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In Memory of JoAnne M. Nelson


3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Friday March 12, 2021
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
1010 Newton Street
Baldwin WI, 54002

Funeral Service

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Friday March 12, 2021
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
1010 Newton Street
Baldwin WI, 54002

JoAnne Marilyn Nelson, age 84, of St. Croix Falls, WI, finished her earthly journey the evening of Thursday, March 4, 2021 and now resides in her Heavenly home. JoAnne was born one of three children to parents John and Dorothy Vandenberg on May 23, 1936. She grew up alongside her brother, Arnold, and sister, Sharon, on a country farm outside of Baldwin, WI and graduated from Baldwin High School with the class of 1954.

JoAnne held many different careers in her lifetime. JoAnne’s first job was at the Baldwin Creamery. She was a nurse’s assistant at both the River Falls and Hudson hospitals. JoAnne was a real estate agent, managed the office at Luther Park Bible Camp, and was in various different types of business accounting positions, including payroll and bookkeeping. However, her favorite roles in life were being a wife and a mother, raising her children in Hudson, WI.

In October of 1955, JoAnne married her best friend, Victor Nelson, at the First Reformed Church in Baldwin, WI. The couple had four cherished children: Linda, Stewart, Brenda, and Julie. JoAnne was very proud of her children, and it showed in every moment she spent time with or spoke of them.

Just as JoAnne explored many different careers, she also had a variety of interests and hobbies throughout her life. JoAnne spent much of her free time outdoors gardening, and enjoyed golfing, snowmobiling, and taking the kids camping and fishing. Many of the fruits and vegetables from her gardens were canned and used in JoAnne’s famous family feasts. She sang in the choir of every church she attended.

JoAnne’s adventurous spirit also led her across the country. She and Victor would often take car rides through the countryside, traversing back roads along the way. JoAnne has been through all 50 states, and made 13 trips to Alaska. She made several trips to Green Bay, WI to see Packers’ games with Victor. After a 24 hour delay, because her plane caught fire, she made it to Dublin, Ireland for a month to help Linda and John with the homeless ministry at the Lighthouse with Dublin Christian Mission. She took a ferry to England and enjoyed visiting with the local people. She sang as part of the chorus for a worship album in Belfast.

At her bedside, she was told that she would never be lost to her family, as we all knew where she was going. However she will be dearly missed by those who were blessed to have JoAnne be a part of their lives.

JoAnne’s memory and love will live on in the hearts of her husband of 65 years, Victor; four children, Linda (John) Harrison of Freeport, TX, Stewart (Ana) Nelson of Longboat Key, FL, Brenda (Kraig) McConaughey of Somerset, WI, and Julie Nelson of Somerset, WI; four grandchildren, Jeremy (Tamara) Grass, Justin (Rachel) Johnson, Thiago Grijo Dal-Toe Nelson (Mariana), and Beige McConaughey; five great-grandchildren, Silas and Cholena Grass, Tyson and Zoey Johnson, and Valentina Dal-Toe Nelson; sister, Sharon (Roger) Wolske; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, friends, and neighbors. She is preceded in death by her parents, John and Dorothy Vandenberg, and her stepfather, Harry Grotenhuis; grandson, Nicholas Grijo Nelson; and brother, Arnold (Connie)Vandenberg.

A Funeral Service for JoAnne will take place at 5:00 P.M, Friday, March 12, 2021 at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home, 1010 Newton St. Baldwin, WI 54002. A Visitation will be held for two hours prior to the service. JoAnne’s funeral is available above. Private Interment will occur at the Baldwin Cemetery at a later date. 

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JoAnne M.'s Tribute Wall

Tributes (8):

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    • To my dear Aunt JoAnne,
      What a beautiful life you lived! What a beautiful family you raised. I will never forget your sweet and loving personality. What a joy to be named after you, my dear sweet Aunt. I love you forever and till we meet again, rest easy in Gods arms.

    • JoAnne,
      You are now reunited with my baby brother Nicholas and we now have another guardian angel in heaven. Through Stewart, your great granddaughter Valentina will hear about your life story and we will always look up to you as a brave woman, caring and loving wife, mother and grandmother. I will forever cherish the memories of the moments we spent together in Florida.
      God Bless you,

    • Linda, our sympathies go out to you and your family. So sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to lose a parent. I love the way you write. It was so inspirational. I know that Jesus is holding and comforting you all. Take care of each other. Love and hugs.

