The service will be livestreamed below at 2:00 PM Thursday, February 11.
Joe Jovonovich, 76, Fargo, ND passed away surrounded by his family on Friday, February 5, 2021 in Fargo.
He was born on February 20, 1944 in Brainerd, MN to Joseph and Barbara Jovonovich. When he was growing up, his family moved around the state for his dad’s profession as a Game Warden. He graduated from Wadena High School and later graduated from Moorhead State College with a Bachelor’s degree in Teaching for Physical Education and Social Studies.
Joe met the love of his life, Janice (Braith) Jovonovich on her 16th birthday, Christmas day 1962 and married her on July 17, 1965. After he got married and finished college, he and his wife Jan moved to Fulda, MN where Joe started his career as a P.E. and History teacher. He also served there as an assistant football coach, assistant track and field coach, and the head wrestling coach. Joe was the first wrestling coach at Fulda High School to bring the wrestling team to the state playoffs.
He then proceeded to work in various fields of law enforcement. He began his law enforcement career as a Border Patrol agent by going to the Border Patrol Academy in Texas. After the academy, Joe and Jan moved to Chula Vista, CA. During their time there, they had their first daughter, Christine. The next year Joe became a U.S. Customs Inspector. Joe and Jan moved to Calexico, CA. They later moved to Pembina, ND for his next U.S. Customs assignment and had their second daughter, Jacqui. Joe later attended the Federal Bureau of Narcotics Academy in Quantico, VA to become a federal agent. Joe’s first post of duty was in Indianapolis, IN. From there, Joe worked in Chicago. In 1975, Joe got a transfer to Duluth, MN where he and Jan moved their family and had their youngest daughter, Amy. They later moved to Austin, TX and Omaha, NE. In 1985, Joe was promoted to the position of Resident Agent in Charge (regional office) within the Drug Enforcement Administration in Fargo, ND. Joe retired as a highly respected and accomplished agent from federal service after 27 years in 1996.
Shortly after retirement, Joe started a successful private investigation firm. Joe also lived in New York City for six months working for a private firm investigating money wire fraud. For the past several years and up until his illness, Joe was still working, performing background investigations for Four Bears Casino in Newtown, ND. Joe was always engaging his mind and seeking a challenge.
Joe was an avid outdoorsman, with a love of hunting and fishing since he was a young boy. Some of Joe’s best memories were fishing up in Canada with his brothers and father. He looked forward to their traditional Canadian fishing trip each year. Over the years his sister, son-in-law and grandson joined him on this adventure, and have forever stories to tell from their experiences.
Joe also loved spending time at their lake home on Mille Lacs Lake, MN.
Joe was a computer guru, gamer, sharpshooter, card player, off-roading enthusiast and history buff. Joe received several high honors and awards for his firearms performance and was a law enforcement firearms instructor. Joe enjoyed sharing his passion for guns and shooting with his family, friends and anyone he met. He was the first one to help someone site in their gun, reload ammo, and just ‘talk shop’. Joe grew up playing games and especially loved playing cards.
He always had hobbies and interests that he put his heart and soul into and he always left things in better condition than he had found them.
Joe never missed the opportunity to attend a sporting event, music performance, play, baptism or any special event of his children and grandchildren. He was the first one to show up if a family member or friend needed help or support. Family was at the core of Joe’s being and always came first.
Joe is survived by his wife of 55 years, Janice Jovonovich – Fargo; daughters, Christine Jovonovich – Fargo, Jacqui Jovonovich – Fargo, Amy (Kevin) Brandon-Rocklin, CA; seven grandchildren, Leyla Bakir, Lana Bakir, Ameena Jovonovich, Lance Lesmeister, Aiden Brandon, Aubrey Brandon, Ashlyn Brandon; two brothers, Robert (Carrie) Jovonovich, John (Barb) Jovonovich; and two sisters, Jean A Jovonovich Alvillar and Jane (Mike) Popovich.
Joe is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Barbara Jovonovich.
The entire Jovonovich family would like to express our deepest gratitude to Jean A Jovonovich and Kevin Brandon for their tireless efforts in caring for Joe. Kevin, Joe’s son-in-law, would speak to the medical staff every day and give the rest of the family continual updates of how he was doing. Jean Ann, Joe’s sister, flew from Mississippi to be his medical advocate and stay with him in the hospital. We could not have gotten through this past month without their knowledge and support. We will always be grateful for all they did for Joe.