Joan Hughes, 90, of Winner, SD passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 at the Winner Regional Healthcare Facility in Winner, SD.
Celebration of Life was held on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 at 7 p.m. at the Mason Funeral Home in Winner, SD. Burial followed in the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, SD on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 at noon MT.
Joan Jessie Crooker was born Oct. 19, 1930 to Joe and Grace Crooker at Exeter, NE. She grew up on the ranch south of Ainsworth, NE. Many childhood memories were made by Joan and her two sisters Louise and Birdeen and later in life her brother Steve.
At the age of 18, Joan met the love of her life, Ralph, who proposed to her on Ikenberg Hill. She shared this story many times over the years with her family, as it was one of their most cherished memories and can be recited word for word by her grand son-in-law “Tree”. They were married on May 20, 1948, just 3 days after she graduated from Ainsworth High School. To this union came three children Virginia, Judy, and Bev. They lived on the ranch and later moved to Ainsworth, Neb.. From there, they moved to Wewela, SD to raise pigs on the Mullen place. Unfortunately, the pigs all drowned in a rain storm. Many memories were made there, like Judy’s broken arm (thanks Joan). Then in 1963, they moved to Colome, South Dakota where they owned and operated Hughes Propane for 17 years. After selling the propane business, they moved back to Ainsworth for a short time to care for Ralph’s father. They then moved to Winner, where they managed an apartment complex. Joan went to work at the Outlaw Trading Post for several years. Ralph and Joan then owned and operated the Dakota Inn for many years. She then started working at the Baptist Hospital, where she would become the director of housekeeping, a job that she absolutely loved and forever told stories about and only retired because she couldn’t stand the thought of her great grandbabies going to day care. After she retired from the hospital, she and Ralph enjoyed family gatherings, trips to Oklahoma to visit Virginia and family, and she even enjoyed the long fishing trips they took together.
Joan’s memory will forever be cherished by her daughters and their families. Memories and stories alike reveal that she always looked to the positive side of things, found the best in people, and cared for all around her. Even until the very end when she knew she was going to meet her forever love, she was worried about her family, but was promised they would be taken care of and was at absolute peace that we can all only hope to have. Her kindness to strangers could only be outshined by her love for her family. Joan made sure that anyone that ever visited her left with a full stomach and an even fuller heart. Joan will always be remembered as the “best grandma in history” and there has never been a closer family than the one she is leaving behind.
She is survived in death by her daughters, Virginia Ezzell, Judy (Roger) Nagel, Bev (Dave) Vaughn; her grandchildren: Todd (Shelly) Pechota, Dawn (Don) Gordon, Kim Nagel, Domini Turnquist (Blake Benedict), Brandi (Robbie) Lewis, Tommy (Dayris) Vaughn; great grandchildren: Samantha (Charlie) Hunsaker, Kaleb (Ameilia) Curtis, Kennede (Reed Driscoll), Klaycie (Justin) Olson, Jonathan Guptill, Doug (Kassie) Gordon, Steven (Katelyn) Gordon, Baleigh (Forrest) Cerv, Cohl Turnquist (Dacey Kocer), Wyatt Turnquist, Chaney Lewis, Kenndal Turnquist, Cade Lewis, Chandler Benedict, Legend Benedict, and Reagan Vaughn; great great grandchildren Tayden Pechota, Gracie Olson, Lincoln Olson, Liam Olson, Jackson Driscoll, Maverick Curtis, and Wakely Cerv; Addison Gordon and Remi Dot Gordon, Brother Steve (Jan) Crooker and several nieces and nephews.
She is proceded in death by her husband Ralph; parents Grace and Joe Crooker, in-laws Thomas and Ruth Hughes, sisters Lousie McBride, Birdeen McDermott, grandson Robert (Bobby) Nagel.
As one of her granddaughters always told her when we talked about faith and the hereafter…. “you did good Gram”