Joann Margaret McCarvel Nelson 1934 – 2018

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Joann Margaret McCarvel Nelson, born June 7, 1934, in Anaconda, Montana passed away on March 24, 2018 in Kalispell, Montana surrounded by her loved ones. Joann was the daughter of former Mayor of Anaconda, Thomas McCarvel and Margaret Ridge McCarvel. Joann was 100% Irish Catholic. She attended St. Paul’s Grade School in Anaconda, Anaconda Central High School, Montana Tech, in Butte, University of Montana Western in Dillon, Montana State University and Blackfoot Community College. She had ten siblings: Margaret, Katherine, Alice, Helen, Thomas (Bud), John (Jack), Patrick, Joseph, Robert (Bobby) and Patricia.

Joann was united in holy matrimony to Marvin Willard Nelson on February 13, 1954. They were blessed with eight children: Margaret Haugland (Pete), Chris Nelson (Jeanne), Elizabeth Byrne (Doug), Mark Nelson (Teri), T.J. Nelson (Bernadette), Marianne Nelson, Nels Nelson (Amy) and Neil Nelson (Tyley). Marvin preceded her in death on August 27, 1972. Joann has 21 grandchildren: Sarah (Drew) Karlsgodt, Anna and Marta Nelson, Rachel (Chris) Tozer, Rose (Tim) Doepker, Jacob Byrne, Logan (James) Reiff, Ty (Chloe) Nelson, Taylor, Bridger and Serena Nelson, Kelsie, Margaret, Sadie and Daniel Crippen, Chloe, Isaac and Liam Nelson, and Saylor, Beau and Crew Nelson. She has 5 great grandchildren: Michael and Finlei Reiff, Dawson and Kolten Karlsgodt, and Jensen Tozer.

Joann was a homemaker and Marvin worked at the Butte Concentrator until November 1965 when he was blinded in an accident. After his recovery, they focused on raising their Black Angus cattle. Prior to the accident, Joann did not drive and got her first driver’s license at the age of 32 and became Marvin’s eyes and chauffer. In August of 1972, the family moved to Whitehall, Montana to expand the cattle operation on a 450 acre ranch. Marvin suffered a heart attack and passed on the first night in the new home. After that, Joann dedicated herself to the children and the ranch until 1986 when she moved to Dillon to complete her teaching degree. She completed her teaching degree and later received her Master’s Degree from Montana State University. She taught grade school in Glen, Hot Springs and Browning, Montana. She retired from teaching and returned to Whitehall and was a volunteer grandmother reading assistant at Tia Kober Elementary. For the past few years, she has resided in Kalispell, Montana in the Expressions Assisted Living facility.

Joann was awarded the Soil Conservation Woman Farmer of the Year and the Blackfoot Language Teacher of the Year, she was also a founding member of the Whitehall High School Booster Club. Joann felt her greatest accomplishments were her children. She dedicated her life to them. She strongly encouraged each to attend college and complete their degrees. She was highly competitive and often told them, “If you aren’t winning, you’re losing” and, “Even if you win, there is always someone better than you, so you better be ready to take them on.” The family was raised in a competitive and survivalist environment. From this, each of her children received faith, strength, perseverance, and responsibility. What Joann couldn’t provide, she prayed for and was proud of her Catholic faith. She was often the last one out of the church, on her knees praying long after the last blessing. In addition to her faith, Joann’s dedication to her children will forever be cherished by them.

Funeral services will be held at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church in Whitehall, Montana on April 14th at 11 AM. Memorials in her honor may be given to the Whitehall Little Guy Wrestling program P.O. Box 354, Whitehall, Montana 59759.

Recent births at Barrett Hospital and HealthCare:

March 22 – A baby girl to William and Emily Canady, of Dillon.

March 23 – A baby girl to Jasmine Hurlbert, of Lima.