Joanne Heggen, 1936-2014

Published 11:48 am Thursday, December 4, 2014

Joanne O. Heggen, 78, of Fitchburg passed away Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, at Agrace HospiceCare. She was born Aug. 28, 1936, in Albert Lea, the daughter of Arthur and Opal (McNeill) Hamberg.

Joanne Heggen

Joanne Heggen

Joanne married Alan T. Heggen Aug. 8, 1959, in Albert Lea. Joanne embraced every phase of her life. She was a farm girl educated in a one-room schoolhouse and an education major at Luther College, where she met Alan. She began her career as an elementary school teacher. Joanne embraced the people and events of the ’60s while Alan worked in parish ministry in Detroit and Chicago. The family was in Toledo in the ’70s, where Joanne raised her children and started working after they started school.

The University of Toledo is where she began her master’s in library and information services. In the late ’70s the family moved to Madison where Joanne finished her degree and found her place as the executive director at St. Benedict Center, now Holy Wisdom Monastery. It was at St. Ben’s where her deep spirituality, organizational acumen and gift for relationships were all engaged.

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When she and Alan moved to Milwaukee, Joanne found a very different role as the database administrator for Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin. At 62, Joanne was diagnosed with cancer for the first time and Alan retired to support her healing. Beauty and spirituality infused Joanne’s words and actions. The relationships with her husband, children, grandchildren and friends were deep, diverse, sincere and long lasting. She was a faithful member of Mount Hope, Advent Lutheran and Community of Benedict. Wherever she lived, Joanne put down deep roots, and participated in book groups.

Joanne is survived by her husband, Alan; son, Eric (Blair Jockers) Heggen; daughter, Kristen (Tad) Buckmiller; grandchildren Drew and Micah Buckmiller; brother, Donald Hamberg; and sister-in-law, Phyllis Hamberg.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers Archie and Gene Hamberg. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Advent Lutheran Church, 7118 Old Sauk Rd. in Madison, Wis., with the Rev. Jeff Wild presiding. Visitation will be at the church from 1 p.m. until the time of service Friday.

Memorials may be made to Advent Lutheran Mission Endowment Fund or Agrace HospiceCare. Online condolences may be made at