Joyce Jeanette Mlinar, 89

Published 4:07 pm Thursday, February 16, 2023

Joyce Jeanette Mlinar, 89

Joyce Jeanette Mlinar passed away on February 9th, 2023 at the age of 89, surrounded by love.

Joyce was born June 23, 1933 in Kansas City, Missouri to parents Hazel (Dickey) Dierforff and Rev. Russell D. Dierdorff, a Congregational Church minister. Their family moved from Kansas to Illinois and later to Minnesota, where Joyce graduated from Spring Valley High School in 1951. It was there in Spring Valley, while working the popcorn stand at the Spring Valley movie theater, that she met the love of her life and future partner for over 67 years, Joseph Mlinar.

Joyce attended Macalester College for two years before transferring to the University of Minnesota, where she graduated in 1955 from the Department of Early Childhood Education. Joyce and Joseph were married the same year, and Joyce taught Third Grade at Marcy School while Joe finished medical school.

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The couple then moved to Philadelphia for Joe’s internship, where Joyce worked in the University of Pennsylvania library reserve department. Following this time, they spent two years in Texas, where Joyce helped set up and taught kindergarten at the Episcopal Church School in McAllen and Dr. Mlinar served in the United States Public Health Service in Eagle Pass and practiced Family Medicine.

In 1962, they returned to Minnesota, making Austin their home for the remainder of their lives. They quickly became active members in the community. Joyce belonged to AAUW, The Medical Auxiliary, and later, Floral Club. During this time, Dr. Mlinar set up his practice and worked with both the Mayo Medical System and Austin Public Schools, and he and Joyce played host to a number of medical students in their home. They were both members of the First Congregational Church, with Joyce teaching Sunday School, Vacation Church School, and chairing the committee that started The Congregational Church Nursery School, the first pre-school in Austin. She loved music and started the guitar choir, participated in the choir, and served on the art committee at the church, which she found quite rewarding. She also served for 10 years on the first “Spruce Up Austin” committee – a joy.

Joyce’s other interests included reading, music, gardening, sewing, and knitting. Her friends and family would add storytelling, tennis, writing, her weekly mahjong meetups with friends, hosting people at her and Joe’s home, sharing photography and lessons learned from her family’s many world travels, and supporting her loved ones to this list.

Above all else, Joyce loved her family. Children were her biggest interest and she was an inspiring, devoted, and joyful mother to her and Joe’s three children: Christine, Joey, and Lynn.

She was preceded in death by her parents and beloved husband, Joe.

Survived by her three children: Christine (David) Plantan, Joseph (Elizabeth Dodd) Mlinar, and Lynn Baker; seven grandchildren: Michelle (Clayton Anthony) Plantan, Stephen (Amanda) Plantan, Lester Mlinar, Langston Mlinar, Madeline Baker, Jonathan Baker, and Benjamin Baker; sister-in-law Phyllis (Mlinar) Smith; two cousins; 17 nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews; and many dear friends.

She leaves a legacy of living one’s life beautifully and to the very fullest.

The family is forever grateful for and deeply appreciative of the compassionate care from the teams at Mayo Medical Clinic, Mayo Hospice, and ComforCare of Austin.

A celebration of life is planned for Tuesday, March 21 at 1:00 PM at First Congregational Church of Austin, 1910 Third Avenue NW, Austin, MN 55912.