Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes

1730 East Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI


Joseph Ortiz

March 30, 1959September 17, 2019
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Joseph “Joe” Ortiz, 60, of Haslett, Michigan passed away unexpectedly on September 17, 2019. Joe was born on March 30, 1959 in New York, New York, the son of Jose Ortiz and Carmen Lydia Maldonado-Ortiz.

Joe attended Michigan State University where he graduated with honors earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He continued his formal education with three years of Medical School also at Michigan State University.

Joe spent most of his life in and around the Lansing area from his days of being an Resident Assistant at Hubbard and Wilson Halls at MSU to his continued education and work life. He was a “Spartie” through and through, evidenced by his license plate namesake: “MSU Joe”.

Joe succeeded in many professions, he was one of the most popular DJs in Puerto Rico at Sal Soul 98 radio station; he worked for many years in pharmacy sales for three major pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly where he received an award for achieving sales in the top ten percent of the nation. Joe’s most current role as Adjunct Professor at Lansing Community College has earned him great admiration from both his students and fellow faculty.

Joe was a kind, giving and generous person who helped every and anyone that he met. He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to tell his own jokes, some more successful than others. He filled the room with his boisterous personality and his hearty laugh. He also had a special place in his heart for animals and provided a home for many that he rescued. Everyone he met loved him.

Above all his professional and personal success, Joe considered his most significant accomplishment to be his marriage of 34 years to his wife, Suzan and the tremendous circle of family, friends and neighbors they built together over the years.

Joe was preceded in death by his father, Jose and is survived by his wife Suzan, his mother Carmen, his brother Robert, his family Diana (Ali) Benli, Deniz (Onur) Baser, Jonathan (Voula) Sonbay, Janan (John) Snyder and Kenan (Caroline) Sonbay. He also was a very special uncle to: Omer, Katie, Isabel, Alex, Luke, Eve and Olivia.

The family will receive friends and family on Saturday, September 21st from 11:00 – 4:00 pm (Funeral at 4 pm) and on Sunday, September 22nd from 9:00 – 12:00 pm at the Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home, 1730 E Grand River Ave, East Lansing.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Joe’s favorite non-profit organizations: The Capital Area Humane Society, 7095 W. Grand River Ave., Lansing, MI 48906 or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, PO Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38108-9908.

Condolences can be made at www.greastlansing.com


  • Visitation Saturday, September 21, 2019
  • Funeral Service Saturday, September 21, 2019
  • Visitation Sunday, September 22, 2019


Joseph Ortiz

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Evan Deutsch

October 4, 2019

I am in shock. Joe, Bobby and I lived together in Hubbard and roomed together in an apartment in the summer one year. There were other guys living in the apartment as well. We used to laugh at Bobby and Joe swearing at each other in Spanish because we didn't have a clue what they were saying. But we knew that for all their fighting, they still loved each other.

After graduation, we went our own ways. Bobby reached out to me three years ago and he, Joe and I had lunch together a few years ago. Wish we could do it again.

Tony Gonzalez

September 22, 2019

Joe and I stayed in contact via phone without visiting each other for over 30 years. However, that changed 4 years ago when John and I coordinated a surprise visit to his classroom. We he saw us, he came directly to me and we embraced in the most beautiful "HUGH" ever. To great friends showing true friendship and love for one another. Just letting you know, That was Joe...
Rest in Peace my Brother!

Sue Hamel-Miller

September 22, 2019

Tami called me and shared the loss of Joe. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. I'm so glad I had a chance to see you and Joe this summer. One of my many memories of Joe was the Halloween party where he came as Chef Emeril. Too funny. Joe was a great guy.

Dominique Brianna

September 22, 2019

I am one of Joes former students and one of Suzan’s current colleges, so I like to think I got the best of both worlds. I’ll never forgot the kindness he showed me, as a teacher and as a human being. Joe had a way of believing in you, so confidently that you had no choice but to believe in yourself. Every positive review he had on the professor rating sites was earned, because he genuinely cared. Joe was a treasure, to know him was to love him, I extend my condolences to his family and friends, thank you for sharing him.

Patricia McKay

September 21, 2019

I met Joe when his brother Robert and I began as adjuncts at the college. Joe and Robert had so much contagious energy and good humor. Work was fun! What struck me about Joe was his humanity and concern for people, colleagues, and his family. He made me feel so genuinely welcome in my new work environment; it was refreshing. He cared about "people". He always had time to reach into our souls. He is missed. May we all carry forward a little bit of Joe in our souls and lives.

Tatyana Beckett (Orlova)

September 21, 2019

My deepest condolences to Suzan and your whole family! Very sorry to hear about such a loss! I had a pleasure of taking a class and learning so much from Joe , he was truly a gifted teacher. Taking anatomy in my second language was very intimidating but Joe made this learning experience truly enjoyable ! He is not only the loss to his family but to the community and all the people he touched along the way! May his soul Rest In Peace and my heart aches with all of you ! May God comfort the family and everyone grieving for Joe! Truly wonderful man with the smile on his face !

Maureen & Richard Lerner

September 21, 2019

We are heartbroken to hear of Joe's passing. He was a wonderful man, a great addition to the Sonbay family, and we will always remember his infectious smile and positive attitude. Please accept our most sincere condolences.

Sonia Cataquet

September 21, 2019

We grew up together from 4th grade to High School in the same group and he was always so kind and a joyfull guy. It was a blessing having him in our lives. See you in Heaven .Blessings to his family

Julian Alverio

September 21, 2019

I'll remember Joe for his charismatic conversations, his warm smile, and his yet warmer embraces. It was truly a blessing to have been able to spend time with him and seek advice from him while I was growing up.

John Alverio

September 21, 2019

You blessed my life with your friendship. You were there when I needed help. You were the best "padrino" in the world for Jonathan and Julian. I will miss you every day. I will miss being able to call you and joke about our times in Puerto Rico. I will miss you for many other reasons.

Te quiero hermano


Surprise 60th for Joe and Ali!


Family times


Celebrating love at Kenan's wedding


Visiting New York


Happy moments, happy life