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Joan F. (Nicholson) Split
  • Richland Community Library
    8951 Park Drive
    Richland, MI 49083

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“I worked with Joan for several years as a volunteer at the Richland Community Library. She was the kindest, most patient lady I ever knew. I had...Read More »
1 of 6 | Posted by: Brenda Guyer - Kalamazoo, MI

“Rob and I are so glad we got to know your mom as new community members in 1978, young parents raising kids with the basement library and onto our...Read More »
2 of 6 | Posted by: Stevie Brinkerhoff - Richland, MI

“My deepest sympathies to Joan's wonderful, loving family. Sara, Sue, Julie, Paul and Ray you are in my thoughts and prayers. Joan was a kind,...Read More »
3 of 6 | Posted by: Chris Seitz - Chicago, IL

“As a past Library Board member, all I can say is that Joan was a dear!!! I worked closely with her on the addition to the library. What a great...Read More »
4 of 6 | Posted by: Carolyn Hill - Vermilion, OH

“Truly a good lady, a gentle motivator with her vision for the Library, and a real asset to the community. We both enjoyed her efforts to help those...Read More »
5 of 6 | Posted by: A friend

“Joan was a woman with a vision and a plan. Because of this, our community is richer. Her legacy will live on, and I will miss her graceful presence...Read More »
6 of 6 | Posted by: Karen McConnell - Richland, MI


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Joan F. (Nicholson) Split of Richland, Ml

An amazing woman. A woman of grace, elegance, determination, and our mother, passed away peacefully on April 20, 2019. She was 91. Joan was born on April 11, 1928 in Blackpool England. The only child of Thomas Nicholson and Madge Pilling. She immigrated to the United States with her mother in 1947. She settled in the Grand Rapids area and lived there until she moved to Richland in 1970. She married Ray Split in 1949 and raised four children; Paul Split, Susan Split, Julie Split-Keyes and Sara Wingate. All survive her, as do her seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren Joan loved to read, to garden, and to help others. While her family was able to enjoy and marvel at her "English" gardens, the wider world benefited from her love of reading and desire to help others, which led to her legacy, the Richland Community Library. Richland had been without a library for over 20 years. In 1973, while serving as village clerk, Joan discovered documents designating space for a library in the Community Hall. She formed the Friends of the Richland Library, raised money, established a library board and became the first librarian of the Richland Community Library. She held that post for 33 years. Over the years Joan helped raised millions of dollars to realize her vision of the strong, vibrant, community-focused library that exists today. Mom, we love you. We miss you. We will remember you forever.

Joan's family will greet friends on Friday, May 10th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Richland Chapel, 9170 East D Avenue (M-89) and one hour prior to the Service on Saturday starting at 11:00 a.m. in the Gull Prairie Room of the Church. The celebration of Joan's life will be held on Saturday, May 11th at Noon in the First Presbyterian Church, 8047 Church Street, Richland, Ml 49083 with Rev. Dr. Mark W. Jennings, officiating. A reception will be held in the Richland Community Library immediately following the Service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Joan's honor may be directed to the Richland Community Library, 8951 Park Drive, Richland, Ml 49083.