Joan Converse

May 1, 1932August 7, 2018

Joan Converse passed away on the evening of August 7, 2018 after 63 years of marriage to her beloved husband, Gordon. Joan was born in Alma, Michigan on May 1, 1932 to Albert and Eva (Hamlin) Kolar. Gordon and Joan were married on June 18, 1955 and moved to Elk Rapids, Michigan in July of that year. They built their life, business and raised their two children in Elk Rapids.

Joan attended Stephens College in Missouri for one year and then graduated from Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan with an Associate Degree in Radio and TV Broadcasting. She was one of 6 runners up for the Miss Michigan Aviation in 1953. She was a disc jockey for WFYC in Alma, Michigan (often dedicating music to her fiance’ Gordon) until their marriage in 1955.

In 1974 Joan became the secretary for Lakeland Elementary School in Elk Rapids and spent the next 20 years assisting principals, many teachers, aides and children. She retired in 1994 and it was then that Gordon and Joan began to spend their winters in Florida. Joan was also an active member of the Rotary Anns for 18 years while Gordon was a member of the Elk Rapids Rotary Club. In 2012, Joan and Gordon were honored to be the Grand Marshalls of the Harbor Days Parade in Elk Rapids.

Over the years, Joan enjoyed painting, drawing, camping, traveling, clipping recipes and cooking. She was a gourmet cook and her specialty was Hors d’oeuvres and entertaining. Her home was always open and welcoming with the smells of something cooking. Family and friends all agree that Joan had the gift of hospitality and was always prepared to have a full 4 course meal for anyone stopping by. She loved feeding and caring for her family and friends and was a lover of dogs. She was an avid golfer, as well, and could out drive many men! Joan also loved to dance and when the music started, she just had to move.

Joan is survived by her beloved husband, Gordon and her two children, Gordie (Patti) Converse, and Connie (Jeff) Nault; 6 grandchildren, Kelly (Jeff) Converse-Burdick, Jeffrey (Duffer) Converse, Torrie (Kramer) Baker, Kyle (Jesse) Kramer, Alex (Jessica) Nault, and Tracey (Dan) Drogt, and 7 great- grandchildren, Preston, Layla, MaryJane, VeraLee, AraBella, Jayden and Kylie and her brother, Bud (Carole) Kolar. Joan was preceded in death by her parents.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the Emergency responders in Elk Rapids and the Emergency Care team at Munson Hospital.

Cremation has taken place and Joan’s family will have a “Celebration of Life” on September 9, 2018 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Edward C. Grace Harbor Pavilion. Memorial donations may be directed to Acme Christian Thrift Store & Food Pantry, 8925 M-72 E., Williamsburg, MI 49690, or to Silver Muzzle Cottage (Senior dog placement) 3785 Rice Rd. N.W., Rapid City, MI 49676, Please visit Joan’s online memorial at

Arrangements have been entrusted to Covell Funeral Home of Elk Rapids.


9 September

Memorial Service

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Edward C. Grace Harbor Pavilion

Elk Rapids, Michigan


Joan Converse

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Donald McNeill Ii

August 11, 2018

I have many wonderful memories of great food and wonderful times with Joan who was beatiful inside and out. She will leave a hole in the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing her. She is surely dancing with the angels.

Jennifer Burch

August 10, 2018

I'm so very sorry to hear this, I remember her from Lakeland when I went to school there! What a great lady!

Katherine Sherbet

August 10, 2018

Like my second mother...door always open and never left hungry!!...many many fond memories of families all gathering and camping!!...too many great memories to share!!..we were a tight knit group with many father's and mothers...when they listened!!! questions!!