Joan's Story

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Joan Mary Rutherford, 79, of Lake Leelanau, entered into eternal joy Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at her home with her loving family at her side.
Joan was born March 8, 1938, in Detroit, to Francis George Wallace Kearns and Sophia Angeline (Guzdzial) Kearns. On Sept. 6, 1958 at St. Dennis Church of Royal Oak, she married John Frank Rutherford who survives. They most enjoyed music and dancing together. Her marriage was first with her and her love for John was beautiful.
Always the life of the party, you'd see Joan leading the conga line and toasting with a glass of Merlot! Joan's love of taking pictures and posting them online is treasured now more than ever in the memories they provide. Joan was an excellent cook and would create huge Thanksgiving meals for upwards of forty people. The kids especially remember her molasses cookies, kapusta, and pumpkin pies.
Her 12 grandchildren were her joy! She was their fierce protector and confidant. Meema had a way of praising her grandchildren and they all knew they were her favorite! A lady of strong faith, Joan loved St. Mary's Church and School. She enjoyed the chicken dinners and playing bingo. She was the director of the Leelanau County Chamber of Commerce and earned the Citizen of the Year award upon retirement. An exceptional secretary and bookkeeper, she worked for Electric Motor Repair and Service and Harris Properties. Her hobbies included Scrabble, Canasta, crosswords, journaling, and spending time with her grandchildren.
Joan is survived by her loving husband of 59 years, John; her three children, Janine (Jeffrey) Winkler, Cindy Rutherford, Caroline (Basil) Bardenhagen; her siblings, Irene Atchison, Laura Wachlarz, Judy (Phil) Cunningham; her brother and sisters-in-law, Danny Paciocco, Richard (Sue) Rutherford, and Lyane Kearns; and her 12 grandchildren, Andrew Zeits (son of Cindy), Ellen, John, Steven, Maria, and Joseph Winkler, and Jack, Matthew, Sophia, Clarice, Lillian, and Francis Bardenhagen.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and her siblings, Kenneth and Larry Kearns and Jeanette Paciocco.
Visitation will be held Friday, Sept. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. with the rosary to be prayed at 7 p.m. at the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay. The Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23 at St. Mary's Church of Lake Leelanau, with the family greeting family and friends at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery. Fr. Bryan Medlin will serve as celebrant.
Memorials may be directed to The James Harris Memorial Scholarship, c/o David Baldwin, The Prospectors Club, 5600 W. MacFarlane Rd., Glen Arbor, MI 49636.
Please share memories and condolences at www.martinson.info.
Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Leelanau.
Published on September 19, 2017
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