Joan Lillias Tepoorten Jennrich, age 88, passed away Dec. 29, 2022, at Aspirus Hospital in Eagle River, Wis., following complications from pneumonia. 

Joan was born in Superior, Wis., on April 6, 1934, to Joseph and Lillias (Johnson) Tepoorten and she graduated from Superior Central High School. Throughout her life, Joan’s personality was spirited, independent, and humorous. 

She was a proud UW-Madison graduate, a member of Delta Zeta sorority, and a lifelong fan of the Badgers, Packers, and Brewers.

While in college, Joan met her future husband, James (Jim) G. Jennrich.

Jim became employed with Caterpillar International and together they lived and traveled extensively overseas.  Joan continued to travel the world during her life. 

Upon return to the U.S., Joan and Jim settled in Erin Meadows, Wis., where they raised three boys; Brian, Karl, and John. There she embarked on a 20-year teaching career at Erin Elementary School. Joan and Jim divorced in 1988. 

Upon retirement from teaching, Joan moved back to Superior to live in her childhood home which had been in the family for over 100 years. Joan would move again in 2018, taking up residence in assisted living in Eagle River to be closer to her family. 

Joan was fiercely proud of growing up in Superior and she loved the big lake. She would recall with hearty zeal swimming in its frigid waters and picnicking on the beaches of Wisconsin Point.

She was a member of Superior Elks #403 and P.E.O. (which she stated meant “Pa Eats Out”).  

Joan is featured in the 2016 video “Lost Superior”, helping to tell the story of Superior’s history. In it, Joan reminisces about playing inside Fairlawn Mansion as a child (Superior Children’s Home) with the resident orphans where her mother was on the board of directors. She also fondly recalls how her Norwegian immigrant grandfather, Olaf Johnson, Superior’s Fire Chief, spearheaded change from horse-drawn firefighting equipment to the newest mechanized equipment of the day.    

Joan was preceded in death by her parents; daughter-in-law, Dana Jennrich; and her former husband, Jim.

She is survived by her children, Brian and his daughter, Briana, of St. Louis, Mo.; Karl and his wife, Mary Rasmussen, of Conover, Wis.; John and his wife, Farah Tunku Farid, and their daughter, Aisya, of Chicago, Ill. She is also survived by her first cousin, Barbara Stevenson, whom she grew up with and considered a sister.

The family kindly thanks the staff at Aspirus Eagle River Hospital for the care given to Joan in her final days. The family is also extremely appreciative of the staff at both Legacy of the Northwoods and Milestone Senior Living for providing for her care over the last three years.  

Memorials can be made in her honor to Superior Public Museums, 906 East 2nd Street, Superior, WI 54880; superiorpublicmuseums.org.  

A service will be held at a later date with burial at Greenwood Cemetery in Superior.  

Arrangements by Gaffney-Busha Funeral Home, Eagle River. Online condolences may be expressed at gaffney-busha.com.

PAID OBITUARY