Joan LaRae (Hogan) Meidinger passed away on November 26, 2020 at Sanford Hospice House in Fargo, ND after a long and courageous battle with stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Joan was a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Her beauty and tenacity were evident to everyone who knew and loved her, even from a young age.
Born on December 13, 1961, on a rainy night in Seattle, WA to Wayne and Martha (Hamner) Hogan, her fighting spirit began after complications at birth. Her father’s occupation as an iron worker brought them to different cities across the U.S. during Joan’s early childhood of which she had fond memories playing with her siblings and cousins, helping her mother and grandmother in the garden, and baking alongside her Great Aunt Honey.
Joan spent her school years in her father’s hometown of Walhalla, ND where she was active in band, cheerleading, gymnastics, and theatre, and also competed in the 1978 Miss Teen North Dakota Competition. In her yearbook, Joan’s classmates recalled her fiery personality and their many adventures.
Joan’s adventurous spirit eventually took her beyond Walhalla to the Chicago area where she dreamed of performing with the Second City comedy troupe. It was there that she met her first husband, Dan Fitzpatrick. They returned to Walhalla for a brief period before joining Joan’s sister Debbie in Montana, where Joan spent many summer days on the beaches of Whitefish Lake. After their separation Joan moved to Washington state to be close to her grandmother.
In 1992, Joan returned to her home state of North Dakota with her two young daughters to achieve her dream of finishing her college education. As a McNair Scholar she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and her lifelong goal of a juris doctorate at the University of North Dakota and traveled to various conferences. She turned her passion for advocacy and family into a family law practice in Fargo where she lived with her second husband, Todd Meidinger whom she married December 30th, 2005.
There are many more details of Joan’s incredibly rich life that we cannot fit into just one narrative. She was a fun-loving woman who attended festivals, concerts, parades, reunions, and other community events at every opportunity. A lover of the outdoors, she also spent time bicycling, sledding and swimming, which she enjoyed most with her family. And before becoming an attorney, Joan worked as a lifeguard, a waitress, a daycare provider, a potato picker, a car salesperson, and a realtor.
Regardless of anything she set her mind to or accomplishments she achieved, there is nothing Joan loved more, nor anything that could make her prouder, than her children, grandchildren and family. This made her cancer diagnosis and grim prognosis that much harder to accept, yet gave her the strength and determination to fight long and hard. Her zest for life, her strong faith, her fighting, courageous spirit and positive attitude, kept Joan fighting until her very last breath. God’s mercy and grace won in the end and Joan is now comforted in the loving arms of her Lord and Savior.
Joan is preceded in death by grandparents Clinton Hogan and Ethel (Carpenter) Garpstead, and George and Jenniette Mae (Kemp) Hamner, stepfather James Madden, sister Deborah (Hogan) Heuscher, and first husband, Daniel “Dan” Charles Fitzpatrick (November 23rd, 2020).
Joan is survived by her spouse, Todd Meidinger, Fargo, ND; her parents, Wayne Hogan, Hammon, IN and Martha (Morris) Blocker, Wilmot, SD; her four children Dr. Angela (Adam Bowman) Fitzpatrick of Toledo, OH; Virginia (Sha) Companioni of Fargo, ND; Destiny (Kevin) Olson of Fargo, ND; and Justin Hogan, Fargo, ND; her five stepchildren Lacy Meidinger of Moorhead, MN, Jordan Meidinger, Fargo, ND, Brandon Meidinger, Fargo, ND, Colleen (Kirby) Grabow, Marseilles, Ill and Paul Fitzpatrick, Fargo, ND; her seven grandchildren Devon Fitzpatrick, Stephen Clemens II, Aiden Brown, Faith Maenza, Grace Olson, Conrad and Howard Bowman, and one great-grandson Ezra Fitzpatrick; her siblings Michelle Hogan, West Fargo, ND; Clint Hogan, Colville, WA; and Wayne Hogan Jr., Hammond, IN; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and great nieces and great nephews. We all are going to miss her beyond what words can express.
Services will be livestreamed on Facebook Live on the Calvary United Methodist Church page on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 2 p.m. and available as a recording on https://www.facebook.com/joanmeidingerbenefit. We wanted to also add that memorial gifts can be directed to the Joan Meidinger Benefit Fund online at https://give.lendahandup.org/#/charity/218 or mailed to Gate City Bank, 3100 25th St S, Fargo, ND 58103.