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Joan Margaret LaTocha, 88, of Mackinaw City, left this earth on Wednesday, March 8 to join her husband Fabian in everlasting life.
Joan was born in Cross Village on September 11, 1934. She was the daughter of Clara K. Sullivan, a registered nurse and John Henry Sullivan, commercial fisherman and owner of the Sullivan’s Fish Market in Petoskey. Joan’s early memories were of going out on the lake with her father on the fishing boat.
She graduated from Petoskey High School in 1952, attended Ferris Institute and worked as a lab technician at Little Traverse Hospital in Petoskey. She met her husband Fabian D. LaTocha in her father’s fish market when he came in to buy a cooler. They married in 1957, moving many times during the early years, but eventually settling in Mackinaw City, where they raised five children. As an only child, she had always wanted her children to have siblings.
Joan’s focus was Fabian and family. She was by Fabian’s side for 63 years, trekking alongside him hunting for mushrooms or picking berries, finding rocks on Lake Superior’s shoreline or driving around the countryside. Having been raised in the fish market, she could filet a fish at a speed few can achieve. She was very proud of her children and loved her golden retrievers.
Many people would come to know Joan, Fabian and the kids from LaTocha’s Camp Store at the edge of Wilderness State Park. Built and opened in the 1960s, the camp store was the family’s summer operation until it was sold in the late 1970’s. During the summers, Joan and the children traveled down from Newberry, their school year home, to make sure campers and summer residents had the goods they needed. Managing the store and five children was truly an accomplishment.
Joan is survived by her children Desiree LaTocha, Fabian (Jenny) LaTocha II, Laureen “Laurie” (Bruce) Grieve, Christopher (Linda) LaTocha and Michelle (Christopher Groty) and her grandchildren Jacob and Mattie LaTocha, Luke LaTocha and Kate and Pierce Grieve. She is also survived by her brother-in-law William (Xiaopei) and sister-in-laws Mary and Margaret.
She was preceded in death by her husband Fabian D. LaTocha, two infant children, her mother Clara K. Sullivan and her father John Henry Sullivan.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, March 18 from 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM at St. Anthony’s Church in Mackinaw City. The Rite of Christian Burial will follow at 12:00 PM at the church. Burial will take place in the spring.
Joan was a dedicated supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Instead of flowers, please remember Joan by a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Those wishing to share a memory of Joan or leave a condolence are invited to do so at www.stonefuneralhomeinc.com. Arrangements are being handled by Nordman-Christian Funeral Home.