Joan E. Burns

Joan E. Burns, 81, of Williston, N.D., passed away Sunday night, Jan. 19, 2014, at the Mercy Medical Center in Williston.

Her Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23, at First Lutheran Church in Williston. Rev. Martin Mock and Pastoral Assistant James Hamann will officiate.

Friends may sign a guest book and view pictures at Everson Funeral Home, Williston, today, Jan. 22, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., and for the hour preceding the service at the church on Thursday. Cremation has taken place.

Joan was born on July 5, 1932, in Minot, N.D., to Joseph H. and Mary Mackley. She grew up in Minot and attended the Minot Public Schools, first at McKinley Elementary, then at the Junior High School, and graduated from Minot High School in 1950. She attended Minot State Teachers College one year.

On July 26, 1951, she was united in marriage to Eugene “Gene” Burns in Minot. That fall, they moved to Mott, N.D., where Gene was employed by the Mott Public School District. While in Mott, she gave birth to three children, two sons and a daughter. In 1956, the family moved to Balfour, N.D., where Gene took the position of school superintendent. In 1960, they moved to Epping, N.D., where Gene assumed the position of superintendent and where their youngest son was born. The family moved to Williston in 1979, where Joan had resided since. She lost her beloved Gene in 2002.

In 1970, Joan enrolled in the Licensed Practical Nurse course at the University of North Dakota-Williston, graduating in the fall of 1971. That year she began working at Mercy Hospital in Williston and continued her nursing career at Mercy Hospital until her retirement in 1993. She continued to do volunteer work at the hospital until 2012.

Joan loved to sing and was a member of the choir at First Lutheran Church for many years. She also assisted the quilting ladies in their labors of love and so enjoyed the Pray, Knit, and Chat group at the church.

In 1975 she accompanied the “Festival ’76” organization to Norway, where the group performed over a period of two weeks. She also traveled to Philadelphia in 1976 with this group and took part in the 200th birthday of the United States.

Joan is survived by: three sons, Michael J., of Fargo, N.D., and his wife, Pam, Brion M., of Irmo, S.C., and his wife, Dianne, and Kelly J., of Moorhead, Minn., and his wife, Ginny; one daughter, Jeanne R. Brevik, of Epping, and her husband, Jerry; grandchildren, Aaron Burns (Jenna), Jennifer Thorp (Jon), Elizabeth Thomsen (Cole), Chelsea Burns (Drew Estrem), Jody S. Smith (Missy), Stacey A. Gilmore (Mike), Sara L. Fredrickson (Jamey), Josh Burns, Alison Burns, Ryan Burns, Andrew Burns, and Sam Burns; great-grandchildren, Cecelia and Milo Thorp, Otto and Charlie Thomsen, Nate, Kourtney, and Jerry (LJ) Smith, Michael and Georgia Claire Gilmore, and Keira and Laiken Fredrickson; sisters, Ruth Pexton, of Rochester, Minn., and Jean Plaisance, of Salem, Ore.

She was preceded in death by husband, Gene; her parents; one brother, Joe Mackley; and two sisters, Mollie McKenna and Dorothy Stovall.

Memorials: May be directed to the American Cancer Society.

Friends may visit ( to share remembrances of Joan or leave condolences with the family.