Joan M. Wilson, 39, of rural Akron, died Sunday evening, May 2, 2004, from injuries sustained from being struck by a vehicle while out jogging.
Joan Marie Wittinger was born Sept. 14, 1964, in Minneapolis, Minn. She was raised in Fridley, Minn., and graduated from North Dakota State University in 1986. She married Neil Wilson on July 26, 1986 in Fridley, Minn. They were bound together for life in love.
In devotion to her husband, Joan supported relocating the family several times throughout Neil's career, before coming to Le Mars in 1995. During that time, she worked as an activities and social services director in several nursing homes, for the American Red Cross and with special needs children. She devoted herself full-time to her family after the adoption of their first child. Together, Joan and Neil established their family business, Horizon Distribution in 1998.
Joan had a zeal for life. She made the little and the big things special. Her listening ear, caring heart, and unconditional love encouraged many. Joan loved the outdoors, from camping and playing with her kids, to training for adventure races with her husband. They used their athletic ability to testify to their faith by forming an adventure race team called "Team Witness". Joan and Neil are also active members of Le Mars Bible Church. She was chairwoman of Women's Fellowship, involved with the children's and youth programs and coordinator of the M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) program in Le Mars.
Joan's faith in Christ was tremendously important to her. She lived her life for the Lord and her family. She walked and talked with God daily asking for His grace, forgiveness, and love for all those around her. Joan loved to worship the Lord in song and her children learned to "sing to the Lord" by hearing and watching her enthusiasm in worship. She served as a fellow worker in Christ with her husband in their life together as parents, entrepreneurs, and athletes. Joan raised sheep and knew the job of a shepherd . . . to care for the sheep, to guide them where they need to go and provide a safe place for rest. She did the same for those who came in contact with her, from family to friends, to even strangers who met her for the first time. Now she is with the Good Shepherd and is enjoying eternally green pastures with Him.
Survivors include her husband and best friend, Neil and their four children, Craig (9), Rayla (6), Jaden (5), and Kaley (4) of Akron; her mother, Kathleen Wittinger of Columbia Heights, Minn.; her father, Kenneth Wittinger of Fridley, Minn.; brothers and sisters, Kevin and his wife, Ann Wittinger, and their children Isaac and Alexandra of Corcoran, Minn.; Alan Wittinger of Sacramento, Calif., Mary and her husband, Jimmy McManus, and their children Michael, Joshua, Katie, and Elsie of Lake Port, Calif., Ann Wittinger of Oakdale, Minn.; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Barb and Michael Wilson of Mandan, N.D.; brothers-in-law, Todd and his wife, Sara Wilson, and their children Hannah and Kai of Grand Island, Neb., and Shawn Wilson of Apia, Western Samoa; several aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends.
Joan will be missed beyond comprehension. We have truly lost one of God's very best for this lifetime.
Celebration of Life services will be 10 a.m. Friday at the Le Mars Bible Church (1550 Seventh Ave. S.E., 712-546-6915) with Pastor Fred Gums officiating. A visitation will be at 3 p.m. Thursday at the church with a prayer service following at 7 p.m. Joan has given the gift of life through organ and tissue donation and will be cremated. Arrangements are with the Carlsen Funeral Home of Le Mars.
Donations in honor of Joan's life may be made to: The Living Center, 112 Central Ave. N,E,, Le Mars, Iowa 51031.