Johnnie Levi Avance Sr. made his peaceful transition to be with the Lord on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. He was born October 1, 1936 in Grand Lake, Arkansas to the union of William and Everlena Avance. He was the youngest of five siblings.
His life was well-lived. He left Arkansas at an early age and the family ventured to Tallulah, Louisiana where he stayed until his departure to move to Michigan and then to Indiana. Johnnie worked at Clark Equipment Company for 27 years until they moved. He then went on to work at Hi-Speed Auto Wash as one of the working managers for 15 years. His last employment was with Haldex Garphyttan Corporation, finally retiring after many years of service.
Johnnie was a great husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother-in-law, brother, uncle and uncle-dad. He played softball and sometimes coached the teams. He also did some umpiring for the ladies softball teams. Sports was his hobby, watching as well as participating. He loved entertaining, telling jokes and just plain old having fun! A good game of Bid Whist or Spades and he always knew how to “stack the deck.” You cannot forget his pleasure in bowling and all the great tournaments he took part in. He received rings for his great games of achievement in bowling.
“J.L.” as he was so affectionately called for years, has been honorably discharged from his labor in this world. He was received and the Angels carried his spirit in to the Lord.
Johnnie leaves to cherish his memory and wide gains in life his partner of 31 years and wife of 26 years (on July 31st), Dorothy Avance; 8 sons: Ronnie (Dana) Cotton of Las Vegas, Nevada, Michael (Linda) Avance, Ronald Avance, Donald Avance, Pastor Gregory (Jackie) McKeel, Victor (Lanore) Evins, Carl Moore, all of South Bend, Indiana, Willie Evins of Dallas, Texas; 5 daughters: Diane Avance, Debra Avance, Fredia Avance and Myra Evins, all of South Bend, Indiana and Lori Wright of Hammond, Louisiana; daughter-in-law, Carla Evins of South Bend, Indiana; special nephew, Anthony Avance of South Bend, Indiana; Pastor Trent (Karen) Avance of Elkhart, Indiana, Pastor Joseph (Kim) Avance of Niles, Michigan, Terry Avance of Fort Wayne, Korey Avance of Atlanta, Georgia; 33 grandchildren; 27 great-grandchildren; daughter in love and spirit, Dorothy Lee; sisters-in-law: Rosie Avance, Loretta Avance and Noveta Welch, Agnes Bacon, MaeBelle Hill, Chris Cosey and Eunice Cosey; brothers-in-law: Earl (Julia) Cosey, Erwin (Sarah) Cosey, Robert (Annie) Cosey and Horace Smith. Johnnie leaves 3 nieces who were very dear to his heart: Earlene Smith of Las Vegas, Nevada, Geraldine Esters of Tallulah, Lousiana; and the one-and-only Ms. Hazel Suluki of Tallulah, Lousiana who claimed him forever, that was her “Uncle-Dad.” There are so many friends and buddies; his M.L.K. Club members, the Crew Club members, the church family of New Psalmist Church.
Johnnie was preceded in death by his parents, William and Everlena Avance; siblings: PCola Watson, Joseph Avance and William Avance and Tillie B. Simms; his first wife, Mary L. Avance; a son, Johnnie L. Avance Jr.; two grandsons: Michael Konneck Evins and Austin Evins.
The family of Johnnie L. Avance would like to thank all the wonderful people who were there for us while he was in his final days. His family physicians, Dr. Vincent Henderson, Dr. Travis Casper and Portage Medical Group, Dr. Scott Blickensderfer and Urology Associates, Memorial Home Care, staff, aides, nurses, everyone involved. Names are too numerous. REAL Services, Alick’s Home Medical, friends, neighbors. Hospice of South Bend and their staff. Please forgive us if there is anyone or organization omitted, it was done by human error and not intentional. We heard all your prayers and they were accepted and appreciated. The calls, visits were all wonderful. Every gesture of kindness will always be remembered. We all say Thank You!
Services will be held on Saturday, August 31, 2013 in Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, 24393 Fillmore Road, South Bend. Visitation will begin at 11:00 a.m. and service at 12:00 noon. Burial will follow in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.