As in Living, so to in Passing – with Poise, Grace and Determination – to her last breath, imparting life lessons.
Joan Lee Welch Young was born to parents Ralph K. Welch and Billie (Willa Beth Eastgate) Welch in Williston, ND, she joined sister Jean W. Welch Paisley at the family home in Watford City, ND, relocating with her family in 1941 to Fargo, ND at the age of 3.
She attended public school through Grade 8 in Fargo, moving with her family to Great Falls, MT when her father left his position as County Agent for McKenzie County, ND and accepted a position as Director of Atwood Larson Grain Commission of Montana.
Joan graduated from Great Falls H.S. in 1956 and followed sister Jean to Montana State College (University) in Bozeman, MT. An active member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority, she graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and accepted her first teaching position at East Junior H.S. in Great Falls, MT where she taught until the birth of her first child, with husband R. Terry Johnson, (Montana State College, Bachelor of Architecture, 1959) Daughter Shawn L Johnson was born in January of 1964 with son, Ty R Johnson joining the family in November of 1968.
Joan returned to teaching in 1973 accepting a position at Paris Gibson Junior H.S. in Great Falls, MT. She moved with her children in 1975, claiming Helena as home until her passing. Although most of her lifetime was spent in Montana, the family farm, Willowbank in Laramore, ND was forever in her heart.
While her favorite and most rewarding occupation was as a homemaker and being involved in her children’s activities, she fondly volunteered with various organizations in the Helena Area as well. In addition to her volunteer work at St. Pete’s Cancer Treatment Center, it was through her volunteer work with NODA (No One Dies Alone), visiting every other week with like-minded friends, that she was finally able to find peace and say goodbye to her mother.
Beyond all other accomplishments, it was the gift of sobriety that she was able to receive 29 years ago that we who survive her, both family and friends alike, are most grateful for and humbled by. The tenants instilled through a life of commitment to AA carried her strongly and steadily through her short walk with cancer.
Preceded in death by her parents, Ralph & Billie Welch and many dear friends, Joan is survived by her children, daughter Shawn Johnson-Mudgett and son Ty R. Johnson, their spouses, Eric Mudgett and Rochelle Johnson, and her grandchildren Jacob & Emerson and Nathan & Joshua, by many dear friends and the souls of many beloved furry friends.
We extend heart-felt thanks to her dear friends and St. Peter’s Hospice Volunteers, without whom we could not have fulfilled her end of life wishes – to pass in the comfort of her home embraced by all those who cherish her.
In lieu of a Memorial Service, Joan's wish is for those who want to celebrate her life is to do so with a piece of Red Velvet Cake and a Smile.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.