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Joyce C. (Johnson) Finke

December 11, 1928 ~ September 18, 2018 (age 89)

Joyce Finke, age 89 of Glenwood, died Monday, September 17, 2018 at the Glenwood Retirement Village. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Thursday, September 27th, at Glenwood Lutheran Church, with Rev. Krista Lee officiating. Visitation will be at the church, one hour prior to the service. Inurnment will take place at 3:30 P.M. on the day of service, in Vining Lutheran Cemetery, Vining, Minnesota.

Joyce Celestia (Johnson) Finke was born December 11, 1928, in International Falls, MN, the youngest of three daughters of John “Jack” and Celestia “Pat” Johnson. Joyce was raised in humble circumstances during the Great Depression. She began first grade at the age of 4, a year younger than many of her classmates. This was in order to free up her mother to assist other family members, and especially to care for her father who was continuing to recover from health effects he experienced in World War I. Despite her father’s health however, he built every home they lived in while she was growing up. Her childhood was filled with friends, countless nearby relatives, school, reading, and family projects for gardening, canning, baking, berry picking, fishing, camping, stacking the wood that heated their home—and in general enjoying life in “The Falls.”

In high school she learned to play the violin and enjoyed participating in orchestra, as well as attending any and all high school events. She had a love of the outdoors and in the summer would often go camping, as she and her girlfriends would be left on one of the many Rainy Lake islands via boat by one of their fathers and then retrieved days later.

She attended Duluth State Teachers College (now UMD) and always remembered her time there very fondly, enjoying every class and event, dormitory life, and even her cafeteria job. Her Torrence Hall dormitory reunions continued well into her 70’s. She graduated with a two-year degree and at age 18 began teaching first grade in Tower, MN.

She saw her teaching years as pure delight. She loved her students and their families. She made life-long friends at all the places she taught: Tower, Alexandria, MN, Seaside, OR, and St. Louis Park, MN. She pursued her love of travel in the summers, often visiting nephews and nieces in WA, but also to AZ, NY, OR as well as friends’ cabins, farms and homes. One summer she and two friends took their rucksacks, crossed the Atlantic on a ship and spent 10 weeks visiting relatives in Norway and Finland. They also visited the UK, just as the restoration from WWII was getting underway.

While teaching in Alexandria, she met a tall fellow named David at a summer dance. They dated but within months he was sent to Korea. They corresponded throughout his enlistment and when he returned home, they began making plans. David and Joyce were married at Zion Lutheran Church in International Falls on June 23, 1956. As newlyweds, they lived in Spring Lake Park, MN until an opportunity arose to purchase a Ford dealership in Glenwood. Finke Ford opened in November 1957 and Joyce resigned her teaching post in St. Louis Park at the end of fall term that year, commuting to Glenwood on weekends in the interim.

Her next decades were filled with children, family, friends, homemaking, entertaining, and gardening. Joyce was also very active in the community and church. At Glenwood Lutheran she taught Sunday school, served as a deacon and on boards in numerous capacities, and was active in circle and many other parish activities. She was elected to the Glenwood School Board twice, always championing early childhood education and the arts. The construction of Minnewaska Area High School occurred during her tenure. She belonged to Literary Club, Sons of Norway, and her beloved card club for many years. Later she was a 20+ year hospice volunteer and was honored to work with many families in the Glenwood area. She was known for her talents hosting gatherings large and small in her homes.

She and David continued to travel, making frequent trips to northern MN, and visiting Norway, Hawaii, Puerto Rico many states throughout the US, Alaska being a favorite.  In retirement they had fun spending winter months in Lake Havesu, AZ. They also enjoyed decades of summers at their cabin on Lake Stuart in Vining, MN.

She will be remembered for her love of David and her family; her love of all children; her commitment to early childhood education, the arts, and hospice service; her life-long friendships; her compassion and generosity especially for those experiencing hard times; her ties to northern MN; her sincere welcome extended to any visitor; hosting Camp Stuart for her grandchildren; her homemade oatmeal bread; and her innate joy and gratitude for the goodness in life. She was a happy person who was always pleased to see you.

Joyce is survived by her children, Jane (Robert) Beauchamp, St. Paul, MN; Thomas (Rise’), Pipestone, MN; Peter (Darla), Staples, MN, and Matthew, Vining MN; her 8 grandchildren, Elizabeth (Mike) Trautmiller, Patrick (Jamie) Finke, Melinda (Shane) Hollenbeck, Emily Finke, Jonathan (Erin) Finke, Ian (Brittany) Davy, Alec Davy, Scott Beauchamp, and Ian and Alec’s father Richard Davy; and 7 great-grandchildren, Avery and Silas Trautmiller, Ophelia and Ralph Davy, Micah and Gabriel Hollenbeck, and Josiah Finke.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 60 years, David, in 2016; her infant sister, Gaia Jane; and her sister and brother-in-law, Kathleen and Frank Timmer.

Loving and Beloved



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