Joan M. Jirik, 82

Joan M. Jirik, age 82, of New Prague, died peacefully on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at Mala Strana Health and Rehabilitation Center. Joan was born on May 20, 1941, in Mankato to Ludwig and Marcella (Sieberg) Schimek. She attended parochial schools including Loyola High School and graduated from Mankato West High School. She met and married William J. Jirik, Jr. on February 10, 1962 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in North Mankato. Joan had a penchant for numbers and started out working as a bookkeeper and would use that talent the remainder of her career. After she and Bill were married, Joan worked for Queen of Peace Hospital for 3 years as a receptionist. Then she and Bill owned and operated Jirik Monument, New Prague Sanitary, and Minnesota Plumbing and Heating. She also worked for 8-10 years at West End Bowling Lanes. Late in Joan’s life, she received a gift when she reconnected with the son that she was forced to give up for adoption as a pregnant teenager. It brought great joy and added grandchildren to her life.

Joan was humble, kind, and giving. She was a willing volunteer for the annual St. Wenceslaus Festival. She enjoyed league bowling for 25 years and was always up for a good game of cards with her family and friends. Joan loved fishing, both summer and winter, but she was especially proud of the ice fishing houses that she and Bill built and parked on Mille Lacs Lake. Not only did Joan teach all the grandkids to fish, she was also responsible for potty-training the grandkids as the rule was that they could not go fishing until they were! It turned out to be a great incentive. Her other love was her visits to the casino and she so loved slots, that she had her own slot machine in the basement of her home so that she could play while doing the laundry. Each week when the New Prague Times came out, Joan immediately went to Edna Weiers’s column, clipped it out, and saved it to send to Scott! Joan always had a quick joke to share and a gentle smile to greet and leave you with. Her gentle presence will be missed.

Joan is survived by her children, Duane (Amy) Jirik of New Prague, Deanna (Michael) Riker of Farmington, AR, Scott (Linda) Mazar of Woodbury; grandchildren, Izak (Brittany) Jirik, Josef Jirik, Kate (Mark) Spyhalski, Michael (Katy) Riker, James (Amanda) Whitcomb, Amira (Zachary) Engel, Anya Mazar; great-grandchild, baby Jirik due in May; siblings, Catherine Reynolds of Mapleton, Dianne Schimek of Champlain, Ronald Schimek of Eagle Lake, Leonard Schimek of Lexington, David Schimek of Shakopee, Wayne (Jolene) Schimek of Hayfield; brother-in-law, Terry Welsh of Shakopee. She is preceded in death by her husband, Bill on July 20, 2020; parents; sister, Irene Welsh.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, December 16, 2023, at 10 AM at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church with Father Eugene Theisen officiating. Mass will be live-streamed on npcatholic.org. Visitation will take place on Friday from 4-7 PM and Saturday morning from 7:30-9:30 at Bruzek Funeral Home. Burial will occur at Czech National Cemetery with lunch following at the Legion Clubroom. bruzekfuneralhome.com

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