Joan Heeren

Joan Heeren

Joan Mary Heeren, 88, Luverne, died Thursday, July 29, 2021, at the Luverne Medical Center.

A memorial Mass was Tuesday, Aug. 3, at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Luverne. A private burial of cremains will be at a later date at the St. Adrian Cemetery. Memorials will be given to St. Catherine Catholic Church.

Joan Steffensmeier was born on Dec. 3, 1932, to Joseph and Philomena (Kluthe) Steffensmeier on the family farm near Dodge, Nebraska. The family later lived on a farm near Scribner, Nebraska, and in 1945 moved to Salem, South Dakota. Joan attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Salem and worked for the Salem Special weekly newspaper as well as helping her father with bookkeeping and bill collecting for his newly started plumbing business.

Following graduation, Joan moved with a classmate to Rock Rapids, Iowa, where she began working for the Rock Rapids State Bank and where she met Marlyn.

Joan married Marlyn Heeren on June 2, 1952, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Salem. They first lived on Marlyn’s parents’ farm south of Ellsworth. In 1954 they purchased and moved to their own farm east of Magnolia in rural Nobles County.  There they raised their five children. Joan helped primarily with bookwork but also supplemented the farm income by waitressing at the Magnolia Steak House starting in 1957. Joan and Marlyn moved to Luverne in 1994. Joan continued waitressing until 2011 after 54 years with the same business. Joan’s greatest pleasure included developing many friendships throughout the area with coworkers and multiple generations of customers of the Magnolia Steak House.

Joan was a member of St. Adrian Catholic Church and later St. Catherine Catholic Church. She was a longtime member of the Ladies Aid and participated in pilgrimages with St. Catherine members. She and Marlyn enjoyed travel, playing pinochle with neighboring farm couples, and driving around the countryside viewing crops and checking out all the local restaurants.

Joan later joined several pinochle clubs in Luverne. Her lifetime hobby was sewing Christmas stockings and many other types of Christmas fancywork that was personalized for the recipient.  

Joan is survived by her children Deborah Sunderlin, Magnolia, Patricia (Kraig) Rust, Kenneth, David (Tammie) Heeren, Lakeville, and Pamela (Roger) Talsma, Chandler; two sisters, Marilyn Eichacker, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Rita (Eugene) Zinnel, Brewster; a brother, James Steffensmeier, Sioux Falls; 13 grandchildren, Amanda (Tim) Haberman, Steven (Kala) Talsma, Eric Talsma, Mariah Talsma, Nicholas Weets, Zechariah Weets, Tiffany Heeren, Jacob Heeren, Marie (Tony) Smook, Nathan (Darlene) Rust, Justin (Judith) Rust, Sierra (Steven) Beardsworth, and Chantel Heeren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Merlyn, in 2008; her son Douglas in 2017; her parents-in-law; and a brother-in-law Leonard Eichacker.

Arrangements were provided by Dingmann Funeral Home in Luverne, dingmannandsons.com.

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