Joann Wicklund Welinski was born July 31, 1927, in Pine River to J. Waldemar and Eldora (Robideau) Wicklund. She was baptized at First Lutheran Church in August 1927. The family moved to Walker in 1932, where her father supervised schools in Cass County. At that time, he acquired an island on Hand Lake where the family cabin was built in 1941. In 1943, the family moved to Edmonton, Alberta, where Joann graduated from McDougall High School as valedictorian. She worked her way through college — two years at Augsburg and two at the University of Minnesota. She graduated with a degree in music education in 1950 and was a classical pianist and piano teacher for most of her life. After three years of teaching music at Glencoe and Little Falls, she married Bernard (Spud) Welinski, June 27, 1953, at St. John’s Catholic Church in Hopkins. They lived in Minneapolis and Hopkins and in 1958 moved to Northfield, where they raised three children: Claire Louise, Mark Bernard and James Joseph.Joann was an active member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. She volunteered for several community organizations including AAUW, Hospital Auxiliary, Help Line and women’s church groups. She directed choirs for several years including the Jubilee Bells. She and her sister Liz took many ski trips together and traveled to London in 1992. After their retirement, Joann and Spud traveled to Arizona and western canyon lands, West Virginia, Alaska, Hawaii and flew to Vancouver to take the Great Northern Train to Edmonton, Alberta. They arrived home Sept. 10, 2001. One of Joann’s biggest joys was her eight grandchildren — attending their concerts, athletic events and other happenings. The family spent many weekends together at the Welinski cabin on the west shore of Hand Lake. Her life reflected her love of family, service to others and the love of her church. Her devoted husband Spud and her loving family were close in the years of her life.
Survivors include her husband of 60 years, Spud; children, Claire Welinski Hill and husband Steve of Glenwood, Mark and wife Julie of Duluth and James and wife Barbara of Duluth; grandchildren, Michael, Benjamin (Megan) and Isaac Hill and Megan, Andrew, Joel, Thomas and Natalie Welinski; sister, Ann Elizabeth Wicklund of Bloomington; brother, Gene Paul (Karen) Wicklund of Minneapolis; aunt, Dorothy Akerson of Worthington; nieces, nephews, several cousins, other relatives and many friends.
Joann passed away with her family by her side Friday evening, July 19, 2013, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester at the age of 85.
Funeral services were held July 23, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Northfield. Interment was in the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls. Casketbearers were her eight grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the music fund at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, UNICEF or the Northfield Senior Center.