Joan Lou Rockwell ( Jo ) of Rochester MN passed peacefully on June 22 , 2022 into her Heavenly Home . Born October 10 , 1926 in Chicago Illinois , Joan had LIVED 95+ years FULLY . For the last 8 years she had been a resident at The Homestead of Rochester a senior living campus . She had remained an independent resident participating in an enriching life of activities and friendships .
During this time she also kept active at her church First Presbyterian singing in the choir, participating in the Pricilla Women's circle and the prayer shawl group .
Jo grew up in Chicago , the daughter of Carl and Anna Hipelius . Her summers were spent at the family summer home on Gravel Lake near Lawton Michigan . Graduating at the age of 15 from Fenger High School she went on to continue her education at Thornton Junior College . She married Wayne Rockwell and they moved to Kalamazoo Michigan where they raised their 3 children .
Many years were spent in Kalamazoo . Always a sports enthusiast she was an officiate at competitive swimming events which her children participated in . She was active in a ski club and of course a BIG fan of Michigan State sports . Her love of classical music led her to join the Kalamazoo Symphony League . During her working years she joined ZONTA International . ZONTA is an international service club that's mission is the advancement of women world wide . Through ZONTA she had the opportunity for international travel which she dearly enjoyed . She was proud of her career in Records Management working for and retiring from National Water Lift in Kalamazoo .
Joan came to Rochester after retirement to be near her daughter Mary and her family .She enjoyed being Grandma ,now attending the granddaughter's swimming events , working part time at MACY's , and still belonging to and participating in ZONTA through the Austin , Minnesota club . Jo loved Minnesota and as one grandson would tease " it is the land of 10'000 lakes and 10'000 stories " . Joan had an incredible thirst for knowledge and the family all learned a lot about her new home .
Always interested in the work at Mayo Clinic , Joan participated in their Study of Aging . Upon her passing an organ donation was made to this program.
Joan was preceded in death by her parents Carl and Anna Hipelius , brother Carl Hipelius and son-in-law Harry Melling . Joan has left her family and friends with many wonderful memories of a life FULLY lived !
Family members include : Christine Melling-Krantz and Wayne Krantz ( Clarklake Mi ) James and Arlene Rockwell ( Lawton Mi ) Mary and Dan Kuffel ( Rochester ). Grandchildren Michelle Melling McShane , Mark Melling , Matthew Melling , Erin Rockwell Seaverson , Amy Rockwell Amman , Anna Kuffel Payne , and Alyssa Kuffel Muniz . Great Grandchildren Holli , Andrew , Connor and Ryan McShane , Brendan, Amanda, and Katelyn Melling, Audrey , Morgan and Ben Seaverson , Jackson and Leah Payne and one Great Great Emilia Simpson .
A memorial service for Joan will be held Saturday July 23,2022 at 11:00 AM at First Presbyterian Church, 512 3rd St SW, Rochester, MN 55902, visitation will be one hour prior to the service.
Internment of ashes will be at First Presbyterian Church Kalamazoo
Contributions to Paws and Claws Humane Society in Rochester, First Presbyterian Church Rochester , or Mayo Clinic are suggested by the family in lieu of flowers. Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Rockwell family; to share a special memory of condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com
Rochester, MN 55902
Rochester, MN 55902
Nana Chris and Papa Wayne,
We are so sorry for your loss. We are praying for your heart to be healed and that memories of times shared fill you with joy.
Brian, Christina, Elizabeth, Jaden, and Mae