Joanne Joyce Keck

Joanne Joyce Keck, 90, died peacefully at Westhills Village Healthcare on September 28,2019. She lived a grand, glorious and gorgeous life.
Nora Joanne Joyce was born at home March 19,1929 in Faith, South Dakota, to Nora (McCormack) and True Joyce. She and her younger sister Jeanne grew up in Faith where Joanne said "We had no trees, no grass, no flowers just DUST!" She graduated as Salutatorian from Faith High School in 1947, and attended the University of South Dakota for a year before leaving to work for the Civil Service Commission for 18 months. She attended Northern State Univ- ersity where she earned an Associate Teaching degree and was named NSU's 1950 Snow Queen.
She taught 4th grade in Huron, South Dakota for 2 years. We don't know if it was the gift of baby mice in her desk drawer that changed her mind about teaching, but she was off to her next adventure, working in Rapid City as executive secretary to the president of KOTA. There she met her future husband Jim Keck when he came into the office on business. Jim and Joanne were married on February 15,1954 and were partners in life for the next 62 years.
They had 6 children who benefitted from her boundless energy and enthusiasm. Her love of the outdoors had the family out skiing, camping, biking, hiking, and she juggled their many activities in between. She adored her 12 grandchildren and was their partner screaming down a ski run, playing Heart & Soul on the piano, burying faces in ice cream cones, teaching the finer points of making shredded beef, or officiating at the funerals of pets. But more than anything, she loved to sit and ask about their lives.
In 1980 with the kids mostly grown, Joanne joined the staff of the West River Catholic Newspaper where she assisted with the TV mass among other duties. An active member of AA for many years, Joanne became an advocate for treatment options for alcoholic clergy and was instrumental in developing and then chairing a Diocesan Health Panel addressing those issues. She went on to volunteer for the women's AA group at the Pennington County Jail, assisting many women in need. She was a member of Blessed Sacrament Church, sang in the choir, and was active in her prayer group. She had a music ministry to the elderly at long term care facilities, playing piano and singing with residents.
The last decade of Joanne's life was made more challenging due to dementia, but her beautiful smile and quick laugh remained. One of her great joys in the last 3 years was music: the live music presentations at Westhills Healthcare where she lived, or her Music & Memory iPod. A memorial has been established for Westhills Healthcare Activities -Music & Memory or Musical Entertainment, so that residents may share the same joy that she felt.
Joanne is survived by her six children: Sherry (Jim) Gangelhoff, Jim (Sheri), Greg (Marcia), Mary (Bill) Callender, Tom (Debbie), Matt (Sandi), 12 grandchildren, and nine great- grandchildren.
A Christian Funeral Mass was offered Monday, October 7, at Blessed Sacrament Church with Fr. Adam Hofer officiating. Burial followed at the Black Hills National Cemetery.
Friends may sign  her guestbook at

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