School 09

Joan Henry

February 3, 2021


Joan Carol (nee Swanson)
Passed away with family at her side on February 3rd. Joni was born March 26, 1935 in Chicago, the only child of John and Geraldine Swanson. She always said she had a happy childhood, building a foundation of optimism, compassion, and humor. After graduating early from Carl Schurz High School, she went on to Illinois College–Jacksonville, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. At IC, she met her future husband, Donald Henry. She taught English in Carbondale, Illinois, while Don was in graduate school. After daughter Cynthia was born, they moved to Minnesota, where their family grew to include Linda and David.

Joni was an English teacher and writer. She taught English at North St. Paul High School in the early 1960s. Later she taught “displaced homemakers” resume-writing and job-seeking skills at 916 Vo Tech and English as a second language at Century College. She was the fun mom in the neighborhood, encouraging messy projects and kitchen experiments. She knew how to throw a kid’s birthday party. Joni was a lifelong Girl Scout. She served on the board of directors at Northeast Residence until recently. She was especially close with her friends in AAUW and was sorry to have missed their recent book club meeting. She was a member of her local Homemakers group for many years. “Home” meant everything to her, and she was grateful to stay in her home almost to the end.

Joni was preceded in death by her husband, Don, in 1992, and granddaughter Madeline in 1993. She is survived by her children, Cynthia (Larry Downing), Linda (Keith Hanson), and David (Sara Lawson); her grandchildren Sam, Grace, Anna, Ava, and Gio; niece Jennifer Lawless Beagle; cousin Fran Drake; and many family members, friends, and helpers.

A graveside service will be held at Lakeview Cemetery in Mahtomedi on Feb. 22 at 11 a.m., with a celebration of her life in spring or summer.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Habitat for Humanity.


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