Joyce Bitters, 75, Oconto Falls, died early Monday morning, December 16, 2019 with her family present following a recent diagnosis of acute leukemia. She was born May 18, 1944 in Butler, WI to John and Loraine (Kruckeberg) Wickman. As a child, she moved with her family to Green Bay where she attended St. Paul Lutheran School, graduating from East High School.
On September 25, 1965 she married James “Jimmy” Bitters and the couple had three children together. Following their marriage, the couple lived in Oconto Falls for a time before moving to Green Bay. In 1983, the family moved back to Oconto Falls where they owned and operated Bitters Inn tavern until 1999. Fondly becoming known as the “Welcoming Hat Lady”, Joyce was employed at Sam’s Club for 20 years, starting out in the bakery before working as a greeter and in loss prevention for most of her employment. Joyce found love a second time in Roland Wellens and they spent 15 years together, until his death in 2016. Joyce loved taking pontoon rides, attending theatre, dining out, watching game shows on tv, playing cards and darts and spending time with family. She especially enjoyed watching her only granddaughter Laken sing.
Survivors are her three children, Ron (Shari) Bitters, Tami (Dave) Wall, all of Oconto Falls; Paul (Will Wixon) Bitters, Chicago, IL; five grandchildren, Travis (Monica) and Drew Bitters, Collin and twins Lukas and Laken Wall; one sister, Carole O’Leary, Green Bay; one brother-in-law, Jack (friend Paula) Bitters, Oconto Falls; many nieces and nephews; her best friend, Carol Coopman, Oconto Falls.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Jimmy in 1995, two sisters, infant Joan and Verla Vandenelzen, her in-laws, Wilbur and Josephine Bitters, her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Eddie O’Leary, Billy (Betty) Bitters, Merle (Jim) Krause, Bobby (Kathy) Bitters, Betty (Donald) Young, Patsy (Maynard) Steffens and Charlotte (Jerry) Rice.
Visitation will be held at Grace Lutheran Church in Oconto Falls after 3pm Friday, December 20, 2019 until the time of service at 7pm Friday at the church with Pastor Gary Olson officiating. Burial will take place in Woodlawn Cemetery, Oconto Falls the following day.
The Bitters family would like to thank the nurses and staffs of St. Clare Memorial Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital, Meadowbrook, Meadowlands and Unity Hospice for their care and concern shown to Joyce and her family.