Joan Lee (Baye) Smits - Departed on Jan 27, 2019 - Green Bay, Wisconsin
Joan Lee (Baye) Smits - Departed on Jan 27, 2019 - Green Bay, Wisconsin

Joan Lee (Baye) Smits

Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Apr 12, 1943

Died on Jan 27, 2019 and resided in Green Bay, Wisconsin

On Sunday, January 27, 2019, Joan Lee (Baye) Smits greeted her Savior with a hug and that beautiful smile that we all fell in love with.  That smile, oh that smile.  She was born to Bernard and Constance (Kelley) Baye Sr. on April 12, 1943, spending her first years with her mother and her Grandma Philomena Baye while her father was stationed in Europe during World War II.  She attended Lincoln Grade School, Franklin Junior High, and graduated from West High School.  As a young woman, Joan worked at the Fan Restaurant.  She began dating Roy Smits who said he was first attracted to her not just for her outstanding beauty, but also because everyone liked her.  How true that still is!  Joan had an extraordinary gift for making everyone feel special.  On August 24, 1963, the two united in marriage at St. Agnes Catholic Church, becoming a true team. Referred to as “Joan&Roy”, you did not often see one without the other.  Joan not only worked as a stay at home mom to their three children, but also became a dedicated coach’s wife, spoiling the ballplayers her husband mentored.  Even though she had retired her crown as the unofficial “Queen of WISAA”, Joan and Roy were honored by Notre Dame Academy with The Founders Award in 2018, a distinction she was extremely proud of, ever the more special because they received it together. 

For many years, the family spent summers camping in Door County, later renting a cottage at Lake Lucerne.  After her children where in high school, she began a job at Brown County Golf Course.  She later worked at Reyenbeau Clothing, a job she loved not just for the fashion, but for the friendships.  Up until her last days, she was proud to don cute clothes and have her make up on.  After her children married, she found her true calling-- being Grandma Joan to her 6 grandchildren, babysitting, giving shoulder chucks, making chocolate cake with boiled frosting, strawberry fluff, and her famous caramels and wreath cookies, delivering lemon meringue pies, filling the front of the refrigerator up with photos and drawings, attending any and all of their events including, concerts, masses, soccer games, volleyball matches, film debuts, basketball games, baseball games and bragging them up to anyone who would listen, usually with a photo or article to share. 

While Joan loved every holiday and chance to get together with family, the Christmas season was her favorite.  She had the most beautiful Christmas tree in town.  Sometimes you could actually see some green on it between the hundreds of perfectly placed ornaments and lights.  Joan enjoyed going out for a good meal and a brandy old fashioned press.  Special places included the Club Chalet, Mariques, the Golden Basket, Sammy’s Pizza, Los, and the Union Hotel (especially if the tree was up).  Her bird feeder was always full and she was most excited when welcoming cardinals, orioles and hummingbirds to her park-like yard strewn with rose bushes, patio pots, hanging baskets, hanging baskets and more hanging baskets.  She looked forward to the Baye family reunion, not so stealth drive bys, catching up on gossip while having her hair done by Christopher, keeping up with family and friends on facebook, a trip to the casino to play the nickel slots, and pontoon rides with Sansee and Dick at Legend Lake-bonus if the firetruck was there. 

She is survived by her husband of 55 years, her knight in shining armor, her protector and partner, Roy; three children she was extremely proud of, Jeane “Tia” (Chad Biemeret) Smits, Mike Smits, and Julie (Jim “Soup”) Campbell; her beloved grandchildren, Eliza, Olivia, Grace and Owen Campbell and Jayden and Noah Smits; her mother, Connie Baye; four younger brothers, Bernie (Karen), Dennis (Barb), James and Pat (Tina) Baye; two brothers-in-law and two sisters-in-law, Jim Smits, Dwyn Smits and Larry and Gail Smits; family friends, Melissa Patnode, Sally Baye, Laurie Baye and Julie Baye; many nieces and nephews who considered her their favorite Aunt Joanie, three aunts, Fern Kelley, Kay Baumann and Karen (Bob) Willems; many cousins; her Premontre and NDA Families, the Swan Club Group, the NWTC Group, her card club (the only one never to actually play cards) and countless other friends from whom she joyfully collected hugs and kisses.

She was preceded in death by her father, a granddaughter, Julie Sarah; her father-in-law and mother-in-law, Bert and Florence (Van Veghel) Smits; a sister-in-law, Joan Smits; a brother-in-law, Don Smits; and her best friend, Mary Killoran Neville.

It is ironic that it was Joan’s heart that failed her, as Joan was all heart.  Thank you for all the visits, flowers, cards and prayers from family and friends over the past months.  We could not have made it through this without your love and support.  “Jesus, Mary, Joseph, pray for us.”

Family and friends may call at Proko-Wall Funeral Home, 1630 E. Mason St., on Thursday, January 31, 2019, from 3:00 p.m. until the time of Parish Wake Service at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will continue on Friday, February 1, 2019, at St. Agnes Catholic Church, 1484 Ninth St., from 9:30 a.m. until 10:20 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. with Rev. Patrick C. Beno officiating. Burial will be at Allouez Catholic Cemetery.



Parish Wake Service: Thursday Jan 31, 2019, 7:00 p.m. at Proko-Wall Funeral Home

Visitation: Thursday Jan 31, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Proko-Wall Funeral Home

Mass of Christian Burial: Friday Feb 1, 2019, 10:30 at St. Agnes Catholic Church

Visitation: Friday Feb 1, 2019, 9:30 a.m. - 10:20 a.m. at St. Agnes Catholic Church

Served by Proko-Wall Funeral Director: Jeane Smits

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