March 27, 1938 ~ September 21, 2021

Born in: Lake Lillian, MN
Resided in: Hendersonville, NC

Joan Bromme (nee’ Frederickson) was born on March 27, 1938 at Lake Lillian, Minnesota, to Elmer and Alvena Frederickson. She was born in the home of her uncle and aunt, Guy and Alice Frederickson, both of whom were physicians and teamed together to bring into this world the bright, bouncy ten pounder. She was the baby in the family, which already included her oldest sibling, Lorraine, 16 years her senior, and her brother, Ray, 13 years her senior. Her parents did not select a middle name for Joan when she was born, but at about the age of 11 she self-selected Doris as that name. At the time, Doris was a popular girl’s name, but as the years passed and other names eclipsed it, Joan was amused and not entirely pleased by her childhood choice.

Joan came from Scandinavian stock. Her father’s family, the Fredericksons, were not far removed from Denmark. Her grandmother, Anna Frederickson, had served as a secretary and translator for Ellen White on Mrs. White’s speaking tours in Denmark. Her mother’s family, the Braatens, were three generations removed from Norway. Her grandfather, Hans Braaten, was a blacksmith. Her father, Elmer, met his future bride while selling books as a colporteur in North Dakota. The Braaten family also were Seventh-day Adventists, and you can imagine their enthusiasm at the prospect of 17-year-old Alvena marrying the handsome, strapping Adventist colporteur. When Joan was a little girl, there were few Seventh-day Adventists in her part of Minnesota. The closest Adventist congregation was a 40-mile round trip at a time when fragile, rubber tires could easily blow out on bad roads, and, in the war years, gasoline was scarce. Most of the time, they worshipped at home, isolated in their faith.

The Fredericksons were of very modest circumstances, having suffered significantly in the Great Depression, but Joan had a happy childhood, growing up in the country, picking berries with her mother (a habit she sustained until her failing health made that too difficult), and longing as a little girl of someday becoming editor of My Little Friend magazine. As she played with her cherished pets, little Joan in the Minnesota woods dreamed of marrying a doctor, like her Uncle Guy, and having 12 children, with two doctor sons. She imagined a family with two cars, one of which would be driven by the older son, and the other by her doctor husband. As things turned out, she did marry a doctor, but a Doctor of Musical Arts, and she did have other doctors in her family, a son who is a Doctor of Jurisprudence and two sons-in-law, one of whom is a Doctor of Medicine and the other of whom is a Doctor of Ministry. So dreams can come true, though not always as we imagine.

She started school when she was seven. Her mom, whom Joan described as her “dearest friend and companion,” home schooled her that first year. She then attended a one-room, country school with 18 students. As she grew, she yearned for friendships with other Adventist young people, and her family was able to send her to Sheyenne River Academy in North Dakota for her senior year. She sold religious books door to door so that she could raise the money for her time at SRA. Joan adapted very quickly to her new academic environment, graduating in 1955 as the class salutatorian. That summer she continued her colporteuring work to earn money so that she could attend Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska where they “slinga da ink and pusha da pen along.” She learned the art of colporteuring from her sister, Lorraine, who by then was well on her way to a successful bookselling career. After Joan’s senior year of academy, she colporteured by herself in Fargo and Moorhead, North Dakota, and Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. She colporteured again the following summer after her freshman year at Union, and, then again, after her sophomore year. That sophomore summer she colporteured in Duluth, Minnesota with a friend. And in Duluth she attended the Adventist church, where she first met her future husband, Bill. He was a student at the University of Minnesota/Duluth, but that fall transferred to Union, where he majored in music, and he and Joan were on the same campus for the first time. They started dating, and fell in love, even as they experienced some challenges arising from Joan’s student nurse assignments at Hinsdale Hospital in Chicago, and Porter Hospital in Denver. Those assignments took her away from Union College for months at a time. But when Joan and Bill were together on campus, they would often go to a park, where they would lie on a blanket . . . dreaming of their future together and resolving to place Christ at the center of their home. Just a few months after Joan graduated from Union with her B.S. in Nursing and Bill with his B.S. in Music, they were married in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota on August 16, 1959. Some of their love letters from that time survive, and, among other things, they show Joan’s practical side. She did not subscribe to the theory that “all you need is love.” In one of her letters, this one written just three weeks before their wedding, she gently asks Bill, “Do you know what we will do for a car for our honeymoon?” Elsewhere in that same letter she lavishly compliments Bill for writing a song to be sung at their wedding and then asks, very diplomatically, “When are we going to get the music to the singers and who will sing what? . . . I do think all of our singers should have their music soon, so they can practice, don’t you?” She signed that letter, “Your girl forever and a day.” That fall, they launched a career in denominational service that lasted more than 50 years. Their first assignment was at Enterprise Academy in Kansas, not far from Abilene, where their first child, Jeff, was born 1960, and their second child, Shayne, was born in 1962. While living in Kansas, Joan worked as a nurse at the local hospital, area nursing homes, while also serving as the academy school nurse. Five years later, in 1964, the Bromme family moved to Campion Academy in Loveland, Colorado, where Joan continued her school nursing career, while juggling her life’s work as mother, and Bill continued teaching music and mathematics. Two years later, in 1966, the family moved to Keene, Texas, where the couple continued their nursing and music careers at what is now Southwestern Adventist University. Joan served for many years as the university’s school nurse, caring for hundreds of students who learned to love not only her medical treatment, but also the mothering that she gave them. She gained deep and lasting friendships in this phase of their life. She also worked part time at the local nursing home.

