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Obituary: JoAnn G. (Johnson) Oswell


August 13, 2021

JoAnn G. (Johnson) Oswell, 73, of Carlton died peacefully Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, surrounded by her family. She was born Feb. 28, 1948 in Cloquet to Carl Elon Johnson and Fern B. (Mullen) Johnson.

JoAnn grew up in Cloquet and graduated from Cloquet High School in 1966. She married the love of her life, Curt Oswell, on May 20, 1967. They resided in San Diego and Newport News, Virginia before settling in Carlton in 1972. Curt and JoAnn lovingly made the same house a home for her family, friends, and neighbors for nearly 48 years.

She is remembered fondly for having an open door to all of the kids in the neighborhood, and she loved feeding every one of them. Having a house (and yard) full of family, friends, and neighbors delighted her. She also loved camping, crafting, baking cakes, making homemade breads and candies, agate picking, and playing cards with her friends.

She took great pleasure in the caretaking of others and in seeing her family be happy and feel loved and supported. Nothing was more important to her than her family, and she was proud to have remained so close to her many cousins as they grew from childhood to adulthood and into their senior years, referring to her Wednesday night dinner crew as "the gang" that she was a part of her whole life.

Once JoAnn's daughters were grown, JoAnn went back to school, graduating with an associate's degree from Fond du Lac Tribal Community College in 1991. In her time there she took great pride in the work she did advocating for Minnesota community colleges as a student leader and executive officer representing the interests of the Minnesota Community College Student Association. As a nontraditional student, JoAnn became "Mom" to many of the students who belonged to the organization. She was always the "cool mom" even when she wasn't even trying.

JoAnn's greatest pride in life besides her husband and daughters was her love for her grandsons, Cade, Blake and Dane. Once she became a grandma, "Jo" became "Josie" to her boys. She lovingly helped raise them and nothing made her happier than seeing them grow up and become strong, smart, kind and caring young men. She beamed in their presence and they will forever have healthy self-esteem since they are "perfect children."

JoAnn was preceded in death by her parents; her son-in-law, Curt Singpiel; and her sister and brother-in-law, Charlotte and Arthur Johnson.

She is survived by her husband, Curt; her two daughters, Leigh (Todd Crandall) Singpiel and Laurie (Adam) Graupe; her three grandsons, Cade, Blake and Dane Singpiel; brothers, Jim (Pauline) Johnson and Jerry (Carolyn) Johnson; her uncle, Dale Mullen, and aunt, Madonna Morrisette; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends.

Due to the resurgence of Covid-19, a celebration of JoAnn's life will be held at a later date. Letters and cards of condolence may be sent to the family in care of Atkins Northland Funeral Home, 801 14th St., Cloquet, MN 55720. To sign the guestbook and offer an online tribute, see

Pine Knot News, Aug. 13, 2021


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