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 Delores Clark was born June 25, 1935, in Sioux City, IA, the daughter of Joseph and Sarah Porter Clark.

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

L-R: Kim, Sheba, Joan, Clark, John, Ty, and Jeff.

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.

L-R: John, Kim, Jeff, Joan, Ty, Clark, and Cathy (Sheba) on a Queen II tour of Lake Okoboji.

L-R back row: Joan, Kyle, Ty, and Jay. L-R front row: Jake, Lauren, and Jordan.

Granddaughter Lauren with Grandpa and Grandma.


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.

A family ski trip to Colorado.

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.

Looks like a church day with grandparents.

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.

Cathy and Kim with Mom.

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.

The Fideler Family!

Ty (spectacular tie, dude!) Darren, Cathy, and Joan at Moon Showcase!

Joan and Ty with daughter Sheba (Cathy) and husband Darren Ennis.

Kevin, Joannie, and Kim.

Here’s to you, Mom! John toasting with a Moscow Mule!


Joannie was so much fun!


Grandpa, Grandma, and Jay at Easter.

They grew up! Grandkids, Jordan, Lauren, and Jake.

A bevy of beauties!

Clark and Mom.

Grandson Kyle with Joannie.

Joan with grandchildren, Lauren, Kyle, and Jay.

With grandson Jake.

Joannie with her oldest son, Jeff.

Jay, Joan, Ty, Lauren, and Kyle.

Joan with daughter Cathy.


  1. Kathy Lowrie

    Joannie and I had the absolute joy of sharing grandmother roles for Jake and Jordan. More than that, we grew to be great friends during holidays, on sleepovers, and while attending various graduations when Joan and Ty lived in SoCal. She was always so fun and entertaining, her bubbly personality, radiant smile, and the way she always greeted me with a jubilant, “Hi Blossom!”

    I also see I have major competition in the obituary area. Joan’s daughter Cathy did a superb job writing about her mom! Kudos Cathy.

    Best, The Other Kathy

  2. Jacob Fideler

    Grandma Joan never failed to be the most entertaining person in the room. She was always sharing a “unique” story from earlier in the day, showing off a recently purchased gadget or teaching the grandchildren a new game she wanted us all to learn. I will always remember the positive energy she gave off – it was contagious and brought a smile to everyone’s face. But most of all, I will remember how much love she shared with me, my sister and the rest of the grandchildren. I am so lucky Grandma Joan spent a majority of her time in California during my childhood. She attended most of my sporting events, often picked me up after school, and we spent most of the holidays with her. Easter egg hunts were always a tradition in Laguna Woods, and gifting Moscow mule cups to all the grandchildren when we are all 16 years old or younger was a classic Xmas gift you could expect from Grandma Joan.

  3. Jordan Fideler

    Grandma Joan was the most positive person I’ve ever met. Every time I saw her, she did everything she could to make me and my brother Jake laugh. She had such a huge heart and loved her family so much. I’m so thankful I got to grow up with her and Grandpa Ty close by for the majority of my childhood. She loved to play games, whether she made them up or taught me new ones. I have many memories of tea parties with her and my cousin Lauren – one even resulting in an attack of ants after we set up our blanket on an anthill outside the house in Spencer, IA. Regardless of what we were doing, Grandma Joan was always just trying to make sure everyone was having a good time and I will miss her greatly.

  4. Jennifer Stark

    Joan was always the light of the party. I remember when we had a birthday party for Jake and Jordan and we had a bouncy house.
    After the kids left, the parents decided to try the bouncy house after having a few glasses of wine. My mom Blossom, Joan and I went into the house and tried to bounce but we couldn’t stand up and rolled around the house laughing.

    She always pushed the barrier and lived to the fullest with joy and awe. She was never afraid of trying new things.

    At her life celebration yesterday, there was a very steep carnival slide that the guests were able to use. I hate heights, but after what I know about Joan I just said “I’m doing this for her!”

    I was terrified – but I did it three more times. I even convinced the bartender to do it.

    He said it was one of the best events he ever worked and he appreciated that I invited him on the slide.

    Thank you Joan for giving me the courage to do something that I’m afraid of

    I love you and will miss you,

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