September 23, 1956 - October 7, 2017

 

Joan Loretta (Hansen) Willenbring, 61, of Jacobs Prairie, entered eternal life on Saturday, Oct. 7, at her home surrounded by family. Funeral services and Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Cold Spring, followed by a burial at St. James cemetery in Jacobs Prairie. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13 and 8:30-9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Wenner Funeral Home in Cold Spring.

Joanie was born in St. Cloud to Leander and Arnella (Krueger) Hansen on Sept. 23, 1956. She shared a heart and soul with her identical twin sister, Jeanie. She married Michael J. Willenbring on May 19, 1979, at St. James Catholic Church in Jacobs Prairie. Joan and Mike lived their entire married lives in Jacobs Prairie, where they raised their two sons, Jim and Bob.

She was an active member of St. James, where she served as a lector for most of her adult life and managed the raffle for the parish bazaar for many years. In addition, she was involved in St. Anne’s Christian Women’s Society and was a founding member of JP Quilters.

Joanie received her LPN degree from Willmar Technical College and her RN degree from North Hennepin Community College. She committed her 40-year nursing career to St. Cloud Hospital, most of that time in the float pool, before her retirement in December 2015. She cherished the opportunity to work alongside many talented and caring people and was highly respected among her co-workers.

Joanie managed breast and ovarian cancer over the span of 18 years. She was a wonder of positivity, strength, and courage to all who knew her, never measuring her life by her illness or cancer treatments. She was always caring for someone else; consistently putting others’ needs before her own. She cherished quilting, biking trips with girlfriends, sisters’ weekends, her, and Mike’s annual vacations to Jamaica and most of all, spending time with her five granddaughters.

Joanie was a light in many people’s lives and leaves behind an abundance of family and friends: her husband, Mike, of 38 years, and their sons Jim (Janet) of Cold Spring, MN; Bob (Amanda) of Bismarck, ND and the lights of her life, granddaughters Megan, Chelsea, Olivia, Abby and Sammy, along with her sisters and brothers, Sandy of Jacobs Prairie, Jean (Don) Stock of St. Joseph, Deb (Bob) Heinen of Richmond, Tom (Donna) of Jacobs Prairie, Jeff of Cold Spring, Tammy (Tom) Moore of Royalton and Pam of St. Joseph, along with many much-loved nieces and nephews, in-laws and friends. She is preceded in death by her parents, Leander and Arnella Hansen, father- and mother-in-law Joseph and Renee Willenbring and infant grandson, Isaac Willenbring.

With gratitude for all who provided care for Joanie over the years, including CentraCare Coborn Cancer Center, Palliative Care Team and Home Care and Hospice.