Joyce McNelly of Fosston, MN, passed away with peace in her heart, while family held her hand Monday afternoon, October 10, 2016 at Essentia Health Hospital,Fosston. She was 95 years, two months, and 10 days young.
Joyce Mary Reed was born on July 30, 1921 in Walker, Minnesota to parents Vinton and Katherine (Newquist) Reed. She grew up in the Walker / Pine River area and graduated from Pine River High School in 1939. She then attended Eitel Hospital School of Nursing in Minneapolis where she became a registered nurse in 1942. She began her nursing career in the surgery unit at Ah-Gwah-Ching tuberculosis treatment center near Walker.
Joyce was united in the sacrament of marriage to Dean R. McNelly on October 16, 1943 at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Walker. They started their new life together on the Foot Lake family farm in rural McIntosh, Minnesota. Dean and Joyce began raising four of their seven children there as Dean farmed and was a vocational agricultural teacher. After several years in McIntosh, Dean’s teaching career had the family moving (and expanding) to the rural communities of Northfield, Graceville, and Karlstad, Minnesota. Joyce worked, as a RN in each of these communities. They eventually returned to Polk County in 1965, settling in Fosston.
From 1965 until 1983, Joyce worked at the Fosston Municipal Hospital. Joyce developed and taught the first health occupations classes at Fosston High School. Dean passed away at the family home on October 7, 1983. Joyce was supported by the local community while she cared for Dean until his death. Joyce then cared for her own mother as her mother was dying in the Fosston Hospital February of 1984. The positive impact of the community’s support lead Joyce to pioneer a volunteer, community based Hospice program in Fosston. The city of Fosston graciously provided office space in which to work, coordinate and organize volunteers and equipment. Although the Hospice program has changed over the years, the mission Joyce set forth in 1984 remains the same as it is today.
Joyce enjoyed reminiscing about her nursing experiences, reading novels, doing crossword puzzles and traveling. She was an excellent cook and baker and loved sharing that gift with her family. Summer family gatherings at Mark and Pat’s home on Lake Ethel were always a special joy for her. Faith and family were most important to her.
She was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church for over 50 years; serving in many capacities.
She received the Person of the Year Award in 1984 and later the Fosston Service Award for her Hospice efforts.
Joyce lived in her home until 2008 when she moved to Cornerstone in Fosston.
She is survived by her children, Deanna of Maple Lake, MN, John (Lynnda) of Jackson, MN, Michael (Carra) of Cookeville, TN, Mary (Bill) of Duluth, MN, Teresa (Rob) of Duluth, and Paul (Sue) of Champlin, MN; 18 grandchildren; 15 great grandchildren; daughter-in-law, Pat of Battle Lake, MN; sisters-in-law, Ellen Reed of New Hope, MN, Rosemarie Good of Arizona; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; son, Mark; and brothers, Jackie (in infancy), James, Thomas and Gilbert.
Honorary Pallbearers: Lois Schimanski (deceased), Rose Mireault, Clara Manecke, Mary Miller, Linda Blaser, Jan Hemmingsen, and Dorothy Killian.
Active Pallbearers: Paul, Randy and and Jesse Robertson, Matthew and Andy Stroozas, Stephen and Michael McNelly, and Alec McCleary.
VISITATION: 5 to 7 p.m. (rosary at 6:45 p.m.) with prayer service to follow at 7 pm Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 in St. Mary’s CatholicChurch, Fosston. Visitation will resume Monday, Oct. 17, 2016 from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial in the church with Father John Melkies Suvakeen as Celebrant. Interment will be in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery Hansville, rural Fosston. Lunch and fellowship to follow at the church social hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the Northwest Minnesotan Foundation 201 3rd Street NW Bemidji, MN 56601 • 800-659-7859
www.nwmf.org in care of the Dean & Joyce McNelly Vocational Scholarship Fund (Fosston) or charity of your choice.
Arrangements are with the Carlin-Hoialmen Funeral Home of Fosston