Cover photo for John Grice's Obituary
1947 John 2022

John Grice

January 31, 1947 — October 20, 2022

Niles, Michigan

John Leroy Grice, age 75 years of Niles, Michigan, father, grandfather, brother, outdoorsman, gardener, and – sometimes - a bit ornery, died peacefully at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 20, 2022 with his family gathered at his home, ending a long battle against cancer.

He was born on January 31, 1947 in Niles to John E. and Shirley I. (Davis) Grice, and attended Dowagiac (Michigan) Union Schools.  He began a career in spray painting a variety of products beginning with the steel kitchen cabinets manufactured by the former Davis Products Company of Dowagiac.  At the Leer Corporation Plant in Elkhart, Indiana he spray painted automotive components, and at the former Miller Steel in South Bend he spray painted coatings on the interior of tank trucks.  He has lived in the Michiana area all of his life.

John was an active associate member (with his brother, Dennis) of Amvets Post 1978 in Niles where he was their regular bartender for many years and often helped in the kitchen.  He was an avid hunter, usually using Coonhound dogs while pursuing racoons in Cass County.  He also enjoyed fishing throughout the area and on Canada’s First Nations Walpole Island on the east side of Lake Saint Clair.  At home, he always maintained a garden, having success with both vegetables and flowers.

He golfed on area leagues, although more for the fellowship than for the competition, and was known to always be ready to help anyone in need, but usually needed to do so in his way, whether his way was the correct way or not.

John was preceded in death by his father, John Edward Grice and his mother, Shirley Hall; by a daughter, Taleena Smaltz who tragically died in a bicycle accident in 2018; a grandson, John J. Grice who died in 2011; John’s brother, Dennis Grice and sisters, Sherry Carter and Patricia Essex.

He was formerly married to Ellen Kovacs.

Surviving family includes a son, Tony Miller of Florida; John’s daughters, Jeanie (& Matt Lynch) Haines of Edwardsburg, Michigan and Cristal (& Robert II) McLaughlin of Osceola, Indiana; grandchildren Becky Harris, Kelly Harris, Derrick Smaltz, Ashley (& Jonathan) Foster, Andrew (& Gabriella) Grice, Zachary (& Madison) Hicks, Andrew McLaughlin, and Alayna McLaughlin; ten great-grandchildren, and John’s brother, Michael (& Julee) Grice of Cassopolis, Michigan; and several nieces and nephews.

The family of John Grice will host a Celebration of his Life to share memories and food at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 12, 2022 at the Amvets Post #1978, 1117 East Bertrand Road in Niles, where contributions to Post 1978 in memory of John may be left.  Arrangements were completed at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles.  Online condolences may be left at:

John clearly enjoyed life, practicing a craft in which he excelled and found satisfaction as a longtime career; enjoying the outdoors hunting, fishing, gardening, and golfing; but above all of this he enjoyed caring for those around him, especially his family, who were – mostly – patient to let him do it his way.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Grice, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life Gathering

Saturday, November 12, 2022

3:00 - 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

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