Joan-Nell Macfadden passed away peacefully on Jan. 10, 2021.
Joan-Nell Bowron “Josie” was born to Frank and Evelyn Bowron on Dec. 1, 1934, in Chicago. She was born alongside a twin (Mounte Ella Bowron), who died shortly after birth so it can be said that right from the beginning, Joan-Nell was small in stature and arrived with a determined spirit. In 1940, her brother, Frank, Jr., was born. One of Joan-Nell’s favorite childhood memories was traveling to New York with her mother and grandmother to visit her Great-Grandma Merson, where they would drink tea late into the night and get caught up on family news. This love of visiting with others was a central theme throughout Joan-Nell’s life. She was known for her willingness to listen and for sharing her wise counsel. It was not uncommon for the person sitting next to her on a plane to hug her before parting ways. She was a relational gift to many through her warm presence, kindness and ability to easily create true connections.
Joan-Nell attended her beloved St. Olaf College, where she earned a degree in Secondary English Education. Her first job was in Great Falls, where she met Bill Macfadden in 1959. The two were introduced through friends and became engaged six months later. They were married in Minneapolis on April 2, 1960. They settled in Great Falls on Beth Drive, where they had three daughters: Molly, Sarah and Amy. Later they moved to Fourth Avenue South and raised their family among some of their closest lifelong friends. Joan-Nell was a homemaker who was a talented gardener and creator of warm gatherings with delicious food and lots of laughter.
Joan-Nell remained dedicated to Ol’ Bill for better or worse, in sickness and in health for 57 years. The two of them built their life in Great Falls with wonderful friends. They shared a deep dedication to their community. Their combined sense of humor about life became a trademark of their relationship and endured through Bill’s years of battling Parkinson’s — Joan-Nell always faithfully by his side. He was the adventurer who made her laugh and she adored him.
As a compassionate volunteer, Joan-Nell served the Montana Mental Health Assoc. for over 35 years. She was also active in Al-Anon, The Junior League, PEO, was an advocate for Great Falls Public Schools (GFPS) and volunteered with Senior Services at Benefis Health System. Joan-Nell strived for people to be heard and served according to their need.
Joan-Nell was preceded in death by her husband, Bill. She is survived by her three daughters, Molly, Sarah and Amy (David Petsch); brother Frank Bowron; and grandchildren, Fredrick, Isaac, Simon and Seth Petsch, Isabella and Sam Hazlett, and Eleanor Macfadden-Collins.
Due to Covid 19, a small service will be held in Billings at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15; a livestream of the service may be viewed here: https://www.rmccmontana.org/live.
Plans for a larger gathering in Great Falls will be made for this summer when Joan-Nell’s ashes will be laid to rest. Memorial gifts can be sent to: Center for Mental Health, 915 First Ave. S., Great Falls, MT 59401.
Condolences may be made at www.michelottisawyers.com.