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Joan Hempeck

July 18, 1933 - February 19, 2020

Joan Mae Raebel Hempeck, of Portland, Oregon, 86 years old, passed away at Adventist Hospital the afternoon of Wednesday, February 19th, 2020. This was only after her epic battle with dementia/Alzheimer’s. As a warrior she refused to succumb to any illness. She believed that illnesses are only challenges, they never define a person’s spirit.


Joan was born to George and Bertha Raebel in Granite Falls, Minnesota, July 18th , 1933. becoming the only girl amongst four brothers. Her youth activities were filled with ice skating and roller skating. Being a child during the Great Depression affected her deeply throughout her life, she wouldn’t abide wasting anything.


She married Melvin Richard Hempeck in Brainerd, Minnesota on December 26th, 1951. Four children were born to this union.


She travelled to Europe with her husband; always prepared for new adventures at a moment’s notice.


She loved Jesus, her church, always warmly welcoming people.


She never met a stranger without having a curious ability to learn about everyone she met. This endeared her to many. Because of her down to earth approach with people, her compassion was always sensed. She knew that there was a whole story waiting to be discovered in each person.


Her passions in life were her family; especially her beloved grandchildren. And they knew the key to her heart was Godiva chocolate.


Gospel music and country music: such as the Everly Brothers and Blue Danube Waltz were two of her favorites. She and her brother were on WCCO radio in Minneapolis as vocalists. A goal of hers was to become a country western singer.


Her stories were filled with tales of animals and her life on the family farm. One of her many dreams was to buy a farm, training dogs and making it a rehabilitation place for companion animals for Veterans.


In Princeton, Minnesota she owned “Dorf Blumenladen”, her village flower shop. She adored working with flowers, and plants: especially cacti. Creativity and art were esteemed with high value for her.


One of her friends called her an “old doll” because she enjoyed fashion and jewelry design.


One of her accomplishments in her work life was becoming a journeywoman in production for Mc Kay Envelope when most often this was reserved for male workers in the industry. When computers used to fill rooms, she was working in technology at Control Data.  Her last position in technology was fabricating computer chips for satellites.


Her family considers her a strong advocate for women’s rights, the protection of children & of God.


She is survived by her daughter Patricia L. Hempeck- Simmons, of Knoxville, Tennessee; David G. Wallace, of Knoxville, Tennessee; Daniel M. Hempeck of Salem, Oregon; and Matthew P. Hempeck of Vancouver, Washington; as well as her grandchildren and great- grandchildren.


Her family encourages memorials to be made to:

St. John Lutheran Church,

US Veterans service dogs

Alzheimer’s association


Her love of life and her love for the people in her life will be her legacy.

Service Information

Service Information

Date: Saturday, March 14, 2020

Time: 01:30 pm

St. John Lutheran Church


4227 N Lombard St.
Portland, Oregon 97203

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