JOAN DELORES FIDELER
1935 to 2021
(Editor’s Note: The below obituary is a reprint of a Fideler Family tribute posted on the Warner Funeral Home website in Spencer, IA. Subheads and below photos supplied by The Preçis.)
Loved fashion and design
Joan loved fashion and design her entire life. As a teen, she worked many jobs in order to put cashmere sweaters and poodle skirts on layaway so she always had a fun new wardrobe in the pipeline (she may have complained when her favorite sister, Judy, would “borrow” and wear them first, but secretly she loved sharing everything with Jude).
Joan graduated from Sioux City Heelan High School in 1953. Using her savings, she bought a 1948 Chevrolet Stylemaster, hand-stitched new blue velvet seat covers, and headed west to California. She studied interior design and photography at UCLA. Picnics on the ocean beaches were a favorite she relished again later in life when living in Laguna Woods, CA.
Her spirit of adventure
Joan moved back to Sioux City and worked as a photographer at the Younkers Photography Studio, which provided special photoshoot trips to New York City and North Carolina, further fueling her spirit of adventure.
On February 9, 1957, Joan went to dinner at Club Debonair with her parents and best friend, Joanne Stevens Marx. A handsome fellow named Ty Fideler asked her to dance. She twirled into his arms and there she stayed. They married soon thereafter and started their life together in Spencer. They formed a dear group of friends whom they danced with at LaDanza on Saturday nights, played in bridge clubs, bowling leagues, four-ball eightsome golf nights, cocktail parties, down-hill ski clubs taking train trips to Aspen, and more.
Joan and Ty had five children: Jeff, Kim, John, Clark, and Cathy. As Joan and Ty’s siblings were marrying and having children at the same time, they were able to share many life experiences with the Wards, Clarks, Mike Fidelers, Moronys, Wiedenfelds, and countless other friends. Special moments will always be treasured memories at the home Joan and Ty designed and built with dear architect friend John Galvin at 1917 West 11th Street on the golf course. The kitchen was often the stage for her brother, Bob, and his superlative joke/storytelling, providing hours of laughs for the entire clan.
Community involvement and the arts
Joan was busy at home with five little kids yet had a passion for community involvement. In the late 1970s, she helped create the area’s first program for people with disabilities and served as charter president and board member of Sunshine Worker’s, Inc for many years. In addition, she was charter president of the Spencer Junior Federated Women’s Club, state art chairperson for the Iowa Junior Federated Women’s Club, family living chairperson of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, member of the Amity Federated Women’s Club and the Sacred Heart Altar Society, chairperson of the Clay County Garden Club, member of Spencer Area Association of Business and Industry and member of Spencer Chamber Ambassadors. Her love of art and events fueled her involvement with Arts on Grand and Backyard Bach and Blues.
The Clay County Fair Floriculture Center was a yearly highlight, competing in flower arranging and all of the table design exhibits for 50+ years. Since every project was a family affair, the entire family enjoyed late-night access to the fairgrounds and first-in-line access to Tom Thumb Donuts.
In 1977 Joan purchased the Walls Alive business on Grand Avenue in Spencer and established Studio J, her interior design business. She loved the brick and green tile building at 101 W 6th Street and soon purchased it for her studio, employing a full staff of designers, assistants, and bookkeepers. She opened a second location in Okoboji in 1984. Joan traveled with her designers to markets in Dallas and Chicago every year; she relished the new fabrics, materials, designs, and experiences that fed her creativity.
Adored her grandkids
Joan adored her grandkids and was giddy planning their adventures together – tea parties and picnics, scavenger hunts, tree climbing and even braving the tallest water slides.
Joan lived her final years fighting Lewy body dementia at Accura Healthcare of Milford, where she had the most boldly painted room and found dear friends whom she loved and considered family in the incredible, caring staff. She began hospice on October 14, 2021, and was surrounded by the family until she passed on Halloween – leaving this earth of course on a day of costumes and celebration. She was 86.
Proceeded in death by her parents; beloved husband Ty; brother and sister-in-law Bob and Mary Clark; brother-in-law Smilin’ Dave Brownley; brother-in-law Jim Ward; sister- and brother-in-law Darlene and Jim Morony; sister- and brother-in-law Edna Mae and John Weidenfeld; nephew Tom Wiedenfeld; nephew-in-law John Schulte and grandnephew Clark Schulte. Left to cherish her memory are her children Jeff, Kim & husband Kevin Robinson, John, Clark, and Sheba (Cathy) & husband Darren Ennis; grandchildren Jay, Kyle and Lauren Robinson; Jake and Jordan Fideler; Clark’s stepchildren Michael, Madeleine, and Gabrielle Pope.
Moscow mule cheers
Services will be held at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, November 13, 2021, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Milford, IA. Details will follow about the celebration of life following the memorial service.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Memory of Joan Fideler to Arts on Grand, 408 Grand Avenue, Spencer, IA 51301.