Joyce Walkowiak

January 26, 1942 - January 28, 2017
Portage, MI



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.

St. Jude Cancer Center
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105
(866) 278-5833
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Joyce Lorraine Walkowiak, age 75, passed away at her home in Portage surrounded by her family, on Saturday, January 28, 2017. She was born on January 26,1942 in Chicago, Illinois to Roman and Josephine Wielgus. She is survived by her husband William Ronald Walkowiak and three children, Lynn, William, and Julie; as well as her sister Sylvia Swegle; and brother Ron Wielgus. She leaves behind two beloved grandchildren, Hunter and Mia, who will miss their grandmother "to the moon and back" (as they would say to her between visits).

To her husband she will always remain his Blossom Princess, which she was crowned in Chicago. They celebrated 53 years of marriage and traveled all over the world together, exploring a variety of locations for both work and pleasure.

Joyce held an MBA from Western Michigan University. Throughout her career she held many roles, from entry level to C-suite, handling business for both domestic and international affairs; to teaching at Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College as an adjunct professor. She was loved by her students and she thoroughly enjoyed teaching them. In her work at the FBI, Joyce had some incredible stories to share from her experiences. Joyce also worked at Upjohn and the Battle Creek VA in an administrative capacity.

It is rare to meet someone like Joyce, both incredibly smart and stunningly beautiful. She was graceful and peaceful in her demeanor, and always knew just what to say to lift sprits and guide people in her life. Her garden was a place of sanctuary and she perfected her skills as a rosarian, winning several awards for her roses. She also raised canaries and received awards for her favorite bird Bandit, who was finger trained.

Her family will greatly miss her stories. She was an incredible storyteller developed from years of reading Encyclopedia Britannica as a child and many biographies and autobiographies over the years. In particular, she was knowledgeable about many things and was a source of foundational strength for her children. The countless conversations over tea will be the way she is remembered by those who loved her the most.

Joyce did not desire a funeral, but instead wanted to be remembered as she was in life: bright, shining and a joy to all she met. In lieu of flowers, donations to the St. Jude Cancer Center are appreciated, as Joyce loved children, and struggled with cancer. One movie that she watched with her children said it best when the main character passed away, "A lady always knows when to leave the room," and Joyce was just that - a lady who was timeless. A memorial will be planned at a future date. Please visit where you can sign her memory book online or share a photo or memory.