Joann Marie (Langenberger) D'Agostino, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend passed away on a sunny morning, March 18, 2016, at her home in Bozeman, Montana, after battling cancer.
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Sandwiched between brothers, Ken and Bob, Joann was born on Jan. 18, 1941, in St. Paul, Minnesota, to George and Alice (Ritter) Langenberger. She was a 1959 graduate of the St. Agnes High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she made many lifelong friends.
In 1959, Joann began dating a young man who had been crowned "King" of the local roller-skating rink. Skeptics likely thought the allure was the one-year of free skating that came with his coronation, but as it turns out, John D'Agostino truly was the love of Joann's life. Joann and John were married Sept. 30, 1961, in St. Paul, Minnesota, thus beginning 54 years of marital bliss, and Joann's proudest accomplishment – her family.
Where there were kids, there was Joann. She served as the "team mom" for the Forest Lake Wrestling Club, and sewed singlets for the entire club of 30 boys. She was a Campfire Girls' leader for several years, and a volunteer at St. Peter's Catholic school, tutoring kids who needed extra help. When her kids were in high school and college, Joann readily served delicious meals to entire football teams, and groups of college students who would randomly appear looking for a friendly place to shelter.
Joann was a multi-talented individual. She was an exceptional cook, and was passionate about handing down recipes from her mother and grandmother to her children and daughters-in-law. She was a master gardener, and with her mother-in-law, would harvest and put up a massive garden of vegetables and fruit. It was nothing for them to can 200 quarts of tomatoes in a single summer, which would then morph into delicious spaghetti sauces, tomato soups, and chili throughout the winter months. She grew beautiful flowers, especially Iris, of which she cultivated over 30 different varieties. She loved decorating her home inside and out, and orchestrated elaborate holiday celebrations. She loved to quilt, knit, and sew; making clothes for the kids and herself. When her husband, John, broke his neck in a snowmobile accident, she put on her nurse's cap and nursed him back to health while continuing to work full-time.
Joann worked as a secretary for the Minnesota Commissioner of Highways for several years, and then as a secretary for McNamara Insurance Agency. While vacationing in Montana, the family fell in love with the mountains, so in 1977, she and John packed up the family and moved from Minnesota to West Yellowstone, where they purchased the Westwood Motel. Joann became CEO of Maid Services; a topnotch snowmobile guide, and the head cook and bottle-washer at the motel. In 1981, they sold the motel and relocated to Bozeman, where Joann worked as a secretary at Darigold for ten years.
When their kids flew the coop, Joann and John bought a motor home and their wanderlust began. They followed Scott and Mark's football teams all over the northwest; drove the Alaskan Highway, and to points all over the United States. In 2004, Joann was diagnosed with breast cancer, and they spent two months in Salt Lake City, while she received treatment. They were visiting relatives in Rome during the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and cruised to Barcelona, Spain, to catch a flight home. Over the years, they've visited France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. Ten years ago, they bought a house in Arizona and relished the opportunity to trade Montana winters for the warmth and sunshine of Arizona.
Joann was regarded as the best athlete in her high-school class, and she remained physically active throughout her life. She loved the outdoors, and was an accomplished water skier, snowmobiler, fisherwoman, and an ace camp cook. She drove a snowmobile nicknamed, "Mean Jean"; pushed a vacuum she christened, "R2D2"; and she spoke her mind. Some people may say she didn't have a filter. She had one; she just didn't deem it necessary all the time. If you wandered around the house without your false teeth; if you left your clothes lying on the floor; if you wiped up spilled beer with her favorite dishrag; or maybe you let your dog slobber on her; she would express herself. She was tough and opinioned, but even more so, she was hardworking, loyal, devoted, strong, and insanely creative. Her creativity, athleticism, and strength lives on through her greatest legacy – her four children and thirteen grandchildren.
Joann is survived by her loving husband John; son Scott, his wife Colette and their children Ryan, Taylor, Chase, Chandler, and Josie; daughter Lora Cutler, her husband Steve, and daughters Sydney, Rachel, and Jessi; son Mark, his wife Marie, and their children, Morgan, John, and Si; son Tom, his wife Peggy and their children Jake and Nicole.
Also surviving are her brother Ken Langenberger and his wife Betty of Osakis, Minnesota; her brother Bob Langenberger and his wife Rosie of Mounds View, Minnesota; her brother-in-law Bob D'Agostino and his wife Debbie of Forest Lake, Minnesota, and her sister-in-law, Delores D'Agostino of St. Anthony, Minnesota; as well as several nieces and nephews.
Joann was preceded in death by her parents, George and Alice (Ritter) Langenberger; her mother-in-law, Blanche Henry and her husband Marvin; and her stillborn baby girl, Jill Marie.
Vigil will be held Monday, March 28 at 7 p.m. at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, 113 S. Willson Ave., Bozeman.
Funeral Mass will be held Tuesday, March 29 at 11 a.m. at Holy Rosary Parish, 220 W. Main Street, Bozeman. There will be a luncheon following Mass.
Memorial donations may be made in Joann's name to Eagle Mount, 6901 Goldenstein Ln., Bozeman, MT 59715 or Bozeman Health Foundation (memo line: Hospice), 931 Highland Blvd., Ste. 3200, Bozeman, MT 59715.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 24, 2016