JOYCE ELAINE WESSELS was born on March 10, 1929, to Thomas and Marie (Boelman) Reemts on the family farm near Ash Creek in Rock County, Minnesota. She spent her childhood years on the farm with her two sisters. She was baptized and confirmed at the State Line Ebenezer Church. She attended country school in her early years and graduated from Luverne High School with the class of 1947. She married her childhood sweetheart, Norman Wessels, on January 14, 1949, at the Presbyterian Manse at the State Line Ebenezer Church. The couple lived for a short time in Rock Rapids and then Ash Creek before settling in Luverne, Minnesota in 1954. Here they put down their roots and raised their family. Joyce began working at JC Penny Company in Rock Rapids while still in high school. She then transferred to the Luverne store where she worked until 1963. At that time, Joyce became manager of the Montgomery Ward Catalog store in Luverne where she worked until her retirement in 1985. During her retirement years, she attained her realtor’s license and worked for Luethje’s Realty out of Luverne. In their later years, the couple enjoyed splitting time between their home in Luverne, their cabin on Lake Shetek, and their winter escape in Weslaco, Texas. On Saturday, May 23, 2020, Joyce died peacefully at the Good Samaritan Society – Mary Jane Brown Home in Luverne at the age of 91 years, two months, and 13 days.
Joyce was an active member of the Luverne Presbyterian Church where she served as a deacon, elder, and on various church committees. She belonged to the Esther Circle for over 50 years and then the Mary Circle for three years. She was a past matron of Eastern Star, president of the Luverne Tourist Club and the Mrs. Jaycees. Joyce was the first female president of the Luverne Chamber of Commerce and was active in many civic organizations while involved in business. She enjoyed spending time watching game shows, especially Jeopardy and the Price is Right, and completing her daily newspaper crossword puzzle. She loved spending time with her family and compiling family and area photo history books.
Joyce is lovingly remembered by her husband of over 71 years, Norman of Luverne; her children, Linda Schoon (Dick Knapper) of Luverne, and Mark (Lin) Wessels of Rock Rapids; seven grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; her sister, Gladys (Herman) Walker of Sioux Falls, SD; and her in-laws, all from Rock County, Enore Boelman, Gertrude Wessels, Donald Schouwenberg, Lowell Wessels, Iva (Edwin) Elbers, Harold Wessels, Theresa Wessels, Douglas (Ginny) Wessels, David (Beverly) Wessels; and other family and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Thomas and Marie Reemts; son, Michael Wessels; her grandson, Andy Wessels; great-granddaughter, Lucille Sailor; and her sister, Dorothy Johnson; brothers-in-law, Stanley Wessels, Darrel Wessels, and Edwin Boelman; sisters-in-law, Sharon Wessels, Jolene Wessels, and Phyllis Schouwenberg; and niece, Kristina Martinez.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Luverne Dollars for Scholars Program, the Sanford Luverne Hospice Cottage, or Autism Speaks.