsego Moose Lodge. The family requests that attendees wear the logo of their favorite sports team. In lieu of flowers the family asks donations to be made to Wings of Hope Hospice.