Joan D.  Griffin (Balk) Age 90 of Richfield, MN passed away quietly February 17, 2019.  Preceded in death by her husband of 66 years Del Griffin, her parents John M. and Bathil (Bathildis) Balk, and her brothers Francis J. "Jack" Balk and Eugene "Gene" Balk. 

Joan was born and raised in Waucoma, Iowa, graduated from Waucoma High School, attended Iowa State University and graduated from Saint Mary's School of Nursing at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

After graduation she moved form Rochester to Minneapolis and worked as a maternity nurse at Maternity Hospital in north Minneapolis. This historic hospital  was founded by suffragette and feminist medicine pioneer Martha Ripley as a place where women from every background could get high quality maternity care using pioneering aseptic practices. Maternity Hospital set new standards for quality care and low rates of infant and mother mortality. Later in her career Joan worked for many years as a level-two neonatal nurse at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, all while raising seven children.

Joan loved sports and was a gifted athlete. She starred as a girl's high school basketball player in Iowa, was an outstanding women's softball player in Rochester, Minneapolis and Richfield, and was an accomplished bowler. An avid youth sports fan, she faithfully attended her children's and grandchildren's sporting events, and with seven children and nineteen grandchilren there were a lot of them.

She spent much of the last half of her life enjoying the northern woods, cross-country skiing, blueberry picking, and fishing at the Wisconsin lake cottage she and Del built together. In the last few decades they spent most of the summer months living at the lake, where they hosted visits from family members.

A dearly loved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Joan's life was child-centered,  in both her profession and family life. She is survived by her children Michael (Martha), Diane, Mark (Wendy), Barbara (Bill) Pace, Paul (Mary), Jack (Amy), and Mary Jo (Paul) Gregersen; nineteen grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren, with a sixteenth great grandchild soon to arrive.

Visitation is at 9 am and funeral mass at 10 am, Monday, February 25 at Church of the Assumption, 305 East 77th St., Richfield MN 55423, followed by a light meal, and burial at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Bloomington 952-888-7771

Published on February 24, 2019