Joanne has spent her life nurturing, teaching and caring for others. She is the oldest of nine siblings and acted as a second mother to many of them. She is a wonderful first mother to her kids, Chris and Heidi; an amazing grandmother to Vicki, Jessie, Jake, Sierra, and Bert; and most recently a loving great-grandmother to Liam and Freya. She has worked as a home economist for the Minnesota Pork Producers, a product developer for Rochester Meats, a county extension agent, a Christian education coordinator and as a minister’s wife. She has also volunteered with the Harriet Tubman Shelter for survivors of domestic violence, Second Harvest food shelves, Interfaith Hospitality Network shelters for homeless families, and acted as primary care partner for two elderly neighbors who died of dementia. For fun she has enjoyed perennial gardening, hiking, canoeing and singing in choirs.
Joanne had hoped to live out her retirement independently in her own house, tending to her butterfly garden. This is not the way things have turned out. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2015. Soon after that she had to give up driving and sell her house. She moved to Lyngblomsten assisted living in 2016. Her Alzheimer’s has slowed its progression since she moved. Her neighbors are very grateful to have her at Lyngblomsten. She continues to volunteer, helping other residents who, “are in rougher shape than I am.” She sings in a choir run by the MacPhail Center for Music, walks daily in nearby Como Park when the weather allows, and enjoys seeing family and friends whenever she can.