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Joy Naree (Bliss) Guenther

February 13, 1934 ~ June 22, 2018 (age 84)

Joy Naree (Bliss) Guenther died peacefully on June 22, 2018 at the age of 84. 

Joy Guenther was born February 13, 1934 to John J. and Janie G. (Perry) Bliss of Milaca MN.  She attended District 25 Rural Country School in Hayland Township in Mille Lacs County and graduated from Milaca High School in 1951.  Joy played tenor saxophone in her high school marching band, which began a life-long appreciation of music and the arts. 

After attending one year of Teacher’s College at St. Cloud State University, she began work as a Clerk–Typist for the Farmer’s Home Administration (FHA) in Milaca.  In 1953, Joy transferred to the FHA office in Alexandria, MN, where she met her husband, Cliff.

On October 16, 1954 Joy was married to Clifford John Guenther and they lived in rural Leaf Valley where they farmed.  While working at home to raise their four children, Joy served on the District 28 Pleasant Grove School Board from 1962 to 1970.  She served on the Parish Council of Our Lady of Seven Dolors Catholic Church in Millerville, MN and was a charter member of the American Legion Post 527 Auxiliary in Millerville.  She was also a long-time member of the Leaf Valley Firemen’s Auxiliary.

After many years of raising her children and community service, Joy returned to the workplace in 1974, working part-time in the bookkeeping department of First Bank.  Following the death of her husband Clifford in 1979, she began full-time work at First Bank (now USBank) until her retirement in 1998.  She continued her service to the community as Treasurer of the Leaf Valley Town Board from 1980 to 1988, at which time she moved from the family farm to Alexandria.

Her retirement years continued to be full of activity.  Joy worked part-time as a receptionist for the office of Dr. Wayne Knauf in Alexandria.  She volunteered at the Alexandria Senior Center, was a member of the Euterpean Club, and also served as a Greeter and a member of the Handbell Choir at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. 

Joy loved reading good books, and her appreciation of the arts, which began in high school, continued throughout her life.  She loved music of all kinds, but especially the “big band” music of the 1940’s.  She enjoyed live theatre and concerts – professional performances, community theatre, and school programs in which her children and grandchildren participated.

Joy Naree Guenther was preceded in death by her parents, John J. and Janie G. Bliss, her brother Jay J. Bliss, her daughter Catherine M. Guenther (1971), her husband Clifford J. Guenther (1979), her grandson Jared A. Guenther (2017), and son Alan B. Guenther (2018).  She is survived by two children: Gregory J. Guenther of Parkers Prairie MN, and Barbara K. Guenther of Albuquerque, NM; three grandchildren:  Cory J. Anderson (Bellefonte, PA), Jenna C. Guenther (Juneau, AK), and Jade A. Guenther (Madison, WI); two great-granddaughters:  Ezra and Hannah Anderson (Bellefonte, PA); and her sister, Janice M. Stromwall of Milaca, MN.

Joy was a woman of quiet strength, who was loved by many and will be dearly missed.  She remains forever in our hearts.

Visitation will take place Wednesday, June 27, 2018 from 4-7 PM with a 4 PM Parish Prayer Service at the Anderson Funeral Home.   A Graveside service will be held Thursday, June 28, 2018 at Noon at Our Lady of Seven Dolors Catholic Cemetery in Millerville, MN.  Following the service there will be visitation with the family at the Millerville Parish Hall. 

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be sent to the American Cancer Society or Knute Nelson Hospice.

Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria.

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