Johanna Theresa Fitzgerald Stephens Welch, 72, of Idaho Falls, passed away suddenly on March 3, 2013, at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
Joan was bron April 9, 1940, in St. Johnís, Newfoundland, to Leo and Evelyn Fitzgerald. She lived in St. Johnís until she was 18 years old, when she met and married Air Force veteran, Laverne Stephens, and moved to Abilene, Texas. They later moved to Rapid City, South Dakota, Anchorage, Alaska; Cambria, California, Mountain Home, Idaho, and then retired to Redfield, South Dakota. Joan and Laverne later divorced.
Joan met Thomas (Tom) Welch in 1975. Tom, also a retired Air Force veteran, and Joan were married in December 1976 and settled in Idaho Falls where they raised their combined family of 13 children. Joan was a member of the Idaho Falls Womenís Bowling Association and was a Womenís Doubles State Champion. She was also an active member in Christ the King Catholic Church.
Joan managed the Best Western Driftwood Motel for 19 years before she and Tom took over as resident managers of Creek Sid Apartments in Ammon. In 2008, they retired and began a life of caring for and cherishing the time they got to spend with their children and grandchildren.
Joanís life revolved around her grandkids, to whom she devoted her last years by providing love, companionship, hugs, kisses, and everlasting memories they will grow up with and cherish forever.
She is survived by her husband of 36 years, Tom Welch, of Idaho Falls; five sons and three daughters, Dean/Eddie (Anja) Stephens of Palm Springs, CA, David (Lisa) Stephens of Layton, UT, Danny (Judie) Stephens or Port Orchard, WA, Daryl Stephens of Gilbert, AZ, Darren (Angie) Stephens of Mons, Belgium, Cathy (Ron) Fink of Redfield, SD, Karen (the late Robert) Bevan of Clemmons, NC, and Laurie (Steve) Rierson of Idaho Falls, ID.
Her marriage to Tom added the excitement of five more children to her life; Denise (Brent) Maxwell of Bosie, ID, Valmarie (Dave Price of Boise, ID, Thomas (Kathy) Welch, Jr. of Bosie, ID, Clint (Pam) Welch of El Paso, TX, and Orren (Brooke) Welch of Excelsior, MN. Joan is also survived by two sisters, Mary Fitzgerald Williams of St. Johns, Newfoundland, Jeanette Fitzgerald Meyer of Whidbey Island, WA; 37 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her brother, Hughie Fitzgerald of St. Johnís, Newfoundland; sister, Bernice Fitzgerald Spurgeon of St. Johnís, Newfoundland; sister, Patricia Fitzgerald Fiore of Cladwell, NJ; her twin brother, Gerry Fitzgerald, who died at age four; brother Buddy, who died at age two; and brother, Edward, who died shortly after birth.
Funeral service were held on 3-8-13 at Wood Funeral Home in Idaho Falls, ID.