Legal entrepreneur dies at 84

 Joanne Hollis Mansfield, age 84, passed away suddenly on July 29, 2014 at her condominium in Madeira Beach Florida. 

As a child, Mansfield enjoyed roller skating with friends, summer trips to the lake, and singing for which she showed an ability that prompted her mother to enroll her in voice lessons at a young age. Mansfield was 7 years old when she lost her beloved father to pneumonia which prompted her mother, crippled by arthritis, to take a job at the American Felt Company making it possible to support the family and for Mansfield to continue voice lessons. When Joanne later attended Annunciation High School in Detroit, she performed frequently and demonstrated such perfect pitch, control, volume and style that the nuns were known to quietly open doors when Joanne was simply practicing to let her voice ring through the halls. 

After graduating from high school, Mansfield continued to sing professionally around Detroit, and also worked as a legal secretary. 

Mansfield married Walter Arnold Mansfield in 1959, a prominent insurance attorney. She became a full time homemaker and raised four children: Andrew Hollis Mansfield (Louise), Diana Marie Heckert, Patricia Ann Mansfield (Dwight), and Walter Arnold Mansfield Jr. (Maureen).

Mansfield was a self-starter and at age 47 decided to return to work and fearlessly scheduled nine interviews, and received nine offers, in one day. She became an executive secretary, six months later an office manager, quickly advanced into sales and marketing and two weeks later, after surpassing all expectations, was offered the opportunity to create and operate a placement service there. The business flourished and in 1982, in the midst of a deep recession, she risked her home and savings to build a business of her own, Joanne Mansfield Legal Personnel. JMLP thrived due to her magnetic personality, drive, keen instincts, fair business practices, and her dedication to the secretaries she placed and the law firms she served. 

In 1982 Joanne was joined at JMLP by her daughter, Diana, and in 1985 by her son, Walter, who has since relocated to Kansas, and for a brief period by her sister, Virginia Simons. In 1995 Joanne was honored to be appointed to the Michigan Personnel Agency Board by Governor John M. Engler on which she served two consecutive two-year terms and helped levy sanctions against unethical placement agencies.  

Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Arthritis Association.