VERONA — Joan Marie Dorgan, age 82, passed away on April 23, 2019, at 6:25 p.m., holding Chuck’s fingers at Four Winds Manor in Verona. Joan’s family and friends have been with her during her courageous cancer journey. She is with our Lord.

Joan was born on February 5, 1937, in Fennimore, WI, the daughter of Edward and Marion (Drescher) Roth. Joan was raised on a farm near Stitzer and always had a love of farming.

Joan attended Stitzer Grade School and graduated as the valedictorian of the Fennimore High School class of 1955. Joan attended the UW — Platteville. She graduated with a kindergarten through eighth grade teaching degree in 1959. Joan taught kindergarten in high heels and bangles in Carpentersville, IL and in Cheyenne, WY.

In her youth she learned to expertly play the piano and had a beautiful singing voice. She played for the Stitzer Methodist Church. Additionally, she learned to cook and loved to include a dash of creativity in her meals. Many of her favorite recipes can be found in the St. Andrew Parish Diamond Jubilee Cookbook she helped compile in 1993.

She met Lt. Charles Dorgan, Air Force, in Cheyenne, WY and within six months they were married on August 10, 1963 at St. Clement Church in Lancaster, WI. They were happily married for 55+ years.

Joan and Chuck moved several times during their early years together. They lived in Cheyenne, WY; Pittsburgh, PA; Sun Prairie, WI; Anchorage, AK; Beavercreek, OH; and Verona, WI, with short stays in several other locations for 3-8 weeks. Joan’s love for travel extended well beyond where she lived and she visited 26 countries, all 50 states at least twice, and the largest 50 cities in the U.S. Her favorite states were Alaska (lived there for 3 years), California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, and Wisconsin, and her favorite country was Ireland. Her favorite place was Disney parks and hotels, other than people’s homes.

Joan was involved in many church, school and service organizations. She was a room mother for many years, served on the St. Andrew’s Parish Council, taught religious education, was a member of St. Andrew’s CCW and initiated and chaired the annual Christmas Bazaar for 32 years. Joan was also a Brownie and Scout leader. Later, she was an active participant with Chuck on their many travels for the UW-Madison. Joan and Chuck traveled the world, where Joan was passionate about sending postcards to her many family and friends from everywhere she traveled around the world.

She had many passions and hobbies throughout her life. One of her greatest passions was to explore new places and find unique and fun items to buy and share with others. This included artwork, Beanie Babies, Vinylmations and Tsum Tsums from Disney, books, and handmade items, among others. She was also very creative herself and liked to sew and knit in her free time, including many homemade clothes and Halloween costumes for her children. She loved art functions, live performances and especially Broadway Shows.

Joan is survived by her husband, Charles of Verona; daughter Marie (Jim) Nelson of Fort Atkinson; sons Jason (Lysianne Unruh) of Blue Mounds; and Chad (Christine) of Yorba Linda, CA; sister Margaret (Ralph) Martin of Glen Ellyn, IL; brother Stephen (LaVon) Roth of Newton, IA; brothers-in-law Paul Lake, Larry (Mary Jo), Donald, and Jim; her grandchildren Clare and Ben Nelson of Fort Atkinson, WI and Nicholas and Rachel Dorgan of Yorba Linda, CA; and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends, many international, from Japan to Denmark to South Africa.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister Janet Lake; and her father and mother-in-law John and Mary (Probst) Dorgan, and brothers-in-law Bob and Raymond Dorgan.

The family wishes to thank the many friends and family that visited and provided support, including all those that have expressed support and prayers through emails. A special thank you for all the medical professionals (especially Dr. Beasley and Dr. Campbell) who cared for Joan these past three years — they all had hearts of gold and great compassion on Joan’s journey. We especially thank the care from Four Winds Manor and Agrace Hospice.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 am on Friday, May 10, 2019 at St. Andrew Catholic Church, 301 N. Main Street, Verona, with Fr. John Sasse presiding. A visitation will be held from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at Ryan Funeral Home, 220 Enterprise Drive, Verona, and again from 9:30 a.m. until time of Mass on Friday at the church. Burial to follow at St. Williams Cemetery in Paoli, WI, with luncheon at St. Andrew Parish Hall.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Carbone Cancer Center at the UW — Madison or St. Andrew’s CCW.

When asked how she wanted to be remembered Joan said, “I always try to have a smile and be positive about everything.” At a conference someone made the statement, “When Joan is your good friend, you do not need two friends.” She truly did have a wonderful smile, was loved by many, and will be greatly missed. May Joan rest in the arms of God. We appreciate all the kind visits and cards/letters in the past several years, which were summed up with a recent card from Brenda, “…all of our times together… you were bright, beautiful and making people smile. I hope you know how much joy, laughter, smiles and love you have brought into our lives and others over the years.”

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