A hometown newspaper with a local office, local owners & lots of local news

Obituary: Joan Urbanski

Joan M. Urbanski, 92, of Cloquet passed away Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, in Community Memorial Hospital. Joan was born on Sept. 1, 1931, in Arlington, Minnesota, where she grew up before her family moved to Ten Mile Lake near Hackensack, Minnesota. She attended Walker High School, graduating in 1949.

Joan earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics education from the College of Saint Benedict in 1953. She began teaching in Aitkin that year, and then moved to Cloquet for a teaching position in 1955. Joan met her husband, Larry, while they were teachers in Aitkin and were engaged when both taught in Cloquet. Rules of that era did not allow married couples to teach in the same school, so after getting married in 1956, Joan took a break from the classroom during the years their four children were born. Joan resumed her teaching career at Wrenshall High School in 1963.

Joan helped her students learn the basics and advanced techniques of cooking, sewing, money management, child development and family education. She was faculty advisor to student clubs and activities, including Future Homemakers of America, and Senior Class advisor. Joan led her students each December in hosting the renowned Christmas Tea social event at Wrenshall. Joan was awarded Teacher of the Year honors by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Home Economics Association. She retired in 1993, completing a career of 33 years in public education. She continued as a substitute teacher for about 10 years in the Cloquet and Walker areas after she retired.

Joan was always full of energy. She enjoyed cooking, sewing, quilting, reading, flower

gardening, antiques and stained glass. Joan loved decorating for the seasons and celebrating holidays, especially Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and birthdays. While teaching, Joan cherished weekends and summers at the family home on Ten Mile Lake, and ultimately she and Larry lived at the lake after retiring. She enjoyed watching her children participate in school and community activities, ranging from concerts to plays to sports.

Joan was involved in church circles at Queen of Peace Parish and Sacred Heart Parish, the Council of Catholic Women, Carlton County Extension Committee, and was a longtime 4-H club leader. She looked forward to hosting the Ten Mile Lake Women’s coffee gathering. Joan held memberships in countless groups, including the Alpha Delta Kappa honorary organization for women educators, Ten Mile Lake Association, VFW Auxiliary, Carlton County Historical Society, and Minnesota Historical Society. Joan was a member of Queen of Peace Parish in Cloquet and Sacred Heart Parish in Hackensack.

Joan was preceded in death by Larry, her husband of 63 years; her parents, Edmund and

Mathilda Thomes; brother, Ramon Thomes; and aunt, Mary Murray.

Joan is survived by her children, daughters Becky (Scott Junkert) of Hermantown, Mary of Park Rapids, Minnesota, Sue Conlon (Joe Conlon) of Torrance, California, and son, Tom (Patti) of Cloquet.

Visitation was scheduled for 4-7 p.m. with a rosary at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Atkins-Northland Funeral Home in Cloquet, and continuing at 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial on Thursday, Nov. 9 at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Cloquet. Burial will be in New Calvary Cemetery.

Memorials may be sent to Queen of Peace Parish or the Ten Mile Lake Association.

Arrangements by Atkins-Northland Funeral Home & Cremation Service.