Stella Royce passed away on Saturday, November 16 at the age of 92. She was born Stanislawa Kowalczyk in Hamtramck, MI.
When both of her parents passed away within five years of her birth, her older sister, Mary, helped find guardians until Stella reached an age where she was able to work for her room and board – this while attending and graduating as Salutatorian from Greenville High School. With a loan from a Greenville family, she enrolled and received a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin. Fluent in Spanish and interested in international relations, she then served as a secretary in the Foreign Service in the Dominican Republic and Mexico City.
During a visit back to Michigan, she met Charles Royce, and after a brief courtship, they made arrangements to marry a few weeks later in Mexico City. This began a 62-year partnership, which included raising four children, operating a family business, the Royce Rolls Ringer Co. and sharing a deep love for and commitment to the West Michigan Community. Stella enjoyed music throughout her life. She was a soprano soloist, active volunteer, and board member for the St Cecilia Music Center, as well as a multi-decade member of the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus. In addition to St Cecilia, she served on the boards of several other local organizations, including the Grand Rapids Symphony and Opera Grand Rapids. She and Charles attended, supported and championed numerous arts, cultural, educational, and other charitable institutions and received local, state and national recognition for their philanthropy.
Stella was preceded in death by her husband Charles, sister Mary Franks, daughter Martha Edwards, and son Matthew Royce. She is survived by her daughter Maria (Paul) Hesse, son Charlie (Angie) Royce, Jim Edwards, Terri Royce, nieces, nephews and nine grandchildren.
Stellas's family would like to thank her many thoughtful friends, and the dedicated caregivers at Porter Hills Harmony Hall and Emmanuel Hospice.
A celebration of her life is planned for Saturday, November 23 from 1-3 pm at St Cecilia Music Center, 24 Ransom Ave NE in downtown Grand Rapids. A brief sharing of memories will take place at 1:30pm.
For those who would like to give a gift in Stella's memory, please consider making a donation to the St Cecilia Music Center or the charitable organization of your choice.
To send flowers to Stella's family, please visit our floral section.
St. Cecilia's Music Center
24 Ransom Ave NE, Grand Rapids MI 49503