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Joyce Ardis (Fink) Christiansen, age 78, died at Elk Ridge Assisted Living, in Perham, MN on January 19, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. Joyce was born on October 27, 1945 to Donald Paul Fink and Yvonne (Schwalbe) Fink in Watertown, MN, where each of her children were later born. Joyce had three siblings, all brothers; she was the youngest and only girl. When Joyce was four years old she started school at Guardian Angels Catholic School in Chaska, MN. She later attended Delano Public School, where she graduated in 1963. In January 1965 Joyce married Bob Christiansen at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Delano, MN. Shortly thereafter she had four children in four years.
Joyce was a homemaker and also cleaned houses for local people, bringing her four children along. We were so disciplined. I remember sitting “back-to-back” as she would say, against the wall and behaving, while she cleaned. We did what we were told. She also used that term when we sat in the back seat of the car.
In November, 1976 we moved to Sebeka, MN where we farmed and had dairy cows. Joyce also worked for Your Office Supply in Wadena, MN and made mini cakes for Donavan’s in Staples, MN. Joyce was divorced in December of 1983 after 18 years of marriage and continued milking cows with her four kids for the next year.
Joyce was a real stickler about having a clean house and a well-groomed lawn. The floors were scrubbed every Saturday, literally. She also always fixed her hair first thing every morning and used to tell her daughters that they should do that every day, too, “Because it will make you feel better about yourself and you will be happy.” That was very important to her. She always kept herself up.
Joyce married again for a short time and then continued on the rest of her life single. She worked for Lyle’s Shoe Store in Wadena, MN for six and a half years, The Pine Cove Inn by Wadena, as a waitress, and Barrel of Fun in Perham, MN, driving fork lift, for six years. Her last job was as a bartender at the Sebeka Municipal Liquor Store and New York Mills Liquor Store, where she could often be heard laughing with her customers while they told stories and shared their lives with her. Joyce was a people person and really enjoyed being a bartender.
As a side job Joyce baked sheet cakes for special occasions. Weddings, birthdays, confirmations, baptisms, etc. She really enjoyed this, too. Joyce was very talented at decorating cakes and used her “special” frosting recipe she got from her mother. She happily passed this recipe down to her daughters and other relatives.
Joyce had many talents. She was a seamstress, sewing all her kids’ clothes as well as her own. Cake decorating, flower arranging, macrame, ceramics… She was very proud of her grand champion and blue ribbons she got in 4H for her sewing skills. Joyce had a very good work ethic. She was fast and efficient and always did more than what was expected.
Joyce adored children. She often said she could relate a whole lot better to kids than to adults. Her grandchildren were a constant source of joy.
Eventually, she sold the family farm and moved to Humphrey Manor in Wadena, MN. Joyce was very happy there until she fell ill. She then moved in with her daughter for a time and eventually made it into Elk Ridge Assisted Living in Perham, MN for more care.
Family meant so much to Joyce. Her parents, who she held dear, her brothers, cousins, nieces and nephews; she was very proud of them all. She loved her kids with all her heart. One of the last things she told each of her kids was “Remember I will always love you.”
Throughout her life Joyce had a strong faith. Born and raised in the Catholic Church, she remained Catholic her entire life, making sure her family went to church every Sunday and that her four kids followed, too. Joyce was very close to God.
Joyce is preceded in death by her parents, Donald and Yvonne Fink, and her brother, Tom.