JoAnn Williams

January 16, 1957 ~ November 19, 2023 (age 66) 66 Years Old

JoAnn Williams Obituary

JoAnn Williams, 66, of Aberdeen, SD, passed away Sunday, November 19, 2023, at her home surrounded by her family.

A Memorial Service will be at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Aberdeen, with Pastor Heidi Youngquist officiating.

Burial will be in Minnewaukan, ND, at a later date.

Schriver’s Memorial Mortuary and Crematory, 414 5th Avenue NW, Aberdeen, is in charge of arrangements. Family and friends may sign the online guestbook at

JoAnn Williams was born January 16, 1957, in Devils Lake, ND, to Rancel and Elizabeth (Hager) Stensby. She was the youngest of six children in the family. She grew up and attended school in Minnewaukan, ND.

She subsequently completed college coursework at Mayville State University in Mayville, ND, and North Dakota State University (NDSU), Bottineau Branch, Bottineau, ND. It was at NDSU where JoAnn met her husband, Eugene “Gene” Williams. They were married in her hometown of Minnewaukan on April 30, 1977.

The couple moved to Montana that year and worked temporary jobs with the U. S. Forest Service. They returned to North Dakota late that fall. In the spring of 1978, Eugene began a lifelong career with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, starting in Devils Lake, ND. Gene’s career would see the Williams relocate to Kansas, Montana, Minnesota, and Alaska, and they finally settled in South Dakota. It was in Kansas where JoAnn gave birth to their one child, Jessica, on May 13, 1986.

While following Gene’s career path, JoAnn worked for USDA Farm Services in North Dakota, Kansas, and South Dakota, the U.S. Department of Interior – Bureau of Land Management in Montana, the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers in South Dakota, the Internal Revenue Service in Minnesota, and the Galena Public School System in Galena, Alaska.

JoAnn developed a passionate love of horses early in life – starting when she was in grade school on the day her father brought home a team of Shetland ponies. While owning horses on and off over subsequent years, the hobby farm the Williams acquired in the Aberdeen area in 2003 provided a fertile ground for her horse hobby to blossom. JoAnn was an officer in the local Aberdeen Area Horse Association (AAHA) that sponsored several horse events each year.

In addition, JoAnn donated countless volunteer hours to the SPURS Therapeutic Riding Clinic in Aberdeen. JoAnn also donated volunteer hours to Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Aberdeen – helping serve the weekly meal the church offered for gratis on Wednesday afternoons.

JoAnn loved all outdoors – enjoying nature – bird watching, hunting, and fishing. She also enjoyed gardening and decorative flowers. She especially enjoyed time spent with her daughter, Jessica. In recent years, the two would peruse the greenhouses looking for those special plants to add a splash of color to the homestead décor. Her hobbies and those of Eugene intertwined as they shared all of the outdoors and horses. The marital bond between her and Eugene was a strong one as a result.

JoAnn is survived by her husband of 46 years, Gene Williams of Aberdeen, SD; daughter, Jessica (Cory Weisbeck) Williams of Aberdeen, SD; and three siblings Judy Compton of Maddock, ND, Lynn (Robert) Yri of rural Devils Lake, ND, and Patrick Stensby of Minnewaukan, ND.

JoAnn was preceded in death by her parents and two siblings, Ronald and Wayne.

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