April 25, 1930-June 14, 2014
Joan died peacefully surrounded by family at her granddaughter Kate's home in Marshall following a brief battle with Alzheimer's. Joan was the daughter of Elza Mike and Leona Marie Blaze Dragoo. She was born on April 25, 1930, in Duluth and enjoyed life with her family. On Jan. 12, 1942, her father died after suffering a heart attack while shoveling snow. Life went on without a dad but many uncles to help raise her.
She met the love of her life, Earl Smith, while waitressing in a little caf in Buffalo. Dad always said he fell in love the minute he saw her. He always teased her because she was so flustered by him that she accidentally dropped some shells in his egg sandwich. That's all it took for our family to begin. They were married on July 19, 1947, at a small resort in Buffalo that was owned by the Smith family. To this union they were blessed with two daughters, Linda Katherine Hansen and Karin (Allen) Livermore. She also gave birth to two more baby girls but one was born dead and the other died shortly after birth.
Joan Delores Smith
Life went on with all of the usual flow of birthdays, baptisms, confirmations, graduations and weddings. Earl had many jobs during their marriage, one of which was police officer in White Bear Lake. That job guided him to his final job of Minnesota State Highway Patrolman and a move to Marshall in 1961.
She lost her mother to cancer on Feb. 27, 1966. Life does throw curve balls at us occasionally but she never let them get her down. She was thrilled to welcome grandchildren into their lives. Michelle (and David) DeLeeuw, Deborah (and Dan) Newton and Nicole Joan Hansen. Brian (and Michelle) Livermore and Katherine (and Russ) Berreth. She once again experienced sorrow at the death of her husband, Earl, on Nov. 15, 2004. It is always a difficult transition from wife to widow but she managed to continue enjoying life.
As life went on great-grandchildren were added to her loving family. Alexandra Lynn (Hansen) White, Jackson Lee Newton, Matthew John DeLeeuw, William Daniel Newton, Braeden Allen Berreth, B'Elanna Mae Berreth, Griffin Jacob Livermore, Sophia Juline Livermore and Gabriella Grace Berreth. She enjoyed spending time with all of them.
Joan enjoyed many things throughout her life. She and dad were founding members of St. Stephens Lutheran church in White Bear Lake, she was a past Worthy Matron of Eastern Star, a member of the Red Hat Ladies, growing glorious impatiens, playing cards once a week with the Ladies of the Lake at Lake Cochrane. But she received the greatest joy in mowing and keeping the lawn beautiful. She loved to have people compliment her on how nice everything looked.
A memorial service was held for Joan on Sunday, June 15, 2014, for family only. Her wish was to be cremated and the family is honoring those wishes. She will be greatly missed by her family, her favorite "adopted grandson," Jeff Negaard, and all of the friends and acquaintances she made throughout her life.
Arrangements are with Birk Funeral Home of Canby.