Joyce “Aunt Joyce” Ellen Benkert, of Alpena, Michigan, affectionately known as “The Afghan Lady,” passed away Feb. 3, 2020, just six days short of her 94th birthday, still using a cell phone and her computer to communicate with her nieces and nephews almost to the end.

The daughter of Henry K. and Sybil O. Lutzke, she was born Feb. 9, 1926 in Saginaw, Michigan, and she graduated from St. Charles High School in June 1943. She married Irving Benkert on Feb. 9, 1946, who predeceased her on May 2, 1998. She was a member of the Saginaw Eastern Star Martha Washington #113 Saginaw, and Saginaw Farm Bureau. After Irving retired from Michigan Animal Breeders Cooperative in 1982, they spent their winters in Leesburg, Florida. In recent years, she has lived with her niece and her husband, Kay and Al Zdan, joining them when Al played with the bands at Maplewood Tavern and the Senior Center. She loved fishing, cooking, traveling, gardening, and crocheting. Making many afghans and giving them out for birthdays and special milestones in people’s lives.

She leaves behind seven nieces and nephews and many more great-and great-great-nieces and-nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held in the summer at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Hemlock, Michigan. Cremation arrangements by Bannan Funeral Home.