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Joan Mary Klinkner

December 22, 1954 ~ April 26, 2019 (age 64)

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Joan Mary Klinkner, 64, passed away peacefully on Friday morning April 26, 2019 at her Grand Chute home, surrounded by her loving family.  Joan was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in March.  She was born December 22, 1954 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Joan is the daughter of the late Charles and Helen (Glaser) Parma.  She married Michael Klinkner on July 5, 1975 and celebrated nearly 44 wonderful years of marriage.

Joan received her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Masters of Arts in Early Childhood Education at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota.  She was a dedicated and passionate early childhood professional for more than 40 years.  Joan spent the last 14 years as a faculty member of the Early Childhood Education Department at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.  She worked tirelessly to advance early childhood education, including the associate degree program at NWTC. 

Joan was a co-author of two early childhood development books, an author of numerous articles on child care issues in professional publications, a presenter at local, regional and state workshops and conferences on topics specializing in infant-toddler development and early childhood mentoring.  Joan was an active member and provided strong leadership in a number of professional associations, including the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, the Child Care Resource and Referral board, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, The Registry, and was a past president of Wisconsin ACCESS.  Joan was also a recipient of the Wisconsin Division for Early Childhood and Wisconsin Early Childhood Association’s Outstanding Service Award.

Joan enjoyed sailing on Lake Winnebago, gardening, and reading, but most importantly she loved spending time with family and friends, especially with her four grandchildren.

Joan is survived by her loving husband Mike; two daughters: Lisa (Torry) Bishop of Missoula, MT and their children Griffin and Sullivan Bishop, Valerie (Ben) Baker of Grand Chute and their children Alana and Jacob Baker; a sister: Cheryl (Gary) Thompson; four brothers: Glenn (Barb) Parma, Wayne (Carol) Parma, Gary (Pam) Parma, and Chuck (Lynn) Parma; along with several sisters and brothers-in-law, cousins, nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents.

A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, May 3, 2019 at the Buboltz Nature Preserve, 4815 N. Lynndale Dr., Appleton, WI 54913.  The family will greet friends and relatives from 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm.  A sharing of stories in honor of Joan’s life will begin at 2:30 pm, with appetizers and refreshments to follow from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm.  The family asks those attending the Celebration of Life to dress casual and wear cheerful colors in Joan’s honor.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a scholarship fund established in Joan’s name for Early Childhood Education program students at NWTC.  Donations can be made by contacting the NWTC Foundation at 920-498-5541 or

Joan’s family would like to extend a special thank you to the ThedaCare at Home Hospice team, Dr. Scott Vander Wielen, and the NWTC family for all the care and compassion given to her.

“There is hope for the future of early childhood programs and child care workers [in Wisconsin], but only if we all tell our stories and make it known that the future of our children is at stake.” ---Joan

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joan Mary Klinkner, please visit our floral store.


A Celebration of Life
May 3, 2019

12:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Buboltz Nature Preserve
4815 N. Lyndale Drive
Appleton, WI 54913

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