SHS Class of 1962 - Information for and by our classmates

Welcome Classmates!

I just became aware of the fact that another classmate,
Joyce M. Barnett Brakemeier, died on 10-16-2015.
She attended Stillwater High School for her senior year and graduated in 1962.
Below is her obituary and her life story.  -- Ann Roettger

Joyce M. Brakemeier

November 11, 1944 ~ October 16, 2015

Brakemeier, Joyce M., age 70 of Victoria, formerly of Mound, passed away 10-16-2015. Longtime owner/operator of Woodend Greenhouses, entrepreneur, avid gardener and horticulturist. Beloved mother and grandmother. Her strong will, unique sense of humor and willingness to help made her unforgettable and irreplaceable. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her. Preceded in death by her father, Robert Barnett, brothers, Dick and Robert and half-brother, Robert. Survived by children, Michelle (Mike) Ruotsinoja, Dustin (Kelly) Brakemeier, Darrick (Tracy) Brakemeier, Jason Brakemeier, Desiree (Josh) Ruppert, 12 grandchildren, mother, Isabel Barnett, brothers, Dennis, Mike, David, sister, Wynette, half-sister, Mary and many loving nieces, nephews, family and friends.

Joyce was born in Alexandria, Virginia on 11/8/44 to Robert and Isabel Barnett. Robert was in the service stationed in Virginia until they later moved to St Paul Park, where Joyce eventually graduated from high school. Her mother Isabel still resides in their childhood home. Because Joyce was the oldest of the children, she played a provider role from a young age. She always remembered walking the railroad tracks picking up coal to provide heat and helping out neighbors in exchange for food to share with her family. Throughout her life, she had a very close relationship with her mother and siblings. She is preceded in death by her father Robert, brothers Dick and Robert and half brother Robert, and special friend Mark Duwal. She is survived by her mother Isabel, brothers David, Mike and Dennis , her sister Wynette and her half sister Mary.
After high school, Joyce moved to St Paul and got a job at UniVac assembling circuit boards. One evening she strolled into a bar under-age. She had a poorly forged ID but the bouncer, Allen, let her in because she was “cute.” The bouncer told her that he was making good money as an iron worker but that wasn’t quite the truth either. She later married this bouncer, Allen Brakemeier, and together they raised 5 children: Michelle, Dustin, Darrick, Jason and Desiree.
The first home they shared was a rental unit in St Paul. After this Joyce and Allen purchased a brand new mobile home and lived in Lakeville. Shortly thereafter, they bought their first boat. True to the couples’ spirit, it was a fixer upper and they finally got it up & running. They stored it at a marina where they eventually were asked to care-take and they moved their mobile home on-site. When the risk of flooding became apparent, they moved the mobile home back to Lakeville. Joyce was adamant from day one that they needed to be in real estate and at this time, they kicked off their search to buy an apartment building. They first purchased a 4 unit and purchased another one shortly thereafter. They sold the mobile home to get capital for these purchases and eventually purchased 5 double bungalows in Bloomington. This started their careers as landlords where they eventually ended up owning two mobile home parks while residing in their home in Chaska. To aide in their real estate goals but also because it was a passion of hers, Joyce obtained her real estate license and worked as a real estate agent at multiple points throughout her life.
When describing Joyce, the first words that comes to mind for most people is “hard-working” and “driven.” She was determined to be successful and stopped at nothing to ensure that happened. In 1981, Allen & Joyce bought their historical home on Lake Minnetonka. Because they loved a challenge, they made sure there was plenty of work to do and they did every bit & piece of it themselves. They eventually turned it into their dream home and decorated it fully in African art including a real bear rug, elephant tusk and elephant foot. Meanwhile, Joyce decided to pursue another passion by opening up Woodend Greenhouses. She ran this business successfully for nearly 20 years. She always had a passion for horticulture and nature. She enjoyed nurturing plants from bulb to bloom and took great pride and enjoyment from her greenhouse. Eventually, she was forced to sell a portion of her land including the greenhouses to Hennepin County though she fought long and hard to keep it.
Joyce and Allen divorced in the late 80’s. In the 90’s, Joyce met Mark Duwal and they lived together for many years at the Lake Minnetonka Home. Eventually as both her and Mark aged, their health issues grew and they moved to Joyce’s home in Victoria, MN. They designed the home together to ensure it was completely handicap accessible. In 2014, Mark passed away. Over the past few years, Joyce had a stroke, suffered a heart attack and had severe COPD. Just last month she was diagnosed with cancer and she passed away on October 16th at the age of 70. We are confident that she is now running around in heaven pain-free on some sort of African safari enjoying all that heaven has to offer.
Amidst running several successful businesses, Joyce was an amazing mother and shared endless adventures with her children. From boat rides down the Mississippi to canoeing in the Boundary Waters, she was always happiest in nature and never missed a chance to explore the world. Joyce had 12 grandchildren that gave her great joy and pride; she loved to teach them about gardening and was constantly providing them with endless supplies of cookies and candy. She always had a soft spot for the underdog and would help anyone who asked. We are so proud of the way that we were raised; nothing was ever given to us but there was an endless supply of work if you wanted to earn money. We learned from a young age that if mom sees you, you will be put to work and saying no to her was never an option. She could never sit still and even in her scooter, she would “pace” back & forth. She had a unique sense of humor, a kind and generous soul and an extremely strong will. We will miss her dearly and the world simply won’t be as good of a place without her in it. We find comfort in knowing she was ready to join her friends and family in heaven and that all of her 12 grandchildren now have a very special guardian angel.


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