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Joan A. Held-Benson,   Age 85
Visitation Location: St. John's Abbey Church, Collegeville, Minnesota
Visitation Date/Time: Wednesday, May 29, 2024 from 1:00 to 2:00 PM
Funeral Time: Wednesday, May 29, 2024 at 2:00 PM
Funeral Location: St. John's Abbey Church, Collegeville, Minnesota
Burial Location: Assumption Cemetery, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Joan A. Held-Benson, 85

Nisswa, MN

November 8, 1938 – May 16, 2024


Joan A. (Andert) Held-Benson, age 85 of Nisswa (formerly Sartell), MN passed away peacefully with family at her side on May 16, 2024.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, May 29, 2024 at 2:00 pm at St. John’s Abbey Church, Collegeville, MN. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at a later date at Assumption Cemetery, St. Cloud, MN. Funeral arrangements are being made by Benson Funeral Home, St. Cloud, MN.

Joan was born November 8, 1938, to Ade and Irene (Welsch) Andert in St. Paul, MN. It didn’t take long for the family to settle in Aitkin, MN. Along with her brothers, Richard and Michael, Joan learned what hard work was, as the children helped maintain the family’s resort on Cedar Lake. In high school, she enjoyed her time twirling baton as a majorette, leading the high school marching band. Joan graduated from Aitkin High in 1956.

Joan met her first husband, Thomas Held, while attending classes at the College of St. Benedict. Their courtship was brief, and they married in Aitkin, MN, on September 6, 1958. They were blessed with six children.

In the early 80s, as her oldest children left the house and her younger children were finishing middle school, Joan returned to college to pursue an education in psychology. In 1984 she graduated from St. Cloud State University Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Social Work. In 1987 she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Counseling. Joan worked as a counselor for the remainder of her career at CentraCare and Midwest EAP Solutions. Her practice focused on chemical dependency and preparing clients for bariatric surgery.

Most notable about Joan was her love of family. Joan put her whole heart into raising her six children. As a mom, what her children remember about her most is she was always there if someone needed her. After the untimely death of her first husband, Tom, Joan had the privilege to love her second husband's (Ray's) five children like her own.

Joan and Raymond Benson were married November 23, 2001. Their home on Lake Nisswa was a great family gathering place. Joy filled Joan's heart when her many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren gathered at the lake; spending time swimming, boating, and visiting together.

Joan was a gifted chef and baker. She is well known for her Nutmeg Log Cookies at Christmas time; it's a recipe that has been widely shared. While not as widely shared, Joan also made many German dishes like Spatzen, Sour Speck and Pickled Pigs Feet. Joan enjoyed entertaining friends and traveling with both of her husbands. Joan also had an affinity for gardening, growing showy flowers that attracted a variety of birds, which she and Ray enjoyed watching together at the lake. 

Joan’s gift of community service was felt by many, including the Nisswa Women’s Group, serving as a eucharistic minister at St. Christopher’s Catholic Church, teaching students as a catechist at St. Francis Xavier Parish and being a founder and volunteer with BirthRight.

Joan leaves behind her second husband, Ray Benson; her children, Mark (Allison Waggoner) Held, Karen Held-Harrison, Gregory (Nancy) Held, Kenneth Held, Daniel Held (Monica Pick), and Timothy (Leah) Held; Ray’s children, Kris (John) Scharenbroich, Mark

(Angie) Benson, Ted (Tammy) Benson, Amy (Steve) Benson Yano, and Ann (Jeff) Hess; 25 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren, and her brother Michael (Sandy) Andert.

Joan was preceded in death by her parents, Ade and Irene Andert; first husband, Tom Held; brother, Richard Andert and son-in-law, Ray Harrison.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Medical School Department of Neuroscience Fund at the University of Minnesota Foundation.

The family would like to thank the staffs of both Ecumen St. Benedict’s Community and CentraCare Hospice for the compassionate care they provided Joan.



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