Joan Frazerhurst (Saari), born May 5th, 1935, of Spiritwood, ND entered into her reward and the presence of Jesus, while in the loving company of family, on July 8, 2024. Visitation will be held Monday July 15th at 10 AM with funeral service at 11 AM at Zion Free Lutheran Church, 3715 110th Ave SE, Valley City, ND 58072. Interment to follow.

Preceded in death by parents, Carl and Toini Saari, brother Carl (Diane) Saari, and brother David Saari.

Survived by daughters, Alison (Dwight) Grotberg of ND, Tania (John) Labatt of MN, and grandchildren: Emmery, Frazer, Nick, Ezra, Alana, Isabella, Samantha, Soren, Magdalena, Eli, Serena, Elsa, and Reagan; great-grandchildren: Phoenix, Ferryn, Evelyn, Titus, Wilder, Easton, Lillian, and Tessa.

Joan was a 1953 graduate of Luther L. Wright High School in Ironwood, MI, where her diverse talents manifested as she became captain of the rifle team, homecoming queen, and the yearbook business manager. Joan attended Suomi College for accounting and then the Lutheran Bible Institute. Her compassionate nature and love of being active prompted her to seek a nursing degree, which she completed in 1958 at the Swedish Hospital School of Nursing in Minneapolis, where she worked until 1961.

It was then that Joan decided that she would attend Bethany School of Missions to prepare to be a missionary nurse. Her desire to serve Jesus was redirected to the home staff at Bethany Fellowship in 1965 helping to support over a hundred missionaries. It was there she met the love of her life Terry, a kind New Zealander with a charming accent. Their unlikely marriage, a

Kiwi from New Zealand and a Finn from Upper Michigan, began in a blizzard December 21,1967, lasting over 56 years.  At Bethany Fellowship, Joan and Terry raised their two daughters Alison and Tania and enjoyed many good friends and happy moments among the staff and students for nearly thirty years. Joan’s work at Bethany went from the print shop of Bethany House Publishers to the finance department, where her work ethic, accounting acumen, and integrity led her to be appointed


In 1994, Joan and Terry moved to Burnsville, MN, a cozy place, where their much-loved grandchildren were welcomed, had fun playing, discovering grandpa’s gadgets, sledding, sleepovers, snacks, supper, and shenanigans. Every one of their grandkids, who she remembered frequently with gifts, have many fond memories of their playful Grandma Joan, and they each had their unique relationship with her.

During this time, Joan was the treasurer for Christos Center for Spiritual Direction, as well as for the Swedish Hospital Alumni Association, where she kept many friends among former classmates and nurses. She was instrumental in commissioning their “capping” sculpture honoring the many nurses trained there. She published the monthly newsletter and helped organize several alumni events. Joan also helped begin the Bethany House of Prayer to pray and minister to those who brought concerns or needs, which was her joy.

In 2017, Joan and Terry moved to ND to be closer to Alison’s family. Missed as they would be, Tania realized that it was time to share. After moving to ND, they were also able to also spend some time in a retirement village in Mesa, AZ, where Joan’s unceasing smile was an encouragement to many. Joan and Terry have been lovingly looked after by their many grandkids, while also welcoming great-grandkids. Joan’s final years were spent beside and cared for by her dear Terry, with many visits from family, near and far. Though having an appropriately Finnish demeanor demonstrating her “Sisu”, Joan also had a fun-loving side, which won her many life-long friends and delighted her family. She visited her wider family in her hometown of Ironwood regularly and made grandkids’ events a priority. Joan is remembered as compassionate, caring, thoughtful, smart, capable, beautiful, and incredibly humble. Being extremely loyal and supportive, she was exceptionally generous. Many people around the world were blessed by her thoughtful gifts. Joan’s memory would be greatly honored by memorials to the work of, which provides protection and opportunities for disabled Kenyan children and their mothers. “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” II Chronicles: 16:24

Arrangements- Haut Funeral Home, Jamestown, ND.