Joyce Balka
Joyce Balka

July 1, 1923 - Oct. 14, 2016

ST. JOSEPH - Joyce Balka was born July 1, 1923 in Benton Harbor, Michigan to Glenn and Arlene (Peters) Shuler, and passed away Friday, October 14, 2016 surrounded by four generations of family. She met John Balka of South Bend, Indiana on the beach at Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor and fell in love. They were married on October 2, 1949, and Joyce lived in South Bend for 36 years before moving back to St. Joseph, Michigan in August of 1985. John preceded her in death on January 30, 1976.

Joyce worked at Peapples Ice Cream Store during high school, 1900 (Whirlpool) Corporation during World War II and V-M Corporation after the war. While living in South Bend, Joyce worked at Russ' Fine Foods Restaurant for 25 years and at Nylon Craft of Mishawaka, Indiana for nine years. Joyce was a graduate of Benton Harbor High School in 1941.

Joyce was a life-long member of New Life Church (formerly American Baptist) where she was a member of the 50 Year Club, served as an officer in the Women's Missionary Society and as a member of the Board of Deacons, and worked on various other church committees. She lived a faith-filled life and loved her church family and serving God here and in the community. She was also actively involved with the St. Joseph-Lincoln Senior Center where she enjoyed playing euchre and bingo; Widow to Widowers Club; W.C.A and Aqua-Exercise Class. She loved to read her daily devotions and newspaper, watch game shows on TV, and attend community concerts and programs. Joyce was a dedicated fan of Chicago Cub's baseball and Notre Dame Football. She and John were Notre Dame Football season ticket holders for close to 30 years and attended the games along with family and good friends. Joyce lived at Caretel Inns for the last two years and cherished the friendships she made and the activities she enjoyed.

Survivors include Joyce's sister, Janet Schack of South Haven, Michigan; brother, Reverend Donald (Meg) Shuler of Hudson Falls, New York; sisters-in-law, Ruth Shuler of Benton Harbor & Vera Miller of Madison, Alabama; as well as 25 nieces & nephews, 35 great-nieces & nephews, 8 great-great-nieces & nephews, cousins, church family and many dear friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Glenn & Arlene Shuler, husband ,John Balka, brother, Roland Shuler, brother & sister-in-law, Gordon & Florence Shuler, & brother-in-law, George Schack.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 2:00 P.M. Tuesday, October 18 at New Life Church, 3265 S. Cleveland Ave., St. Joseph, with Rev. Brian Rumer officiating. Friends may visit with the family beginning at 1:00 P.M. Tuesday at the church. A time of fellowship will follow the service. Joyce will be buried with her husband John in Highland-Riverview Cemetery in South Bend, Indiana. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to New Life Church or the St. Joseph-Lincoln Senior Center.

The family would like to thank Lakeland Medical Center & Caretel Inns and their staff and Joyce's many caregivers & friends for the care afforded her.

Published by South Bend Tribune from Oct. 16 to Oct. 18, 2016.
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2 Entries
I met Joyce only 20 months ago when my mother was placed at Caretel Inns and suffering from dementia. Joyce was so kind and caring to my mother. She became a friend to my mother immediately and helped my mom at meal time when my mom could not cut her food or read the menu. She loved my mom and told me so just days ago before her death. I will miss her. Loving thoughts and prayers to her family.
October 19, 2016
Joyce & Johnny were very close friends with my parents, Russ & Dorothy Goodpaster. Joyce remained a loyal friend for many years after John passed and after Russ' Fine Foods closed. She and John made sure they would lay in rest close to my parents in Highland. Joyce has been in my thoughts for many years. My condolences to her family. She will be missed by her family and friends and leaves a void that can't be filled. She was a wonderful person.
Janet Goodpaster-Gates
October 17, 2016
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