Life Story / Obituary


Joseph Lee Singer, 71, of Traverse City, died Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at Munson Hospice House. He was born on August 18, 1952, in Lansing, Michigan and was the son of Joseph Louis and Rae Maxine (Barnes) Singer. Joe also had a half-brother Jim and half-sister Marsha that he spent time with plus forty-five cousins! His father was one of eleven brothers which mostly settled in the Pickney/Lansing area. Of the eleven brothers, seven served our country during World War II and one during the Korean War.

In 1987 Joe started his career as a Customer Service Rep for Air Wisconsin. He worked for the airlines for the next 29 years, and his FAMILY became so much bigger. He has friends in the airlines business all over the United States. He worked in Reginal & International Airports across the United States, and working with Walter in Aspen, Colorado was one of his favorite places. He made lasting friendships with co-workers & pilots. His friendship with Eric & Julie was so strong he even was on their pit crew for go-cart races.

April 30, 2005, was the first date of Joe & Rita Singer, and it lasted nine hours. She the year before had lost her mother, husband, aunt, cousin, & young man who they considered their adopted son. Instantly Joe started healing her heart & helped make special moments that would last a lifetime. She started calling him her “Super Action Hero”. They were married May 30, 2007, at The Couples Resort, Ocho Rios, Jamaica. During their marriage they traveled to Jamaica twice; Cancun twice; Florida golfing twice with Vince & Cindy at Orange Lake Golf Resort; Maui, Hawaii for two weeks, Aspen, Colorado, and the list goes on.

Life is short & Joe lived his life to the fullest. He enjoyed Golf, Golf, & more Golf! He always looked at getting that hole in one on the Golf Course! He was part of our church’s golf league & part of a very special group of men in the Crystal Mountain Golf League.

He was part of a special crew in KZO airport that rented a cabin on Little Paw Paw Lake for five weeks straight & each week was another couple’s turn to stay. His bond with Brian & his family was unbreakable, especially all the snowmobiling. When Brian had cancer Joe wore a bracelet that stated, “Noone Fights Alone” and he wore it day & night even after Brian was gone.

We Volunteered at Interlochen Center for the Arts soon after we moved up to Traverse City. In the fourteen years we ushered so many concerts, musicals, dance recitals, & plays. We also joined Foutain Point Resort on Lake Leelanau & saw two concerts a week during the summer. We saw Bill Strings there who now has won Grammies, The Accidental’s, & Oh Brother-Big Sister who is our favorite band.

Joe was diagnosed with Stage Four Glioblastoma Brain Cancer on June 2, 2023 three days after celebrating our 16th Wedding Anniversary at Sleeping Bear National Park. The following months were a blur with so many keeping us in prayers, support, visits, & cards. He went by ambulance to Ann Arbor UofM Hospital & had surgery where he almost died having a biopsy. He came home & had radiation, chemo, & the Optune treatment wearing patches wired to a battery pack or electricity 20 plus hours a day. The Super Hero had a special name now… Electro Man! He fought hard but finally the fight had to come to an end.

Joe is survived by his wife, Rita Kay Singer; brother-in-law & sister-in-law Don and Sharon Nowak; brother-in-law & sister-in-law Dave & Nancy Cretsinger; nieces & nephews; and forty-five cousins on his side of the family; and his many caring friends and neighbors.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Rae Singer; half-brother Jim Singer; half-sister Marsha Pedrin, his beloved dog Jordan who died of cancer at the start of the pandemic, & Sammy his dog that died of cancer four days before Joe went into Hospice.

Memorial Contributions may be made to Bayside Wellness Home Health or to Munson Hospice House both of Traverse City, Michigan for the great care the staff gave Joe.

A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, May 3rd at Traverse City Central United Methodist Church with services at 2pm and visiting in the adjacent lobby an hour before. Refreshments will be served in the dining room following the service.

Please share your thoughts and more.