Joan Mary Heeren, age 88, of Luverne, died Thursday, 7/29/2021 at the Luverne Medical Center. She will be joining her family in Heaven.
Joan M. Heeren was born on December 3, 1932 to Joseph and Philomena (Kluthe) Steffensmeier on the family farm near Dodge, Nebraska. Later, as a youth, the family moved a short distance to a different farm near Scribner, NE. After the war, in 1945 the family moved to Salem, SD when the family doctor suggested they move to a dryer climate due to their children’s problems with asthma. Joan attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Salem where she graduated in 1950. While attending school she worked for the Salem Special weekly newspaper as well as helping her father with bookkeeping and bill collecting for his newly started plumbing business.
Following graduation she moved with a classmate to Rock Rapids, IA where she began working for the Rock Rapids State Bank. While living in Rock Rapids she met and later married Marlyn Heeren on June 2, 1952 at the St Mary’s Catholic Church in Salem. They started their married life together by moving on to Marlyn’s parents’ farm south of Ellsworth, MN. In 1954 they purchased and moved to their own farm east of Magnolia, MN in rural Nobles County. There they raised their 5 children where Joan helped primarily with bookwork but also supplemented the farm by waitressing at the Magnolia Steak House starting in 1957. Joan & Marlyn left the farm when they moved to Luverne, MN in 1994. She continued waitressing until her final retirement in 2011 after 54 years with the same business.
Joan’s greatest pleasure included developing many friendships throughout the area with coworkers and multiple generations of customers of the Steak House. She and Marlyn also enjoyed travel, playing pinochle with neighboring farm couples, as well as driving around the countryside viewing crops, and checking out all the local restaurants. She later continued playing pinochle with several clubs she joined while living in Luverne along with Pilgrimages with St. Catherine members. Joan was a member of St. Adrian and later St. Catherine Catholic Churches where she was a longtime member of the Ladies Aid. Joan’s lifetime hobby was sewing Christmas stockings and many other types of Christmas fancywork that was personalized for the recipient.
Joan is survived by her children Deborah Sunderlin, Magnolia, MN, Patricia (Kraig) Rust, Kenneth, MN, David (Tammie) Heeren, Lakeville, MN, and Pamela (Roger) Talsma, Chandler, MN. Two sisters, Marilyn Eichacker, Sioux Falls, SD, Rita (Eugene) Zinnel, Brewster, MN, and a brother James Steffensmeier, Sioux Falls, SD. She is also survived by 13 Grandchildren; Amanda (Tim) Haberman, Steven (Kala) Talsma, Eric Talsma, Mariah Talsma, Nicholas Weets, Zechariah Weets, Tiffany Heeren, Jacob Heeren, Marie (Tony) Smook, Nathan (Darlene) Rust, Justin (Judith) Rust, Sierra (Steven) Beardsworth, and Chantel Heeren. She is also survived to 12 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, Marlyn’s parents, Marlyn in 2008 as well as her son Douglas in 2017, and brother-in-law Leonard Eichacker.
A time of fellowship will be from 5-8 pm Monday at the Dingmann Funeral Home, in Luverne, with Parish Prayers at 8 pm. A time of fellowship also from 3-4 pm Tuesday at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Luverne. A Memorial Mass will be Tuesday at 4 pm at St. Catherine Catholic Church officiated by Monsignor Gerald Kosse. A private burial of cremaions will be at a later date at the St. Adrian Cemetery.
Memorials will be given to St. Catherine Catholic Church.
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