Joseph R. Fennie, Northfield, formerly Benson
Joseph R. Fennie, Northfield, formerly Benson, died on Friday August 23, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Audrey H. (Dahl) Fennie. Daughter - Kristi Hayes of Shakopee, MN and Son - Jon Fennie (Megan) of Bremerton, WA. Granddaughter - Kelly Smerdon of Shakopee. Sister - Marion Nelson of Kenai, AK. Sister-in-law - Eileen Arvesen of Waseca, MN. Also by his nieces and nephews.
Joe was born April, 6th 1927 in Red Wing, MN to Joseph and Esther Fennie. He attended Red Wing schools and graduated in 1945. He was active in the music program, drama, cheerleading, rifle club, and especially enjoyed hunting and fishing with his dad. Joe enlisted in the U.S. Navy and entered service in 1945, and served on the USS LCI-R 646 in the Pacific and Japan. After discharge he attended Winona State University, where he was active in band, drama, cheerleading and was president of the student body his senior year.
Graduating with majors in music and social studies, he started his teaching career in Hayfield, MN. In 1953 he accepted a position with Bach Music Company in Rochester, MN where he also met Audrey. Joe and Audrey married in 1955. Joe went back to teaching and they moved to Arlington, MN. Three years later he accepted a teaching job in Starbuck, MN where he was able to grow the band and choir programs. His groups were consistent "A" rating winners.
Joe was elected to membership in the American School Band Directors Association, and served a term as state chairman. After eight years in Starbuck he accepted the band director position in Benson, MN. In Benson, Joe was active in building the band program as well as being a member of the Lions, golf club, and choir. He also played in community bands, and was active in the local Education Association. Elected to a term as president and served on regional boards for MEA. Joe also organized the West Central Band Festival, and was elected to the state board of the Minnesota Music Education Association (MMEA). Joe was very proud to receive MMEA’s highest honor and was elected to the “Minnesota Music Educators Hall of Fame" in 1991.
Joe was an active judge for music contests throughout the state. After 20 years in Benson, he took early retirement to join the Stanbury Band Uniform Company. Joe and Audrey moved to Northfield, MN where he worked in retail men's clothing for Perman’s, and Jim & Joe's in Faribault, MN. In Northfield, he was involved in several musicals, community band, and church choir. He enjoyed volunteering at the high school band room. Making music with his students was the great joy in his life.
Joe and Audrey were fortunate to be able to travel to many places including Norway, the Panama Canal and many places in the U.S. The last trip he took was the WWII Honor Flight to Washington D.C. which he really enjoyed.
Services will be 11:00AM, Wednesday, August 28, 2013, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Northfield with Rev. Janet White officiating. Music will be provided by Donna Paulsen. Interment with Military Honors will be Oakwood Cemetery, Red Wing. Visitation will be at the church on Wednesday one hour prior to the service.
Memorials are preferred to your school or church music groups.