Joyce Ann (Regis) Howell was born 29 Dec 1930, the first of two children, to Norval G. and Twilah C. (May) Regis at the family home on Colby Road in Evergreen Twp., Montcalm Co., Michigan.
Joyce was raised and educated in Stanton, Michigan, was very active in high school, and graduated valedictorian. She married Leon G. Howell, Jr. on 14 Oct 1948 at the Regis home.
Joyce and Lee, who worked for Stanton Gas Company, moved to Stanton and Joyce began working for Dr. Carl Hansen. The couple spent much time with relatives, and remained very connected to family their entire lives. And between the families’ long local histories and their own jobs as gas serviceman and physician’s assistant, they grew to know just about everyone in the county.
Their first son Curtis Lee was born on 2 Feb 1950, and soon afterward Joyce and Lee built and moved into a new home on the corner of State and Bradford Streets. For about two years, they also owned and managed Brownie’s Restaurant. Joyce returned to her physician’s assistant job, working for Dr. Hansen until 1976. While all this was taking place, two more children came along, too: Douglas Duane on 29 Oct 1952, and Doreen Kaye on 23 Feb 1956.
In 1960, the couple bought an 80-acre farm in Sidney Twp., gradually expanding its existing apple orchard to some 2,400 trees and following Joyce’s father and grandfather into the orchard business. In 1974, the Howells built a vacation house on the Little Manatee River, near Joyce’s grandparents’ place in Florida.
After Lee’s 1983 retirement, he and Joyce owned and operated Howell’s Apple Ranch in Stanton for about 10 years, providing a retail outlet for their apples, cider and donuts. They were very active in the First Congregational Church in Stanton.
The couple’s retirement was shared between Michigan and Florida for many happy years. After Lee died in 2006, Joyce continued dividing her time between her two homes and visiting family.
Joyce died peacefully on 6 Nov 2021 in Sun City Center, Florida, after a long battle with Parkinson’s. Family and friends mourn a fiercely independent woman, one who was unfailingly hospitable, caring for not only her own children but aunts, uncles and grandparents, and hosting a dizzying array of dinners and events for friends and family alike. We all carry her love in our hearts, and look forward to meeting her again in heaven one day.
Joyce was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Arlen N., and her husband Lee. She is survived by her children, Curtis L. and Karen M. (Wilson) Howell of Ruskin, FL; Douglas D. Howell and David C. Glaser of Kea`au, HI; Dee and Doreen K. (Howell) Groff of Pinson, TN; her grandchildren, Jamie L. Rivard of Sterling Heights, MI; Christopher M. Howell and Francisco Mora-Andrés of London, England; Christopher S. and Susan K. (Howell) Wood of Columbia, SC; and her great-grandchildren, Mackenzie and Madison Rivard, and Caleb, Luke, and Jonah Wood.
A Memorial Service is being held on Friday, July 29th, 2022 at 11:00 am at the Stanton First Congregational Church, Stanton Michigan. (305 N. Camburn St. )
Donations for Parkinson’s research can be made in Joyce’s honor at michaeljfox.org/donate, or by calling (800) 708-7644.