Joan Bittinger
(Tuesday - November 16, 2021) - Joan Bittinger, age 83, of Kingsford, passed away on Monday, November 15, at Evergreen Assisted Living in Kingsford.

Joan was born February 8, 1938, in Columbus, Ohio, daughter of the late Theron V. Jr. and Wilhelmina (Leonard) Miller. She grew up in Columbus and was a graduate of St. Mary of Springs Academy in Columbus, Ohio, class of 1956, where she served as class president. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Ohio State University, class of 1960. Joan married James Bittinger Sr. on August 20, 1960, in Columbus, Ohio. They were able to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary before Jim passed away on their anniversary date of August 20, 2020.

Joanie met Jim during their freshman year at Ohio State and was an elementary school teacher in Columbus after graduating. From there, they relocated multiple times living in Covington, Virginia, Ann Arbor, Centerville, Ohio, and in 1975 made their way to Kingsford with their three boys, Jim, Andy, and John. Shortly after the move, Joanie started to work at the Pine Mountain Sport Shop. She was the first ski shop employee hired by the founder Gloria Trepp, and she knew very little about skiing but understood fashion. Shortly after she started working there, Joanie purchased the shop without hesitation (and without telling Jim until dinner the night after she had already bought it). Joanie, along with her close friend and longtime employee Barb Messer, did all the clothing and equipment purchasing in Las Vegas for many years until Jim took over the equipment side of the business. This shop has been the mainstay at the resort through the many ups and downs (including two full years when the Resort was closed - the shop stayed open). One thing you could count on is every year from September through March; she would be there helping outfit multiple generations of families. She always commented that outfitting the kids of kids she helped was one of her favorite things to do. She also was a 30+ year survivor of breast cancer. She managed to successfully run the shop, fight cancer and raise three very active boys while continuing to always have a smile on her face and treat everyone like they were the most important person in the World.

Beyond her ski shop ownership, Joanie was an avid golfer and member of Pine Grove Country Club for 45 years while living on the 17th tee of the course. She was a member of PEO Chapter EN since 1976, participated in bridge clubs both in Norway and Pine Grove, and was a member at St Mary’s Queen of Peace.

Survivors include three sons, Jim (Carol) Bittinger Jr., Duluth, Minnesota, Andy (Denise) Bittinger, Birmingham, Michigan, and John (Betsy) Bittinger, Iron Mountain; six grandchildren, Sara (Matt) Marciniak, Patrick Bittinger, Lauren Bittinger, Erica Bittinger, Brooke Bittinger, and Megan Bittinger; two great-grandchildren, Josephine and Finley Marciniak; and two sisters, Mary (John) Finn of Columbus and Patsy (Bob) Bettendorf of Des Moines, Iowa.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff and ownership at Evergreen Assisted Living located in Kingsford. The short time Joanie was there, she was given the best care anyone could have asked for. There are too many names of staff to list individually, but each one left a lasting memory for Joanie’s family, and we are deeply grateful for the care given.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Friday, January 7, at 11:00 AM at St. Mary’s Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Kingsford. Rev. Fr. Michael Woempner will officiate.

Memorials can be made to the family, and all proceeds will be used to support local ski programs in the area, including the junior race program and the Norway High School ski teams. Please send c/o The Bittinger Family, 1120 Iron Mountain Street, Iron Mountain, MI 49801, or Venmo to

You may leave condolences or tribute for Joan’s family online at:

The family has chosen the Jacobs Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Iron Mountain to honor Joan’s Legacy of life.