SAVANNA—Joan Mildred (Williston) Arb, a resident of Hyland Crossing Assisted Living Facility, Sun Prairie, Wis., and a former resident of Savanna, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, at the age of 75.
Joan was born on Nov. 24, 1944, in Savanna, to Allan Titus Williston and Mildred Rachel (Lambert) Williston. She learned to work hard from a young age, working around the house and learning many crafts from her mother — cooking, crochet, knitting, sewing, and gardening.
Joanie loved attending school activities, especially football games where she would cheer on her big brother, Phil. She worked at the record store and was a carhop at the Chicken Coop. She and her future husband, Ed, would go to the community center to dance every week.
Joan graduated from Savanna Township High School in 1960 with honors and a scholarship to Northern Illinois University. She attended Northern in the fall of 1962, then married her high school sweetheart, Edward Arb, on Dec. 30, 1962. The couple welcomed their first son, Randy, while Ed was stationed out of Coronado, Calif.
While Ed was out at sea, Joan and Randy headed back to Savanna to be with her parents. She worked with her mother at Duncan's. When Ed was discharged from the Navy in 1964, the family moved to Chicago where Joan would often run in to Mayor Richard Daley while taking Randy for walks; he would always stop to say hello. In 1965, the family returned to Savanna and welcomed their other three sons, Ron, Allan and Eddie.
Joan's number one passion was her family. She was always her sons' number one fan and loved cheering them on loudly for whatever sport or activity they were in. When family would gather together, you could be sure she was in the thick of it all, playing games and cooking for everyone.
Joan also had a passion for serving her community and her faith. She loved people and they loved her. She was a lay speaker for the United Methodist church and was quite often called to give sermons at many area churches. She received notes and letters of gratitude from parishioners for her beautiful words.
She loved working where she could interact with people. When the boys were old enough, Joan went to work for Melhus Realty as a receptionist, and then worked for Bluff Medical in Clinton, Iowa. Wanting to be closer to home, she took a job at The Savanna Times-Journal, where she loved seeing people coming in and describing their events. However, her best time while at the paper was seeing her son's accomplishments printed — Eddie's artwork, Randy, Ron, and Allan’s sporting events, academic successes and more. Since Joan was so skilled at helping people, she was thrilled to work with Dr. Mulay for many years while still being able to care for her parents.
She was member and president of both the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) and the Savanna School Board for several years. She loved being in the PEO with her mother. As president of the school board it was her honor to hand her son, Eddie, his diploma. She was also a member of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary.
Joan is survived by her brother, John Williston Sr.; sons, Randy (Are'anne) Arb, Ron (Marcia) Arb, Harold Allan (Maya) Arb, Eddie Arb; honorary son, Tymothy Williams; her grandchildren, Michelle (Stephen) Hassett, Kayla (Carlos) Vara, Jeffrey Arb, Ryan (Kayla fiancée) Arb, Justin Arb, Alex Arb, Alaina Arb; honorary grandchild, Kai Williams; great-granddaughter, Darcy Hassett; nieces and nephews, Jonna Marie (Roy) Capio, Susan Bell, John (Deanna) Williston II, Kathleen (Jaime) Goffaux; three great-nephews, John David Williston, Emmitt Goffaux, Zach Risher; and sister-in-law, Judy Arb of Arizona.
In addition to her husband Edward, she was preceded in death by her parents, Allan and Mildred Williston; her parent-in-laws; her 7-month-old twin sons; her sister, Mary Alice Williston; her brother, Phillip Williston; her daughter-in-law, Ann (Frost) Arb; her brother-in-law, Jerry Arb; her sister-in-law, Peggy Williston; her great-niece, Ashley Goffaux; and her great-nephew, Tommy Goffaux.
Memorial and church services for Joan and her sister, Mary Alice Williston, will be held together in late spring 2021 in Savanna. Graveside services for both will be held at the same time at the Savanna Township Cemetery.
Cards maybe sent for the family to Randy and Are'anne Arb, 800 Katherine Dr., Sun Prairie, WI 53590.
In lieu of flowers, Joan would be honored if you would please consider donating to one of the following: Alzheimer's Research, Parkinson's Research, First United Methodist Church of Savanna.