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Joan Mitchell

September 23, 1932 - October 04, 2016

Prayer Service - Friday

October 07, 2016
- 8:00 PM

Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life Center, Fargo

Visitation - Friday

October 07, 2016
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life Center, Fargo

Funeral Mass - Saturday

October 08, 2016
- 10:30 AM

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Fargo


Boulger Funeral Home

Joan Mitchell

September 23, 1932 - October 04, 2016


Joan M. Mitchell was born September 23rd, 1932 to James and Alice (Marchand) Keegan in Rolla, ND. She passed away peacefully surrounded by family on October 4th, 2016 in Fargo, ND where she had resided the last twelve years.   Visitation and Prayer Service were held Friday, October 7th at Boulgers Funeral Home of Fargo ND.  Funeral Mass was  held Saturday, October 8th at St. Anthony of Padua, Fargo ND with burial at St. Michael’s cemetery in Rolla.

Joan’s high school years in Rolla were spent active in band as well as working on the family farm. After high school she continued on playing her trumpet in the Jon Eckerot Big Band orchestra.  She played alongside an alto saxophone player, Wally Mitchell, whom she would later unite with in a marriage that lasted over 63 years.  Wally preceded Joan in death on October 26th, 2014.

Joan and Wally raised their family in their hometown of Rolla, where Joan worked for many years at the Rolla Hospital in the Administration department. Joan successfully juggled demands between career and family.

Surviving Joan are children Jim (Mary) Mitchell of Belcourt ND, Margaret (Jim) Ernst of Dickinson ND, Jean (Jim) Backlund of Moorhead MN, Maureen (Todd) Graber of Fargo ND, and Mike (Jennifer) Mitchell of Fargo, ND.

15 grandchildren survive Joan; Matt (Danielle) Johnson, Anna Johnson, both residing in Fargo, ND, Tracey (Ryan) Viergutz of Hawley MN, Trevor (Angela) Ernst Dickinson ND, Brady (Arin) Ernst of West Fargo ND, Ryan (Emily) Ernst and Shannon Ernst, both residing in Dickinson ND, Adam Backlund, Matt Backlund, both residing in Moorhead MN, and Anthony Mitchell, Luke Mitchell, Weston Mitchell, Cabot Mitchell, Breanna Mitchell and Faith Mitchell, all residing in Fargo ND.

Also surviving Joan are 10 great-grandchildren; McKenna Ernst, Claire Ernst, Aiden Ernst, Emma Viergutz, Katherine Viergutz, Evyn Ernst, Eli Ernst, Elliana Ernst, Tatum Johnson and Althea Johnson.

Preceding Joan in death are her parents, James and Alice Keegan of Rolla, sisters Alice Keegan, Mary Anderson of Rugby ND, Helen Jorgensen of Fall Creek WI, infant Alice Keegan, Vivian Pederson; brothers Jim, Tom, and Bill Keegan all who resided in Rolla. One brother, Pat Keegan of Rolla survives Joan.

Also preceding Joan in death were her brothers in-law; Ray Neameyer, Garmann Jorgensen, and Wilfred Pederson all of Rolla, Jack Anderson of Rugby ND, Howard Mitchell of Tampa, FL, sisters in-law Helen Mitchell of Phoenix AZ, Grace Keegan, Millie Keegan, and Marilyn (Mae) Neameyer all who resided in Rolla. Surviving Joan are brother in-law Bill Mitchell of Phoenix AZ and sisters in-law Betty Keegan of Rolla, Shizuko Keegan of St. Paul MN, Marion Mitchell of Tampa FL, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Joan was very active at St. Joachim’s Church in Rolla, serving on numerous Fall Supper committee’s, singing in the choir, participating in the liturgy, and typing up the weekly bulletin. When grandchildren would visit, a day may have been spent swimming at Killarney beach or spoiling them with baked treats.  Another plate was always set out for friends and relatives who would stop by to enjoy her wonderful home cooked meals.  She was also a fierce competitor at card and board games such as International Rummy , Poker, and Tripoli.

As the grandchildren grew up, she always tried to attend their numerous sports events and music concerts as well as congratulate them as they achieved academic and career success.   Joan’s last years were spent in residence at Bethany Retirement Home in Fargo, and the family wishes to express their sincere thanks to the dignified care she received from the staff there, especially in the Willow Lane unit.

We have lost a loving Mom, Grandma, and Great Grandma, but our lives are much richer for having shared our lives with her. To live in hearts you leave behind is not to die.  Well done, my good and faithful servant.


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2 responses to “Joan Mitchell”

  1. Leslie Harris says:

    Mike and Family,

    So sorry to hear of your mom passing. Prayers to your family.

  2. Wade Burgess says:

    I started work at PMC in June 1980. Joan was almost like a second mom. I enjoyed the years where she was the Administrative Assistant. Those were good years. I am going to make a donation to PMC in your mom’s name! She was a special woman! Wade Burgess!

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