2018-09-08 / Obituaries

Joan Nephew


Joan Nephew Joan Nephew Joan Carol Nephew (née Reinhardt) passed away on Mackinac Island surrounded by her loving family on August 31, 2018, at the age of 87. Joan was born in Boyne Falls on July 7, 1931 and was the beloved only child of Doris Reinhardt (née Anderson) and Carl Reinhardt. Joan spent a happy childhood running around the family’s farm in Boyne with her cousins, fishing with her father, and rebuffing the crushes of young men from Boyne and its environs. At the age of 17, Joan agreed to go on a date with one of these young men, Frank Nephew (a “jack pine savage” as she lovingly called him). Frank successfully wooed Joan with his charm, unsurpassed sports skills, good looks, and a new red Ford. In part because of the latter, Joan and Frank wed in September of 1949, a marriage which overcame the misgivings of her doting father to last nearly seventy years.

Joan was the matriarch of the Nephew clan, a family filled with powerful women and a couple of sweet men. The life and business that she and Frank built together was extraordinary. Her contributions to the family business were behind the scenes, but her numerous skills were an integral part of the success. Her most meaningful legacy is the tight-knit, witty, and (perhaps) overly sarcastic family that she nurtured and led. Joan’s most cherished moments were the many occasions in which the whole family got together.

Joan’s impact reverberated outside her family. After her marriage, she became a powerful advocate and a local leader for the rights of disabled children. She despised hatefulness and intolerance, and was always the first to greet anyone she encountered with sincere kindness and an open mind.

Unlike many, Joan became ever wiser with age. She was the trusted and beloved confidant to her husband, daughters, and grandchildren and she spent countless hours on the phone with each of them. Her family leaned on Joan through their hardest moments, and always found in her thoughtful wisdom, a spark of humor, and little patience for nonsense (“I’m too German” was a common refrain). Joan was intellectually curious, and reaped deep pleasure from watching her grandchildren go to college and explore the world. She and Frank proudly attended every middle school, high school, and college graduation. Fortunately, Frank and Joan were not just happy bystanders to their family’s adventures, but were also active participants. Frank and Joan hosted most of their family every summer and most holidays, and were able to travel together extensively throughout Europe and the United States.

While we feel deep pain at the loss of Joan, we are also acutely aware of how lucky we are to have had her in our lives, leading us, advising us and, most of all, unconditionally loving us. With Frank, Joan built an incredibly close family whose inner workings transformed the life of each member meaningfully. We will love her always and strive to live up to her example.

Frank and Joan are survived by their children Nancy Porter, Steven Nephew, Cheryl (Robert) Jaquiss, and Dawn (Nir) Lehrer; and their grandchildren Sarah Porter (Johnny Morris), William (Simone Wren) Jaquiss, Caroline (Jack Kearney) Jaquiss, Annie Porter (Keegan Hitz), Audrey Jaquiss, Danielle Lehrer, and Ben Lehrer.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband Frank Nephew, and her son-in-law Armin Porter.

A Celebration of Joan’s life is planned at the Beach House Restaurant on Deer Lake in Boyne Falls on Sunday September 30th, from 12-2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her honor to the Mackinac Island Firefighters Association, P.O. Box 122, Mackinac Island, MI 49757; the Mackinac Island Community Foundation Cancer Fund, P.O. Box 1933, Mackinac Island, MI 49757; or Planned Parenthood of Michigan, P.O. Box 3673, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.

- As submitted by the family of

Joan Carol Nephew

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