With her family close at hand, Joan Marie (LaPointe) Welterlen, loving wife of Larry, and mother to Gary and Mark passed away peacefully on May 7, 2023 in Overland Park, Kansas at the age of 89, a month short of her 90th birthday.
Joan was born June 8, 1933, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts to Arthur and Helen (Osterberg) LaPointe. In 1938 Joan and family moved to West Townsend, Massachusetts, growing up on Main St, spending summers on Vinton Pond. Joan graduated from Townsend High in 1951, and days after graduation, married the love of her life, Larry Welterlen, starting a life together that lasted 70 years.
During the summer of 1950, Larry Welterlen through hunting and fishing friends, was introduced to Joan at her family’s summer camp on Vinton Pond. They were smitten. He would travel each weekend while on leave from the Navy from Norfolk, VA to Fitchburg when he was in port. On July 21, 1951, she married Larry and soon two boys, Gary and Mark, were on the way. In 1953, they bought the family home in West Townsend before moving to Lunenburg in 1965. Joan’s life was full with Larry and the boys. Serving as Cub Scout den mother, following high school sports and vacationing on Cape Cod kept Joan always on the move. Soon the boys were off to college, so Joan re-entered the work force, working at Elsa Williams Needlecraft in Townsend followed later with work at Union Coal and Oil Company. At Elsa Williams, Joan met her future daughters-in-law, Debbie Brown and Marcia Mountain.
When Larry retired in 1992, they made a new life in South Yarmouth on Cape Cod. For the next 27 years Joan and Larry called the Cape home; frequently hosting family and friends on Lily Pond Drive. Each summer she counted the days until her grandchildren, Gordon, Greta and Nathan, came to the Cape for summer vacation. They were also able to travel the U.S. and Europe and made frequent trips with family and friends. In 2019, Larry and Joan moved to Overland Park, Kansas to be closer to Mark and his wife Marcia.
Joan was the life of the party. She loved to cook, played golf and was a competitive bowler, well into her eighties. Joan made lifelong friends with many she met, many of whom she would later consider family; for Joan family always came first. She took great pride in them and the events of their lives.
Joan was known for her infectious smile, sparkling eyes and kind compassionate spirit. Joan also had sisu and was proud of her Finnish heritage. Sisu has been described as so essential to the Finnish national character that "to be a real Finn" you must have "willpower, tenacity, and persistency." That was Joan.
Joan will be greatly missed by family and friends alike. She is preceded in death by her husband Larry, her father Arthur, and her mother Helen. Joan is survived by her two children, Gary (Debbie) of Santa Barbara California, and Mark (Marcia) Welterlen of Stilwell Kansas, her three grandchildren, Gordon, Greta and Nathan, and five great grandchildren, Caiden, Willow, Remi, Ella and Kit.
Arrangements are pending and will be announced at a time in the future.