Joan Marie (Brady) Heller (1935 - 2017)

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    - Mary Chouinard
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The Mass of Christian Burial for Joan M. Heller, 81, was celebrated by Reverend Gerald John on Monday morning April 24, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Audubon. Interment was in St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery south of Audubon. The honorary casket bearers were Bob Rainey, Tom Kinsella, Don Kirschbaum, and Lynn Reynolds. The casket bearers were Matt Heller, Adam Heller, Brady Heller, Ryan Heller, Terry Brady, and Steve Kirschbaum.
Joan Marie Heller, the daughter of James T., III and Margaret (Patterson) Brady, was born June 11, 1935, in Albion, Neb., and died April 20, 2017, at the Exira Care Center in Exira, at the age of 81 years, 10 months, and 9 days.
Joan was baptized at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Albion, Neb. Later she made her first communion and was confirmed at St. John's Catholic Church in Omaha, Neb. Joan attended St. John's Parochial School in Omaha through the 8th grade. She moved with her family to Portsmouth, and studied at St. Mary's Parochial School graduating with the High School Class of 1953. After graduation the family returned to Omaha, and Joan was employed at American Assurity Insurance Company for a few years.
On Jan. 14, 1956, she was united in marriage to Donald Heller at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Omaha. They were blessed with five children Tom, Mark, Deb, Jeff, and Pat. When they returned from their honeymoon the happy couple moved to Harlan, and Joan worked for an insurance company until 1959. Don was working for Moorman's Feed and was transferred to Audubon. They rented a farm five miles north of Audubon. This was quite a culture shock for Joan who had lived in the city most of her life. She adapted well. Besides the responsibility of raising their family, she planted a large vegetable garden, canned the produce, and learned how to raise and clean chickens along with other responsibilities of farm living. Joan also helped Don with his feed business taking calls for him and on occasions delivering feed to customers. Joan always had the coffee on and fresh baked sweets for Don, his customers and salesmen. Later they moved into Audubon where they lived until Joan moved to the Exira Care Center.
Joan was an active member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Audubon. She served as a teacher for Religious Education, a Eucharist Minister, and an instructor for the RCIA program. She was a member of the SPCW and several other organizations. Joan was a Den Mother and a Cub Scout Leader while her sons were involved in Scouts. She then in turn helped her daughter Deb with many 4-H projects. Joan was a member of the Red Hats and had served on the Friendship Home Board. Joan always enjoyed watching her children in the many sports and activities they were involved in. Joan was a wonderful wife, mother, friend and teacher.
Preceding her in death was an infant granddaughter Kristine Heller; her parents; her sister-in-law Verdella and husband Howard Schulte and her brother-in-law Charles Reynolds.
Survivors include her husband Don Heller of Audubon; her children Tom Heller of Thousand Oaks, Calif., Mark and wife Cynthia Heller of Audubon, Deb and husband Rick Chouinard of Fayetteville, Ga., Jeff and wife Teresa Heller of Aurora, Mo., and Pat and wife Robin Heller of Elkhorn, Neb; her grandchildren Angie and husband Jeff Hatlevig, Matt and wife Kim, Francios, Ryan, Brittany, Kiley, Kortney, Adam, Abi, Rileigh, Karsyn, Brady, Griffen, and Jacy; her great-grandchildren Josie, Amelia, Landon, Bennett, Tessa, and Skylar; her sisters Kay and husband Don Kirschbaum , Margie and husband Bob Fitzgerald, Teresa and husband Bob Rainey, and Chris and husband Tom Kinsalla all of Omaha, Neb.; her sisters-in-law Patsy Brady of Omaha, Neb., Marita Heller and husband Rick Orvald of Rochester, Minn., Margie Heller of Omaha, Sharon and husband Richard VanTassel of Springfield, Neb., and Julia and husband Steve Flaherty of Las Vegas, Nev.; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from Apr. 28 to May 5, 2017