Cover photo for Joan Douglas's Obituary
Joan Douglas Profile Photo

Joan Douglas

February 12, 1958 — November 16, 2023

Saginaw, MI

Joan Douglas


Joan Douglas, Carrollton, passed away on November 16, 2023 after a two-week battle with acute low blood pressure, kidney, and liver failure.  Joan spent thirteen days in Intensive Care (ICU) units at St. Mary’s Ascension Hospital and Henry Ford Hospital ICU (Detroit).   The family appreciates the medical professionals who cared for Joan, and when it was apparent Joan needed a liver transplant, the scores of people who wrote in support of Joan to the Henry Ford Transplant Team.  Gratitude to Pastors Ted McCulloch and Pam Harkema who communicated and prayed with Joan during her fight, and special appreciation is extended to the prayer groups, churches, and individuals who prayed for Joan.

Joan Luann Douglas, nee Blakely, was born on February 12, 1958 in a Thumb community, Kilmanagh Michigan.  Her father, Reverend Harold Blakely, served as minister in Kilamangh United Methodist Church; he was the perfect role model for Joan, sparking her passion to serve others.

Predeceasing Joan are her parents, Reverend Blakely and his wife, Lucille, along with brother, Jerry, and sister, Judy.  Surviving Joan are her husband, Craig; step-children and families John (wife Jessie & son, Carl. age 7), Romeo; Christopher, Grand Blanc, and Katherine (husband Matt Birnbaum and son, Dougie, age 2), San Francisco.   Survivors include Joan’s sisters Karen Blakely (Kilmanagh) and Nancy Spencer (Marlette), along with brother-in-law Fritz Faber (St. Charles), and many nieces & nephews and grandnieces & grandnephews.  

Joan Douglas blazed a trail as an educator for thirty-three years in the roles of teacher (1980 – 87), counselor (1987 – 2005) and principal (2005- 2013) at Bad Axe, Lakers, and Essexville-Hampton Schools, respectfully.  Joan retired from public education in 2013 and since that time has served as an enthusiastic, steady leader in multiple volunteer roles.  

Memberships have included the Rotary Club of Saginaw Valley (Past President), YMCA of Saginaw, Carrollton Education Foundation, Carrollton Lions Club (Past President), and First Presbyterian Church (Saginaw).  Joan served as Deacon & Usher at First Presbyterian Church, and Joan and Craig regularly attended the Methodist Church (Oscoda) when they were up north.  

Joan volunteered at the Emmaus House of Saginaw 2013-18, twice serving as unpaid Interim Director during leadership changes.  It was there Joan worked closely with Sister Marietta Fritz, an unselfish leader with whom grew a close connection right up to Marietta’s passing in August.  Joan wrote in her eulogy, “Sister’s kindness was infectious. It affected guests, volunteers, board members, and contributors. Kind. Being kind was a code of conduct and a way of life at the Emmaus House due to Sister Marietta.”

Sister Marietta told Joan more than once that Joan helped save Emmaus House after Sister retired and moved to her order in Cincinnati, Ohio.   Most recently Joan volunteered for the READ Association of Saginaw where she loved to tutor her young student.

Among Joan’s honors for volunteerism are the following:   Past-President, the Rotary Club of Saginaw Valley (2023); Martin Luther King, Jr. “Drum Major Award,” given by the Saginaw Community Foundation (2016), and “Shirley’s Angels Award,” given by the Emmaus House (2015).  

Joan was proud of her first book, Sr. Marietta, Saginaw’s Saint, published in 2021 with proceeds going to support Emmaus House.  Joan started second book, and it will be completed in Joan’s memory.

Joan served her community.  She worked tirelessly at thirteen Carrollton Charity Road Races (marathon, 20K, 10K, 5K) sponsored by the Carrollton Lions Clubs, and this past spring helped direct the 22nd Annual Carrollton Lions Walk/Run/Bike 5K.  These races raised money for various charities including the East Side Soup Kitchen and Leader Dogs for the Blind.  Joan worked a dozen or more food drives at the holidays, another Lions Club sponsored event; her specialty was her strong connection with Hidden Harvest.  Joan volunteered ten years with the Great Lakes Bay Youth Leadership program led by Dr. Mamie Thorns at SVSU.  Joan volunteered nearly twenty years on Delta Public Radio, reading the news once or twice a week for the late Howard Sharper.  During Joan’s year as Rotary Club President, Joan expanded student scholarships.  As Craig’s loyal supporter, Joan attended countless sporting events, plays, concerts, and graduations at Carrollton Public Schools.  

Joan supported Craig’s running adventures in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Toledo, Chicago, Columbus, and Flint.  Typically at a marathon she would meet Craig and run in with him the final 3, 4, or 5 miles, encouraging him when he was “hitting the wall.”  Craig visualizes Joan at mile marker 23 at the 1998 Columbus Marathon, encouraging him to run alongside her and that he was going to make it.  As recently as this past August, Craig ran the Crim 10-mile and then walked the 5K together with Joan that same morning.

Memorial services will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 121 Harrison Street, Saginaw at 11 a.m. on Wednesday November 22, 2023.    Reverend Ted McCulloch will officiate joined by Pastor Pam Harkema.   Friends may visit with the family from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. at W. L. Case and Company Funeral Home, 4480 Mackinaw Road, Saginaw on Tuesday, November 21, 2023 and on Wednesday beginning at 10:00 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church until the time of the service.  Following Joan’s wishes, cremation has taken place.

Joan loved one of Sister Marietta’s favorite scriptures, “I love the Lord for He heard my voice: He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned his ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1-2  

In lieu of flowers, please consider one of the following worthy organizations for a donation in memory of Joan:


First Presbyterian Church, 121 Harrison Street, Saginaw 48601

Oscoda United Methodist Church, 120 W. Dwight Street, Oscoda 48750


Carrollton Education Foundation, Treasurer Brian Dixon, 5300 Bay Road, Saginaw 48604

Hartley Nature Center Foundation, 12633 Beaver Road, St. Charles 48655

Oscoda Education Opportunity Foundation, 3550 W. River Road, Oscoda 48750

Saginaw Community Foundation 1 Tuscola St. Unit 1008, Saginaw 48607

Service clubs:

Carrollton Lions Club, Treasurer Lorri Feriend, 1075 Schust Road, Saginaw 48604

Rotary Club of Saginaw Valley, Treasurer Andrew Matuzak, PO Box 6161, Saginaw 48603

YMCA of Saginaw, 1915 Fordney Street, Saginaw, Michigan 48601


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joan Douglas, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Tuesday, November 21, 2023

3:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 3721

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree