Joan Catherine (Wilson) Trefry


Joan Trefry

Joan Catherine (Wilson) Trefry was born February 29, 1928 in St. Paul, MN to Donald and Margaret (Cronin) Wilson.  The Wilsons moved to Marshall, MN where Joan enjoyed ice skating on the Redwood River and riding with her dad pheasant hunting.  The Wilsons settled in Faribault, MN.  Joan spent many summers with her Irish grandparents and cousins down on the farm near Rochester.   She and younger sister Barb also worked at the family’s grocery store in Faribault called Wilson’s Foodland.  Joan graduated from Bethlehem Academy High School with honors in 1946.  She attended College of St. Teresa in Winona, MN earning a bachelor degree in History and proceeded to the University of Minnesota earning her graduate degree in Educational Psychology.

Upon graduation, Joan taught History for five years in Redwood Falls, MN, and met Don Hayden Trefry.  After a one-year teaching stint in Bird Island, Don and Joan were married at Immaculate Conception Church in Faribault on July 1, 1957.  They resided at Don’s family home, where his mother Clara (Hanson) Trefry also lived in the upstairs apartment.  Joan took time off from teaching to raise a family and develop friendships in their West Side neighborhood.   She also volunteered time teaching religion at St. Catherine’s Church where all three of her kids were baptized and confirmed.

Don and Joan went into business in downtown Redwood Falls with the opening of the Golden Cue Billiards on May 8, 1964.  Together with great part-time help, they created a wholesome family atmosphere where children and adults from all backgrounds spent time shooting pool or simply conversing over a bottle of pop.  Both Don and Joan established a reputation for caring and nurturing kids and adults alike.

In 1971, Joan restarted her career at Lincoln High School as the Social Studies and English Resource Center Educator helping create a specialized curriculum learning center.  Joan also tutored many students needing help to reach graduation.  She was the District’s PER Report Executive Secretary, Chairperson for the Curriculum Advisory Committee, MCIS Program Site Manager, and member of the Redwood County Historical Society.  Joan also authored two district newsletters and was a member of the MN Public Relations Association.  She housed the school’s first computer and supported the move to the new school where Joan was the copy center coordinator till her retirement in 1996.

After selling the Golden Cue in 1984, Don and Joan enjoyed fishing, site seeing, and visiting with friends and relatives.  They traveled to destinations in and outside of the United States including a trip back to Joan’s beloved Ireland.  After Don’s passing in 1996, Grandma Joan continued volunteering as President of the Hospital Axillary.  She also enjoyed folding church bulletins with friends and was a devoted member of St. Catherine’s Prayer Chain.  She loved caring for her bird feeders and keeping everyone up on weather reports.  One of Joan’s proudest achievements was becoming a great-grandmother with the birth of Rowan Donald McClary, her “red-headed Irishman”.

Joan Catherine Trefry passed away surrounded by family and friends Thursday, February 20, 2014 at the Redwood Area Hospital in Redwood Falls, MN at the age of 85 years, 11 months, and 22 days.  Joan is survived in death by her sister Barb (Terry) Sarazin of Burnsville; three children Linda (Jeff) Schiller of Redwood Falls, Paul (Maureen) Trefry of Beverly, MA, and Mark Trefry of Redwood Falls; five grandchildren Jamie (Lee) McClary of Minnetonka, Megan (Brent) Henning of Waverly, Jared Schiller and special friend Ann Buboltz of Redwood Falls, Peter Trefry of Beverly, MA, and James Trefry of Mankato; one great-grandchild Rowan Donald McClary of Minnetonka; three nieces Margaret (Tim) Murphy of Inver Grove Heights, Sheila (John) Folkestad of Edina, Jean (Matt) Baron of St. Louis Park, who is also Joan’s godchild.  Joan was preceded in death by her father Donald Wilson, mother Margaret (Cronin) Wilson, and beloved husband Donald Hayden Trefry.


  1. Great boss at the Golden Cue with her “side kick” Don. Best job I ever had with two people who changed my life. Her love of teaching and children is very evident. Joan and Don impacted the community of Redwood Falls for decades. Many of us still play pool and I think they would be proud of that fact. RIP Joan!!!

    To Mark, Paul and Linda ~ you are in my thoughts and prayers. Please remember your mother with fondness and love. Her and Don are now holding hands and looking down on us. Be good 🙂

  2. Jim erickson says

    Mark, Paul, Linda, so sorry to here about your mother. Don and Joan had such a great influence on my life. I treasure those four years with them. Everyone had a lot of respect for your mother. I was glad to have such a great visit with mark recently where we talked a lot about your mother. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Jim and Chris Erickson.

  3. Mary Kaye Monahan says

    Linda and brothers. Condolences on your mother’s death. I remember your mother well during our elementary and high school years. My thoughts are with you.

  4. Linda, Mark and Paul, you have my deepest sympathies with the passing of your Mom. I remember her from the resource center in high school. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. My condolences to Joan’s family. I met Joan when I started teaching at RFHS and she ran the copy room. Boy did she ever run a tight and efficient operation, no budging in line when she was around. However, she was always a softy when you asked her how her fishing was going. She was a neat lady.

  6. Mary Ann Schemmel says

    Paul, Linda and Mark
    So sorry to hear of your moms passing. You guys were wonderful neighbors and friends. I treasure the memories that I have of your folks and our little neighborhood girls Christmas gatherings these past few years. Your mom was a special lady and is now with you dad in heaven. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.
    Mary Ann Schemmel

  7. Patty Amberg says

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time! You have our deepest sympathy.

  8. Cathy Stroud says

    Meg: Please accept my deepest sympathies in the loss of your grandmother. May the love and support from your friends and family provide comfort for you all.

  9. Darrel Barnes says

    Our condolences on the passing of your Mother, from all of the Barnes family! Many memiores growing up as the westside kid’s. I met Joan in the park with one of the Grand kids oneday had not seen each other in 30 odd yrs and pick up the conversation like it was yesterday, wonderful lady!

  10. Hershela Washington says


    So sorry to hear about the passing of your Grandma. Sounds like she lived a full live. I’m sure you have very fond memories. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  11. Sally & Gary Myrom says

    To Linda and Family: Sending you our heartfelt sympathy with the passing of your Mother/Grandmother. Thank goodness you are surrounded by family and friends to offer support and comfort. Know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Take care and let us know if there is anything we can do.

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