Obituary of Joanne Mary Nagem

Joanne Mary Nagem, loving and extraordinary wife, mother and grandmother, passed away on April 3, 2019 at the age of 83 after years of being frustrated by Alzheimer’s disease. Joanne was born on May 17, 1935 as the middle child of five girls to Elias and Eugenie Joseph in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.


Joanne attended parochial schools while growing up and attended the College of Our Lady of the Elms to major and excel in math and physics. During this period she also developed artistic talents in play planning and performing and joined glee clubs in high school and college.


Upon graduating college, Joanne used her skills as an engineering aid at nuclear and helicopter engine manufacturers. She met her future husband, Michael Nagem and they married on May 30, 1959. The couple produced five children named Andrew, Daniel, Jeanne, Matthew and John. Joanne concluded her industrial career to devote all of her time to be a full-time homemaker.


Joanne and family moved several times over the years to include homes in the Northeast, California and finally settling in Charlotte in the mid-1980s. All through her life, Joanne has enjoyed many wonderful talents, which she has always been happy to share with others.


One of her primary concerns was to improve public education for all children especially those with special needs. While in California Joanne was part of a study sponsored by the State Board of Education with a goal of establishing state-wide guidelines for addressing the educational needs of special needs children. In addition to spending her free time volunteering in the education system, Joanne was very active in social outreach through her church which included working with migrant farmers, teaching catechism and other activities. In later years, she continued her volunteering to include political campaigns, working at battered women shelters and helping with income tax returns at senior centers.


Joanne’s background led her to a special interest in architecture. With family related moves to several states, she had the opportunity to redesign and upgrade several homes. While in Beaufort SC, she designed and drew up plans for the beautiful home she and Michael built at the coast. She also helped others as well with architectural plans including deigning a temporary group home for survivors of domestic violence in Beaufort.


A natural gourmet cook, Joanne was always happy to prepare delicious meals for family, friends and others. With Michael and family, their home was always a warm welcoming place for visitors, be it a short visit or a longer stay. Her joy of gardening, both flowers and vegetables, could be seen as part of the landscape at each of their homes. From a young age, she had a special talent for sewing. She was able to sew anything needed for herself, family, friends and others with special attention to fine details.


With their children, Joanne and Michael enjoyed traveling and camping in many states and National Parks. Later in life, Joanne and Michael enjoyed extensive world travels and enjoyed learning about other cultures and ways of life.


Very remarkable is the love and caring Joanne always showed for family, friends and strangers alike. Special qualities which describe Joanne include: integrity, loving, caring, thoughtful, generous, and genuine.


Later in life Joanne’s disease precluded her ability to participate directly in the activities she enjoyed, she will always be remembered as an active and loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the domestic violence or homeless shelter of your choice.