Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

JoAnn Boven

July 9, 1949 - June 19, 2019
Cedar Lake, Marcellus, MI



Friday, June 21, 2019
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and drinks will be served.

Driving Directions

Mass of Christian Burial

Saturday, June 22, 2019
10:00 AM EDT
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church
1150 West Centre Avenue
Portage, MI 49024
(269) 324-5165

Interment Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Following burial, food and fellowship will be shared back at the church hall.

Web Site


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.

Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan
222 N. Kalamazoo Mall, Ste. 100
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 345-0273
Driving Directions
Web Site

American Cancer Society Discovery Shop
4502 West Main Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
(269) 345-0661
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


JoAnn Boven was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend to many. Her vibrant personality could light up any room. A generous, driven, and dedicated woman, she lived her life with great passion. JoAnn selflessly modeled acceptance for each and every person she met. She found her greatest reward in the family she so deeply loved. Although she will be deeply missed, JoAnn leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for her family and special friends to cherish for years to come.

After many years of suffering through the depression and World War II, the year 1949 brought much-needed prosperity. Televisions and cars were getting bigger and gaining in popularity in a growing consumer society. In the midwest town of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Harold and Evelyn (Nelson) Greenfield welcomed home their newborn daughter, JoAnn, on July 9th. Born to a hard-working purchasing agent and a caring homemaker, her birth brought great joy to their lives.

Growing up on the east side of Kalamazoo, JoAnn, and her older sister, Mary lived a typical childhood of the times. Sadly, when they were still very young, their mother passed away from cancer. As a result, she and Mary remained especially close from then on. JoAnn attended Villa St. Anthony, a private all-girls school in Comstock before transferring to St. Mary’s. Active throughout her childhood, she enjoyed playing the piano, participating in the local 4-H, swimming, as well as figure skating and roller skating. As a family, they made many lasting memories vacationing up north or planning day picnics to the shoreline of South Haven. After some time at St. Augustine’s, JoAnn completed her education and graduated with the Class of 1967 from O’Brien High School. During her teen years, JoAnn remained very involved with sports and school activities. She enjoyed playing softball and basketball while managing a part-time job at Schentzel’s downtown. Despite her busy work and sports schedule, she kept her social calendar full as she never passed up spending time with her close friends.

After taking her initial classes with Kalamazoo Valley Community College, JoAnn pursued a career as a dental assistant where she worked for Dr. Hartman. During the course of her twenty-five-year career, she worked her way into the office manager position. JoAnn had a special knack with people. She seemed to understand them from their very first meeting and made many lasting friendships during her years at the office. Clients and staff alike looked forward to her positive outlook and easy-going personality which brought a special feeling to the work setting. She was especially close with her friend, Linda Hubbard whom she met during those years. Not to be forgotten, however, were her two wonderful children; Mark and Kristin from her first marriage of twenty-eight years. JoAnn took her role as a mother very seriously, and never missed out on any of her kids’ special school events or sports activities. During the summer months, although the kids were busy with camps and summer programs, they always saved time for a vacation to the beautiful Traverse City area. Florida was often their destination at Christmastime where they enjoyed the warmer weather and some time at the beach before heading back to the doldrums of another Michigan winter. Her children never doubted the love she held for them during their growing years as there simply wasn’t anything that JoAnn wouldn’t do for the two of them.

JoAnn always put her family first, yet also shared many special interests over the years. She was an exceptional baker and everyone loved her famous chocolate chip cookies. She was also an avid crafter. She and her sister, Mary, and their girlfriends often got together to create enough inventory to attend the local shows. Creative and artistic, they often made more than enough! JoAnn also enjoyed scrapbooking and making special calendars for the kids over the years. She also enjoyed reading as a favorite pastime. She favored mostly romantic novels and short stories, yet also read a fair share of magazines. Remarkably, she found time for volunteering for the American Cancer Discovery Shop once a week and the Kalamazoo Humane Society. All in all, JoAnn cherished her time with her growing family. She absolutely loved hosting large family gatherings, especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each holiday she paid attention to even the smallest details making sure her family felt the love she held in her heart for each and every one of them. As much as she enjoyed her years as a mother, being a grandmother was her greatest joy! It was not uncommon for her to fill her calendar with their special events ensuring that she wouldn't miss attending a single one! Indeed, she was their biggest fan.

As fate would have it, Jim Boven came into her life at just the right time. A close friend of her sister-in-law, they were introduced and dated for four years before joining in marriage on February 21, 2004, in Clermont, Florida. The two of them enjoyed traveling and often took their fifth wheeler up north. Soon their children bought campers and they made many family traditions of camping together. JoAnn’s knack for home decorating was the perfect match for Jim’s fixer-uppers! He would do the remodeling and she would complete the task of selecting the finishes and colors for the homes they prepared to sell. She and Jim remodeled a beautiful home in Cedar Lake where they remained sharing many wonderful memories together. During their fifteen-year marriage, they spent their winters in Florida as well as went on cruises including a special trip to Alaska. On each of their trips, JoAnn would purchase a sterling spoon to add to her collection she inherited from her Aunt Charlotte. Described as loving, caring, and genuinely happy, JoAnn modeled living life to the fullest. May her legacy of being compassionate toward others be reflected in the hearts of her many special friends and loved ones forevermore.

JoAnn M. Boven, age 69, of Cedar Lake, Marcellus, died peacefully at her home on June 19, 2019. She worked as a dental assistant and was a member of St. Mary’s Church in Paw Paw and St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Portage. JoAnn was preceded in death by her sister, Mary Clay; and grandson, Nathan Fruin. Members of her family include her loving husband of 15 years, Jim A. Boven; her children: Mark (Laurie) Hancock and Kristin (Jason) Burk; Jim’s children: Mark (Penny) Boven and Linda (Charlie) Fruin; nine special grandchildren: Katelyn and Abby Hancock, Elise, Caysee and Cole Burk, Sarah (Sam) Anderson, Alex Fruin, Grace (John) Goodrich and Jacob (Kaitlyn) Boven; a great-granddaughter, Evelynn Boven; many nieces and nephews, and her furry companion; her dog, Suzy. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on from 5-7 PM on Friday, June 21st at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 AM on Saturday, June 22nd at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church. Burial will be held at Mt. Olivet Cemetery followed by lunch in the church hall. Please visit JoAnn’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society Discovery Shop – Kalamazoo or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.