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We are saddened to mark the passing of Joyce Marie Gill (VanVelzor) on September 14, 2022.  She was a much loved wife, mother, sister and Aunt to her many, many nieces and nephews.  She will also be mourned and missed by her many friends and co-workers she encountered throughout her life.

Joyce was born March 4, 1964 in Dearborn, Michigan to John Thomas VanVelzor and Jo Ethel VanVelzor (Rimmer).  She lived and grew up with four brothers and her sister in Walled Lake Michigan where she graduated from Walled Lake Western High School and participated in many activities including band, track and basketball where- according to her- she held the single game rebounding school record.  A record that sadly would only last one year.

She began her professional career in the mid-eighties with O/E Learning and moved to the St. Louis, Missouri area.  During this time she earned a bachelor’s degree in business systems from Southern Illinois Edwardsville.  At the dawn of the personal computer era, she taught introductory computer classes and various programs to UAW workers for 25 years.  The last several years she has taught computer to K-2 students at Windsor Elementary in Kimmswick Missouri.  If asked, she will freely tell you the K-2 were much easier to teach.

It was also during this time that she met and married James Gill on June 4 1994.  A year later they bought a home and have remained in Imperial Missouri ever since.  In 1997 Jim and Joyce welcomed their son, Jared Alan Gill into their family.  This tight knit trio would then spend the next 25 years enjoying a shared love of camping, games and travel while sharing the love of many family and friends.

It’s hard to describe a person’s life or sum up who they were.  Their likes and dislikes. Merits and faults.  The nature of their character.  Joyce had many wonderful qualities.  She loved camping and a good campfire.  She was crafty and had a skill with computer graphics as she made many greeting cards and calendars for family and friends over the years.  She had that natural ability to make personal things that could bring out the happiness in others.  And the will to devote the time to do them.  She was the go-to person for many projects at the school where she worked including after school clubs for robotics and programming for second graders. She had a great love of travel and her, Jim and Jared logged many miles on the road and through the air visiting their many family members throughout the country including yearly treks to Florida and the Keys at Christmas time.  She also had a love of cards and games that she played with a ferocious competitiveness which, much to many of our chagrin, she was pretty good at.   That competitiveness and will would serve her and define her throughout life.

In the very early nineties Joyce would develop a rare blood disorder that would spread to her kidneys and cause them to fail. The next 18 months would bring many days in and out of hospitals until she received a kidney from her loving cousin Julie Gardziola.  Julie’s gracious and generous gift gave us our Joyce for the next 28 years. Throughout the ups and downs of those years, Joyce steadfastly refused to let her health define her life. With her competitiveness she defined it. Her will allowed her to live the life she wanted.  A life filled with adventure, laughs and love.  She had a love for all of her family and a special place in her heart for Silver Lake on the shores of Lake Michigan.  A place she spent a week with her family and cousins every year of her life. She had a strong love for her parents and her four brothers and sister.  But what truly set Joyce apart was the special love and bond she had for her many nieces and nephews.  She was the epitome of what an aunt should be.  She became a part of their lives from birth to adulthood and now to their children.  She offered love and support and would go to great lengths to be there at important events in their lives. When she couldn’t, she would let them know that someone was thinking and caring about them. She was always their friend, confidant and champion.  Sadly, there is a hole in a great many hearts today that may never be filled.

Above all, despite aging and health, Joyce was still had the heart and soul of the young girl she was growing up with her siblings and cousins at the lake.  Playing with the younger children, community activities, maybe a little mischievous activity and annual events where friends and family gathered.  These things brought her as much joy as she brought to others.  She will be in our hearts and our memories forever.

She is survived by her Loving husband James Gill; Son Jared Gill; Siblings Rhonda Daugherty (Dan), Kevin VanVelzor, Tom VanVelzor, Jeff VanVelzor (Trish);Nieces and nephews Brian VanVelzor (Kendra), Bruce VanVelzor (Sarabeth) Nicole VanVelzor,  Kristin Daugherty, Nathan Daugherty (Jamie), Megan Edwards (Brian), Jonathan VanVelzor, Tyler VanVelzor, Jennifer VanVelzor, Kyle VanVelzor Martina McCaughey (Lance) Edward VanVelzor (Samantha) Julee-Anna Preuit (Shane), , Katherine VanVelzor, Gregory VanVelzor; Great nieces and nephews Samantha VanVelzor, Victoria VanVelzor, Hannah VanVelzor, Evan VanVelzor,  Ethen Siglock, Savanna Siglock, Natalie Daugherty, Lucas Daugherty, Bradden Edwards, Brennen Edwards, Killian McCaughey, Magdy VanVelzor, Ari VanVelzor, Liam VanVelzor, Elias VanVelzor,

Services: Visitation at KUTIS SOUTH COUNTY CHAPEL 5255 Lemay Ferry Rd, on Sunday, September 18, from 3 – 6 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family is currently organizing a scholarship fund in Joyce’s name.  Please keep in your thoughts as we provide more information on this site and social media.