She was born to Max and Darlene Benzel February 17, 1961 in Oakes, joining her brother, Bill. She attended school in Oakes, where she graduated in 1979 and went to North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, graduating with a secretarial degree. She worked various jobs around the Oakes area until making the big move to Thompson Falls in 1984 when she got a job with the US Forest Service. After the downsizing of the Forest Service, Joan went to work for a lumber company for eight years and later went to Harvest Foods, where she worked until her death. Joan loved her life and her friends in Thompson Falls and that is where she met her husband of 27 years, Henry Cheesman.
Joan enjoyed gardening, raising chickens and fresh eggs, riding horses, and her time in the kitchen making wonderful meals and delectable treats, a skill she learned from her mom. She enjoyed the outdoors, catching northern pike in the Clark Fork River and hunting big game. She once shot an elk from her front porch in her nightgown! Joan always enjoyed when she could attend the Bergman family reunion, reconnecting with her extended family.
Joan was preceded in death by her mother, Darlene by only 22 days. Her father, Max, passed in 1986, and her mother-in-law, Hennrietta Cheesman, in 2012. She will be missed by her husband, Henry and faithful furry companion, Bailey, of Thompson Falls; brother Bill (Lisa); niece, Katie Benzel (Brian Phillips) ; and nephew, Cody Benzel (Erin Kinney) all of Dillon; step-daughter, Cheri Campbell of Plummer, Idaho; step-son, Andy (Renee) Cheesman of Missouri; as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Joanie will be deeply missed by everyone who knew here.