Joan Valliere

Obituary of Joan Estelle Valliere

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Beloved Wife, Devoted Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother, Joan (pronounced “Jo-anne”) Estelle (Kolkowski) Valliere passed away peacefully on Aug. 12, 2022 in her home in Reston, VA surrounded by family. Joan is survived by her seven grateful children:  Paula Stewart, Arthur (Erin) Valliere, James Valliere, Matthew (Judy) Valliere, Mark (Jenny) Valliere, Pamela (John) Tomaszewski, and Lisa Valliere Gray, along with 22 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. Joan was preceded in death by her husband, Paul James Valliere, parents, James Stanley and Emelia (aka Flossie) Duquette Kolkowski, and two siblings, Mary Jane Young and George Kolkowski (infant).


Joan was born on Apr. 28, 1928 in Muskegon, MI. She was a graduate of St. Jean’s Catholic School and attended College of St. Teresa in Winona, MN. Joan worked for Hardy-Herpolsheimer's for two years, before moving to Chicago. There she worked as an Assistant Buyer at Carson Pirie Scott & Co. Joan also worked for Allstate Insurance as a young woman.


Although Joan had many potential suitors, it was her friend’s older brother and childhood sweetheart, Paul Valliere, that won her heart. After 15 years of friendship cultivated through the local French Catholic community, Joan and Paul married on October 24, 1953 at St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church. Their union continued a multi-generational friendship between the Kolkowski and Valliere families.


Newlywed and yearning for a big family, she wasted no time pursuing her life’s passion of motherhood. Joan had her first child in November 1954 and her last and seventh child in July 1965. Birthing 7 children in 11 years including a set of twins was quite an accomplishment!


Joan’s strong will and determination was evident even as a child, earning her the nickname “Jo Jo the Tiger.”  Those traits served her well in raising a family of 7 children, having grown up with only 1 older sister. She prioritized her family above all else, leveraging her creativity and resourcefulness in nurturing her children. Her kids’ costumes, hand-made out of household supplies like tablecloths and electrical tape, were always a big hit.


 Joan’s love of life and human connection occupied most of her time. She spoke often with family and close friends on the phone, enjoyed receiving letters and cards, and kept a diligent calendar that ensured she never forgot a loved one’s milestone. She was known by her children and grandchildren as a constant source of guidance and unconditional love. She also loved animals, family games, reading, movies, music, family reunions, flowers, and her beloved Paul.


Joan was a devout Catholic who never wavered from her belief in God. She endowed her children with the gift of Faith and was later referred to as the “prayer warrior,” advocating and praying constantly for her family, friends, the deceased, and anyone in need. The Lord God blessed her richly in her efforts!


We look forward to our final reunion in the Kingdom of God, where there will be no tears, only joy!


Visitation will be held on Friday, August 19th at Sytsema Walburn Chapel 1547 W. Sherman Blvd., Muskegon, MI. from 5-7pm. Mass of Christian burial on Saturday, August 20th at St. Michael the Archangel Church 1716 6th St., Muskegon, MI at 11am. Presiding will be Father Charlie Hall. Joan’s final resting place is St. Mary’s Cemetery, 1915 Park St. Please join the family for a time of fellowship and refreshments at St. Michael’s school following the burial.


In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of Joan’s favorite charities such as: St Jude’s Children Hospital, Catholic Relief Services, American Heart Association.


Services and obit at 

A Memorial Tree was planted for Joan
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Adams Green Funeral Home
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