Our beloved wife, mother, Granny, aunt, sister, and friend to everyone she met, passed away peacefully on October 29 at the age of 98. Joan was a proud, lifelong Minnesotan, born in St. Paul in 1924. She grew up in Mahtomedi, raised her family in White Bear Lake with her dear husband, Al Smith, and then moved back to Mahtomedi in retirement. She spent the last 18 years of her life at Boutwells Landing, in Oak Park Heights. Joan would want us to thank all the kind staff members and dear friends at Boutwells Landing who helped make her last years so happy and comfortable.
Joan was an amazing lady. She left us precious legacies of servant leadership and the power of joy. In all seasons of her life, she was positive in the face of discouragement, encouraging others around her with her ready smile, thoughtful actions and kind heart. Joan loved her life, loved everyone in it, and freely gave others so much of her time, energy, and support. She was the happiest person we have ever known—an expert at making lemonade from life’s lemons!
Joan’s gifts and interests were many: master chef, baker and entertainer/hostess, Girl Scout/Cub Scout leader, dog lover (and loved by all dogs), knitter of so many treasured afghans, talented seamstress, unbiased and faithful election judge, enthusiastic bowler, savvy bridge player for 70+ years, intrepid traveler, camper, picnic lover and agate hunter, song-and-dance troupe performer, award winning actress, and loyal Twins supporter. Joan so enjoyed entertaining her family and friends at her family cabin. She loved to swim, hike, watch birds, and could catch (and cook) fish better than anyone in the family.
Joan was a member of First Presbyterian Church in White Bear Lake for 85 years. She sang in the church choir for over 60 years, served as an elder, orchestrated countless meals and receptions for weddings and church events, and supported the church and its members throughout her life.
Joan’s friendships were some of her greatest joys. Wherever she went, she made friends and she kept those friendships close throughout her life.
Most of all, we remember Joan as a wonderful wife, a patient and dedicated caregiver, and a devoted, loving, #1 fan of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was dearly loved and is deeply missed by her family and many friends.
Joan is survived by daughters Deborah Kaczorek (Kevin) and Nan Smith, son Thomas Smith (Julie), seven grandchildren: John Kaczorek (Betty), Mary Kaczorek (Bill Graves), Megan Amodio (Mike), Emi Smith, Liz Housholder (Brian), Adrianne Korbakes (Jake), Tom Geske, 11 great-grandchildren, and many loving nieces and nephews. Joan was preceded in death by her husband Alfred, parents Mildred and Myron Fifield, brother Malcolm and granddaughter Janna.
A memorial service and celebration of Joan’s wonderful life will be held December 10, 2:00 PM, at Boutwells Landing Chapel, 5600 Norwich Parkway, Oak Park Heights, MN 55082. Memorials may be directed to Valley Outreach, https://valleyoutreachmn.org or to the donor’s choice.