We are heartbroken as Joyce (Merkes) Van Fossen, our treasured mom, grandma and great grandma, left this earthly life on August 27, 2022 for God’s heavenly kingdom.
Joyce was born on July 10, 1936 in Appleton WI to the late Walter and Della (Nettekoven) Merkes. Joyce grew up on the family farm and attended Twin Willows one room school house. She graduated from Appleton High School in 1954.
Joyce married Robert “Bob” Van Fossen on May 18, 1957 at St. Therese Parish in Appleton. Together they had 3 children and were blessed with almost 57 years of marriage until Bob’s passing April 22, 2014.
Joyce was a member of St. Pius X Parish for over 62 years. She was devoted to her Catholic faith. We always depended on her prayers and wise words. Joyce will be remembered as a very dear and special lady, who was so very thoughtful, loving, humble, kind-hearted and had a great sense of humor.
Family meant everything to Joyce. She cherished her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her home was a place of comfort with pictures of family proudly displayed in every room. She felt very blessed that almost all of her children, grandchildren & great grandchildren lived very close. Joyce loved her backyard swing, tending to her flowers and garden, and baking/cooking family favorites. We have so many wonderful memories of family celebrations, get-togethers and our annual Minocqua vacation. When Bob was living, they enjoyed taking bus and casino trips. Joyce also enjoyed going to Scuba’s with family & dear friends.
Joyce is survived by her children, Mike (Patti) Van Fossen, Debbie (Eric) Mantzke, and Steve (Linda) Van Fossen. She is further survived by her grandchildren, Amy (Ben) Ritchie, Tyler (Kelsi) Van Fossen, Craig (fiance’ Crystal) Mantzke, Kristin (Michael) Mortenson, Brent (Cora) Mantzke, Jordan (special friend Katie) Van Fossen, Kiana Van Fossen, Meghan (Alex) Harris, Angela (fiance’ Josh) Steinberg. Great grandchildren, Alayna & Myla Ritchie, Chase, Carter & Crew Van Fossen, Maxwell & soon to be born baby Mortenson.
Brother Jim (Mary) Merkes. Sisters-in-law Ann and Carmen Merkes.
Joyce was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, mother-in-law and father-in-law Bernice Schmirler and Walter Van Fossen. Brothers Kenneth, Norbert and Richard Merkes. Sisters Lilas Van Straten and Jane Merkes. Sister-in-law Carol Merkes. Brothers-in-law Edward Heimann and Glen Van Straten.
There will be a Funeral Mass for Joyce on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at 11:30 AM at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 500 W. Marquette Street in Appleton with Fr. Patrick Costello officiating. There will be a visitation at the church on Wednesday morning from 9:30 to 11:30 AM. Burial will be at Appleton Highland Memorial Park, 3131 N. Richmond Street in Appleton at 2:00 PM. For more information and to express condolences, please visit www.wichmannfuneralhomes.com.
Joyce will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Our family would like to thank all the wonderful compassionate people who served in her care, especially the exceptional ICU and 2nd floor staff at Theda Care in Neenah.