    • Hi momma,
      It’s me… As I reflect over every precious minute I was able to spend with you on this last fight of many you have fought, As Brenda said I will also think of you everytime I see a cardinal. Oh how you loved to watch all of God’s different and beautiful bird’s. The snowman that Linda & Brenda made for you has slowly faded away, but I will think of you everyday, as I always did.This morning there was a little bit of John Jacob ( The snowman ☃️) left. Linda, saw a cardinal she was able to capture two beautiful pictures of it, I truly believe it was a sign from you telling us that God has another angel in Heaven. The cardinal was not under the suet feeder looking for seeds, it was right at the very base of the last fading ball of snow of John Jacob. I truly believe that was a beautiful sign from God to help us have more peace.
      Momma I have so many beautiful memories of you that there are almost to many to share.. You were such a selfless person, when ever I needed you for all of my medical issues and surgeries you were Always there to take care for me, you did this for all of your children, actually you have never stopped helping & worrying.. You, being your four children’s BEST momma in the whole world always taking care of us from the time we were in you’re womb until the last day on earth,you took care of us. Now was our turn to take care of you! watching thing’s slowly being taken from you, ( walking with the walker, getting yourself into the car, trying carefully not to wake dad to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, eating, right down to when you could not speak anymore, you figured out a way to communicate to us what you were thinking or needed us to know, from the tapping of your wedding ring on the bed rail, to the sign launge style you came up with, we knew for the most part what you wanted or needed, but even then you took care of us using all of your strength to putting your arm around us as we lay our head at your chest, to Holding us, softly touching our face, squeezing our hands, putting your finger’s through Brenda’s hair, you took care of us, you wanted to make sure we where okay, that is the true definition of mother. I love 💕 you, & miss you so much! I know you are gone to be with our Lord and Savior, what a beautiful comfort I have knowing that!
      So it’s never going to be good bye, I know I now have you as another guardian angel, it’s just as I would end our phone conversations, I love you, talk to you soon.

      Your favorite (youngest) daughter

    • Oh Momma,
      I miss you desperately! As I reflect on the description of the Proverbs 31 passage, it really does describe you. You were so humble and sacrificed so much for the family. I will always remember our talks and walks and the way you would laugh with me when I made mistakes. I love how you always came with dad to help us out- even the times we split wood together when Beige was so little. I loved when we went to Mackinac Island together and I got us lost- we sure took the long way to the Grand Hotel! I can still hear you say I have to get my bearings- I even say it now.
      I’ll forever think of you when I make menus- you even made one when you were in the hospital- for the thanksgiving dinner we had- we had it a bit late but we still had it and all 4 of your kids came- how you loved it when we could all be together! Mom, I’ll think of you whenever I see a cardinal- hear a choir- or watch a Packer game with dad, while eating popcorn. Mom, he’s still got the pan!
      These past 3 months being with you at your side, have been the most precious times. I cherish the moments we spent in prayer and reflecting on passages together. I have been listening for your ring tapping during the night. How I long to hear that sound again. But I know you are having an amazing time with Jesus- and we will be together again soon.
      Love you Momma, Brenda

    • My sympathy goes out to the family. JoAnne was my best friend on Hoyt street for many years. I really missed her when she moved away.
      Joan Saathoff

    • To my Mother you were a wonderful loving and caring mom.
      I remember some of our earliest times growing up in River Falls.
      Walks to the park by the creek, playing in the drive way with my toy tractor, you rescued me from a foot locker, going on to Hudson we mowed the lawn together, pulled weeds in the garden, you were a Den mother for our cub scouts pack, you made the best apple pies, so much so they replaced cakes at my birthday. You would watch me play base ball, football, wrestle and run track. As I grew up and moved away I always loved coming home to see you and dad, up north, it was always nice to come home. I am blessed that we were able to be together during the month of December for one last time. I miss you mom,, I love you dearly, you will always be in our hearts. You have now been reunited in heaven with previously departed family and friends as well as your grandson Nicholas. We will see each other again and until then you will be remembered everyday in our hearts, God bless you Mom.

      Your son Stewart