Joyce Frances (Kawlewski) Biegler, 89, of Battle Lake, died Friday, December 22, 2023 at Good Samaritan Society Nursing Home in Battle Lake.
Joyce was born on February 28, 1934 in Dead Lake Township. She grew up on a farm in rural Dent, MN, with her parents Lucile and Henry “Hank” and brother Dale. She attended school in Dent until reaching high school, and she graduated from Perham High School in 1952. She worked at the Normandy Café in Fergus Falls at the age of 16 throughout the summer of 1950. The summer after graduating high school, she worked at a coffee shop in Perham. She started teacher training night classes for her four-year bachelor’s degree in education during the fall of 1953 in Fergus Falls, and she student taught at a small country school (Pleasant Hill) under Dorothy Woods from 1953-1954. Once graduated, she taught in country schools around Fergus Falls.
During the summer of 1953, Joyce worked as a nanny taking care of a lawyer’s children in Lake Minnetonka, MN. That fall, her future husband, Harold was discharged from the Air Force. Ed (Harold’s brother) and Donna (Joyce’s high school friend/sister-in-law) Biegler brought Harold and Joyce out with them one evening. After that evening, they started dating and became married on Thanksgiving Day November 25, 1954 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Perham. They decided to get married on Thanksgiving Day so that Joyce did not need to take extra days off from school. Joyce and Harold were married for 57 years until Harold died on January 4, 2011.
Joyce gave birth to their first son, Brad in 1955. After Brad was born, they moved to Willmar, MN until the fall of 1959. She taught school in Willmar for one year and she gave birth to two more sons, Vic and Curt, while living there. They moved back to Fergus Falls in 1959 where Harold worked as a television repair man at Hintgen and Karst while Joyce was a stay-at-home mother. Once their youngest son, Curt, was old enough for school, Joyce started teaching full-time again and also started taking night classes for a fifth year to obtain her certificate in special education. The rural schools closed in 1971, shortly before she was finished with her certificate. She drove back and forth between Fergus Falls and Moorhead every day, and she graduated from MSUM in the summer of 1973. Harold bought Joyce a mother’s ring as a graduation gift. Upon graduating, she worked with intellectually disabled children at the Regional Treatment Center. She worked there for 20 years.
Joyce and Harold lived at their home on Otter Tail Lake for many years and spent many winters traveling to their winter home in Mission, Texas. They later sold their home in Otter Tail Lake and purchased a home on Highland Drive in Fergus Falls in 2005. They lived there together until Harold’s death in 2011, and she continued living in the house until selling it and moving to Co-op Village Apartments in Fergus Falls. Later, Joyce moved to the Good Samaritan Society Assisted Living in Battle Lake before transitioning to their adjacent nursing home where she lived the remainder of her life.
Joyce enjoyed spending time and recalling memories with all of her family and friends, and she loved cheering on her grandchildren at their sporting events. She was very involved with different groups throughout her lifetime including Hope Lutheran Parish, Tops, VFW Auxiliary, American Legion, Eagles Auxiliary, and others. She loved dogs, the color pink, sparkles, cookies, mint ice cream, laughing, having fun, walking, attending and hosting family gatherings, snowmobiling, and traveling. Joyce was always filled with a joyful spirit.
Joyce peacefully passed to eternal life the evening of December 22. She opened her eyes one last time looking at her granddaughter, Megan, who held her hand and prayed with her, then sang one of her favorite Christmas songs, “Silent Night” to her. While Megan was singing, she took her last breath and closed her eyes in comfort.
Preceding her in death were her husband, Harold; parents, Henry “Hank” and Lucile Kawlewski; brother, Dale Kawleski; brothers-in-law, Earl and Edwin Biegler, and sisters-in-law, Gladys Frank, Edna Holmquist, and Donna Biegler.
Survivors include three sons, Bradley (Karen) Biegler of Andover, Victor (Laura) Biegler of Menahga, and Curtis (Mary Jo) Biegler of Underwood; eight grandchildren, Michelle (Bryan) Hammond, Bethany Hulter, Jeremy (Rachel Shafranski) Gullick, Nick Gullick, Sara (Rob) Bjerke, Aaron (Tabitha) Biegler, Megan Biegler, and Matthew (Annika) Biegler; great-grandchildren, Jasmine and Toby Hammond, Marissa and Jarrett Long, Emma and Isabel Haavig, Aven and Olivia Bjerke, Hunter Biegler, and Addison and Aiden Gullick.
Memorial Service: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, with visitation one-hour prior to the service at the church.
Clergy: Reverend Ali Haugerud
Interment: Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Dent, MN
Arrangements provided by Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.
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