JoAnn Fennell

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JoAnn (Josephine Ann) Fennell

October 22, 1928 • February 7, 2019

JoAnn (Josephine Ann) Fennell, currently of Berwick, ME (formerly of Benson, Minnesota) passed away at Gosnell House, a hospice care center, Thursday, February 7, 2019.  

Funeral services will be held at a later time at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Benson.  Burial is planned for the St. Francis Xavier cemetery.  Announcements for visitation and services will be forthcoming.

JoAnn was born to John and Gertrude (Margach) Gilronan, October 22, 1928, in DeGraff, Minnesota.  She graduated from the West Central School of Agriculture in 1946.  

August 30, 1947, she was united in marriage to Ward Fennell at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in DeGraff.  JoAnn spent her life raising her 10 children and truly enjoyed being a part of their lives.  She also played an important role in the support of her and Ward’s business in the Benson Ambulance Service.  JoAnn also enjoyed years of golfing and traveling with Ward, until health limited their activities.   For many years, JoAnn was a talented seamstress, from alterations to clothing to quilting - for herself, her family, and many others.  She made sure all her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, had a quilt from her.  She enjoyed making homemade donuts with her family. They were delicious and a treat to all!  She was also known as a fiercely competitive card player and frequently took the winnings of many pennies, nickels and dimes home with her: unless she was playing with her grandchildren.  She didn’t like to win against them…sometimes.

JoAnn is survived by her children; Patricia (Patrick) Meger, Maricopa, AZ; Maridee Eide, Sioux Falls, SD; James Fennell, St. Paul; Charles (Pam) Fennell, Marshall; Anthony (Judy) Fennell, Ft. Myers, FL; Helen Mansur, Berwick, ME; Elizabeth (Doug) Johnson, Berwick, ME; Thomas (Beth) Fennell, Sauk Rapids; Celeste (Randy) Nelson, Tampa, FL; Maria (Duane) Schlieman, New Ulm.  JoAnn is also survived by her 17 grandchildren; Jonathan Fennell; Chad (Teri) Fennell, Nicholas (Amber) Fennell, Kelly (Derek) Dahl; Amanda (Blaine) Lokhorst; MacKenzie (Ashley) Fennell, Alexandra (Dan) Aberle; Miles (Jamie) Johnson; Lucas (Brittany Good) Johnson; Mitchell (Casey) Fennell; Alicia (Eric) Wilaby; Shane (Alyssa) Fennell; Sam Nelson; Jade (Cal) Aplin; Sarah Schlieman; Molly Schlieman; Matthew Schlieman.  Also surviving are 17 great grandchildren; Chloe Fennell, Piper Fennell, Allison Fennell, Isaac Fennell, Brylee Dahl, Brielle Dahl, Briggs Dahl, Addison Lokhorst, Hollis Lokhorst, JoAnna Aberle, Aiden Johnson, Hannah Johnson, Caden Fennell, Quinn Fennell, Porter Wilaby, Holten Wilaby and Hadley Aplin.

JoAnn was preceded in death by her husband Ward, sister Mary Lou Gilronan, brother Mike Gilronan, brother John Gilronan, sister-in-law Pearl Schliep and son-in-law Vern Eide.

We know Dad was waiting for Mom with open arms, but she certainly will be missed.  God Bless you Mom!

Arrangements were with the Zniewski Funeral Home in Benson. Please sign the guestbook at

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