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Joyce Amelia (De Boer) Ekern, 89, formerly of Coon Valley passed away Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, surrounded by her loving family.

Joyce was born April 29, 1929, in La Crosse, to Peter and Georgianna De Boer. She was 10 months old when her mother passed away and lost her father as well at the age of seven. She was raised by her loving aunt and uncle Harry (Axel) and Edith (De Boer) Larson, attended Midway Grade School, and graduated from Holmen High School in 1947. After attending La Crosse Vocational School, Joyce worked for the Health Department in La Crosse City Hall and Allis Chalmers from 1948 to 1950, doing clerical work.

Joyce met her future husband, Harland Ekern, while dancing at the Avalon Ballroom and they were married May 3, 1950. They farmed just outside the Village of Coon Valley until 1966 and moved to the village in 1967. Joyce worked at the Coon Valley Creamery office from 1968 to 1985 and later did house cleaning work, worked as a volunteer at the Bethel Butikk and was a member of the Coon Valley Lutheran Church and WELCA.

Joyce and Harland raised three children, son, Gary (LuAnne) Ekern of Holmen, son Robert (Debra) Ekern of Brownsville and daughter, Betty Ekern (Bob Johnson) of Houston, Minn. After 37 years of marriage, Harland passed away Oct. 5, 1987. Joyce later enjoyed 25 years with a very special friend, Howard Mathison, who passed away July 31, 2015.

Our mother truly was loved by many. Her beautiful smiles when reminiscing about her life were precious. Her home was filled with pictures of what mattered the most to her … her family. She was blessed to have had seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, who each shared wonderful memories with her. She truly was a “Grandma” to all of them from teaching them how to play rap poker (She’d let them win) to taking them on hikes, to annual outings at Myrick Park and many overnights. She knew if there was a snow day from school that she’d be getting a phone call asking for a grandchild to spend the day. She always remembered her friends and family’s birthdays with a card or phone call. Mom loved to go visiting and to play 500 with friends and family. Over the years, she loved cooking and baking Christmas cookies for those whom she cherished.

Mom was the epitome of a wonderful caring wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. Her unconditional love will be so missed by her family. However, we will find peace knowing that she is now free from struggles and suffering and will have a blessed eternal life. Mom is now surely dancing in heaven with our Dad, with smiles beaming to their song “In the Mood,” and is now reunited with those she cherished who have passed before her. This was her wish … as she’d voiced a number of times. She once said that she was ready for her eternal life … but she didn’t want to leave her family behind … She won’t as we will all be reunited one day … and that will be a very glorious day.

Joyce is survived by her three children, and grandchildren, Jenny Ekern, Chad (Barbara) Ekern, Erin (Justin) Connolly, Jessica Ekern, Kristina (Brad) Seidel, Travis (Mandy) Schultz, Ryan (Gaby Lewis) Schultz and Lee (Leah) Rohrer. She is also survived by great-grandchildren, Khanye and Ty Sternke, Sam, Miles and Jack Connolly, Andrew and Amelia Ekern, Carter Seitz and Lenna Rohrer, Jaxon Seidel, Olivia Schultz, David Nance, Liliam Schultz; and by her brother, John (Mary) Larson; and half-brother, Bud (Geri) De Boer; sisters-in-law, Ione De Boer and Margie Ekern.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Margery; brothers, John and Gordon; and half-sister, Phyllis; brothers-in-law, Rufus Schmaltz, Myron Ekern and Neil Hoch; sisters-in-law, Romelle Larson, Ruby Skilbeck and husband, Howard, Dorothy Holen and husband, Arnie.

Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, at the Coon Valley Lutheran Church. The Rev. Ted Dewald will officiate with burial in the church cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Seland Funeral Home in Coon Valley and from noon until service time Wednesday at the church.

Online condolences may be given at selandsfuneralhome.com.

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