Joan Louise Hjelle

Joan Louise Hjelle, 89, of Proctor, passed away on Sunday, June 6, 2021 at Solvay Hospice House. Joan was born on April 29th, 1932 to Fred and Antonia (Braier) Pietrowski. She lived her entire life in the Duluth area, and graduated from Denfeld High School in 1950. In 1958 she met Norton Hjelle of Barrett, MN and they were married the same year. In 1965 they moved to Hermantown with their family and lived there until 1997. She started working as a babysitter and in the laundry at St Mary’s Hospital and after high school she worked for various insurance agencies. In 1980 she went to work for Sunrise Memorial Park Cemetery until her retirement in 1997. After retirement, she went on to pursue her love of music and started teaching senior organ classes until 2020. Joan was preceded in death by her husband, Norton; and son-in-law, Kyle Smalley. Joan is survived by her children, Loren (Denise), Terry Smalley, Tim (Anne), Mary (Mark) Black and Karen (Wayne) Pettyjohn; grandchildren, Molly Hjelle, Jesse and Carmen Smalley, Dusty (Debbie), David (Anna), John, Caleb (Regan) and Andy Hjelle, Nicole (Jon Bolme) and Erin Pettyjohn; 9.5 great-grandchildren; sisters, Elizabeth “Betty” (Ward, deceased) Johnson and Roberta ‘Bunny’ (Bill, deceased) Redenbaugh; and numerous family and friends she has gained over the years. Visitation to be held at 1pm on Friday, June 11, 2021 at St. Rose, 2 Sixth Ave, Proctor, with Memorial Mass to follow at 2pm. Interment at Sunrise Memorial Park Cemetery. Please share online condolences and photos at

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