Joy Blouin

Joy Blouin

May 1, 1945 July 17, 2019

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Obituary for Joy Alexander Blouin

Joy Alexander Blouin, devoted wife, loving mother, and grandmother died peacefully on July 17 aged 74 surrounded by her family. The cause was complications from pneumonia. A native of Port Huron MI, daughter of John and Mildred Zauner, she graduated from Port Huron High School in 1963 and then from Michigan State University in 1967. She went on to complete a master’s degree in Art History (with an interest in Spanish baroque art) at MSU followed by masters in Library science at the University of Michigan.

She remained at UM for the entire of her professional career combining her interests in art history and library science. For nearly twenty years, Joy served as head of the Visual Resources Collection in the department of the History of Art. Those were the days when the teaching of art history depended on quality colored slide reproductions. She oversaw a collection of more than half a million slides housed in the basement of Tappan Hall. Under her direction, the collection expanded to include original photography done by faculty or by staff photographers of obscure and inaccessible works. For many years Joy administered the art history department’s annual workshop on Italian Renaissance art at the Villa Corsi Salviati outside Florence, Italy. She was active in the Visual Resources Association (VRA) and served as editor of the VRA Bulletin for 13 years. She also served ex-officio on the VRA board of directors. She was awarded the VRA Distinguished Service Award in 1991. As new technology supplanted the need for reproductions on film, she moved on to become a librarian for the UM School of Art. She served in that position for three years, then retired from the University in 2001.

Aptly named, she brought joy to all who knew her. Beyond art, she had a great interest in cooking. She was a master at preparing dishes of all sorts. A friend once said she was an artist with food. But it was her family that was most important to her. Preparing meals for holidays and other gatherings as well as keeping up on the latest family news sustained her. She was an avid traveler and, along with her loving husband Francis X. Blouin, eagerly explored Europe and Asia. After retirement, she became something of a New Yorker. She and Fran enjoyed frequent trips to their small Manhattan apartment. There she avidly consumed New York culture in art museums, theaters, and restaurants.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, Jay Frye Alexander in 1987. She leaves her husband of thirty years, Francis; her wonderful children, Benjamin (Peggy) Alexander of Los Angeles and Tiffany (Bill) Joyce of Ann Arbor; her dear grandchildren, Molly Alexander, and Alexander Joyce; and a brother, John Zauner of Los Altos, CA.

A memorial gathering will be held at Nie Funeral Home, 3767 W. Liberty Rd., on the evening of August 25 from 6:00-8:00. A funeral service will be held at St Andrews Episcopal Church, 306 N. Division St., on August 26 at 11:00 am. Interment at Forest Hills Cemetery will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in her memory to the Humane Society of Washtenaw County or the Breakfast Program at St. Andrew’s Church.

To send flowers to the family of Joy Alexander Blouin, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday August 25, 2019 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Nie Family Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Liberty Road Chapel
    3767 W. Liberty Road
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Sunday August 25, 2019
    6:00pm - 8:00pm
  • Memorial Service

    Monday August 26, 2019 | 11:00am
    St. Andrew's Episcopal Church of Ann Arbor
    306 N Division St
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Monday August 26, 2019
  • Interment

    Forest Hill Cemetery
    415 S. Observatory St., 415 S. Observatory St.
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |

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Bob Donia and Jane Ritter

To have known Joy is to have admired her and treasured her friendship. She was kind, gracious, unassuming, and a total delight to be with. She and Fran were perfect together, and they were delightfully open about their love for each other and for their beloved children and grandchildren. We join Fran and her family members in mourning her passing, and will miss her as a dear friend, but we also honor and celebrate her life achievements and the warm generosity and cheerfulness she bestowed on all of us who had the privilege of knowing her. Rest in peace and love.
Bob Donia and Jane Ritter
Comment | Posted at 04:49pm via Condolence

Barbara Wagner

I first met Joy when she joined the History of Art Slide and Photograph Collection in the mid 1970s. The “slide room” was a great place to work, led by Eleanor Collins and utilized by faculty whose requests we learned to anticipate. Our paths diverged for over a decade but by the time we reconnected she and Fran had married. Joy was so happy! She and Fran and Tom and I were part of a small dinner group for a few years. We shared stories about our children and work at U-M. Joy was always so smart and considerate and grounded. We will miss her very, very much.Fran, our thoughts are with you and Ben and Tiffany, and all your family. With love, Barbara and Tom Wagner
Comment | Posted at 12:00am via Condolence

Connie Cook

Joy was truly a joy! She was always upbeat, fun, considerate, and gracious, even as she went through a difficult period of ill health without complaint. She and Fran were a perfect couple, and Jim and I share Fran's sadness at her loss.-- Connie Cook
Comment | Posted at 12:00am via Condolence

Jeri Hollister

When I started in the slide room at the History of Art Department as a student in the late1970s, Joy was a slide curator under Marie Light. She had really long hair and wore it in a beautiful classic chignon. She was always a positive spirit with a smile to share.Later when she was the chief curator, I had received my MFA and she hired me to work with the chief photographer, Patrick Young. I stayed in that position for 18 years, in part because of her leadership, the opportunities that she gave me to grow and evolve in my position, and because of the camaraderie among our wonderful co-workers. She was so great to work with and for. Not many people get a work environment where everything clicks, and I will always be thankful for that time and for knowing Joy. My thoughts and prayers go out to Fran, Ben and Tiffany, and their families. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful person in your life.-Jeri Hollister
Comment | Posted at 12:00am via Condolence

Rebecca Hoort

I am very sad to learn of Joy's death. I worked under her for more than thirteen years as one of the curatorial staff in the Department of the History of Art and my memory is that Joy was always gracious, patient and kind in her professional interactions, even at times when I thought she must be feeling frustrated. She often would go about her day humming a tune. Her smile and laughter sparkled. Knowing Joy's love of cooking, I remember that in the early days of the Internet, when we were trying to figure out its implications for the visual resources field, Joy discovered that she could download recipes from Bon Apetit. She said that alone made the whole thing worthwhile! That gave us all a needed laugh.My condolences go out to Fran, Ben, Tiffany and all of Joy's family. I know this is a grievous loss. You are in my and Hermann's thoughts.Becky Hoort
Comment | Posted at 12:00am via Condolence

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