In 1967, Joan became a mother for the third time, when Ginger was born. The Keene years for Joan supplied volumes of her memories — memories of her children growing and of her nursing career evolving into a home health work phase, first as a visiting nurse and then in various administrative capacities. She led her children through their grade school, academy and college experiences in Keene and took an active part in the life of the schools they attended in that community. She led Sabbath School departments at the church.

The family had many adventures in those years, as Bill and Joan led their kids on long camping treks in the summer all over America and into Canada. They spent time at all the great National Parks, the baseball Hall of Fame, the stirring sights in Washington DC and many other interesting and beautiful places. During the school year, it was not unusual to find the family camper parked at nearby Cleburne State Park, where they often were joined by other dear friends. They led their kids on regular trips back to Minnesota to visit the family roots there on both the Frederickson and Bromme sides. On those long road trips, they would spend the night in Nebraska with Lorraine and her family, visiting once again the Union College campus and the scenes of their earlier life together. On one memorable family trip, their dog, Sparky, gave birth to her puppies in the back seat, while the children gazed in amazement and Bill and Joan powered on down the highway! One of the more unexpected experiences that Joan gave her kids was leading them in a decade-long project delivering the Cleburne Times-Review. Joan drove the car from which the children hurled the papers. Jeff remembers his mother hurtling down gravel roads, kicking up a storm of dust from the white caliche roads and once telling her “Mom, I feel like I am in the Grand Prix.” She replied without missing a beat, “When you ride with me, it is called the Grand Pray!” Joan was never afraid of hard work, and she taught her children the importance and necessity of pulling their own weight, earning their keep, and carrying on through obstacles. She often credited her own mother for teaching her those same lessons.

In 1984, Joan and Bill returned to Enterprise Academy for two years and then accepted a call to Highland View Academy, where Bill taught music and mathematics, and Joan began a long career at Adventist Healthcare. She “retired” in 1999 . . . and then kept working on a part-time basis for Adventist Healthcare for another 20 years! There are many happy memories from the Highland View years as well. Their home was nestled in beautiful woods near the academy campus. Not long after their move, Jeff started his legal career in Washington DC, and a few years later married Nichole. Then Jeff and Ginger relocated to central Virginia, and Shayne and Rick moved to Maryland. Grandchildren followed: Max, Juliet, Andrew, Kari, Nathan, Nicholas, and Leif. Once again, the family members all were living close enough that they could enjoy many good times together. These included camp meeting campouts, baseball games, picnics, July 4 DC celebrations, family birthdays, worship, and other joyful times. Joan and Bill made new friends at HVA and Adventist Healthcare, and these enriched their lives. Some of those friendships sustain them to the present day.

When Bill and Joan left fulltime service, their dream was to select the perfect retirement home. For Joan, this meant being on a lake. For Bill, this meant being close enough to drive to the Kennedy Center in Washington, so that he could continue to enjoy the concerts there. They settled on Lake Louisa in central Virginia, where Joan had a close friend living just across the water. Their great gift to the family at Lake Louisa was a pontoon boat, which spent many happy hours towing terrified and, then, laughing grandchildren around the lake on a big tube as they screamed with joy. That big lake house was also the place from which Joan led her troop of grandkids up the street to build sandcastles on the beach and then, back in the kitchen, delighted them by teaching the fine art of making chocolates . . . and eating them! The lake house was far larger than Joan and Bill needed for themselves, but just the right size when packed with all their kids and grandchildren. Joan quickly settled into leadership roles in the little Orange SDA church – women’s ministries, Sabbath School leader, potluck arranger and general friend. Bill led out in music and Sabbath School.

A life sketch can only touch on a few aspects of a person’s journey, but even a brief overview would be incomplete without mention of Joan’s business forays and hobbies. She had strong entrepreneurial instincts and at one time started and owned Quality Fabrics, a fabric and sewing center in Keene. She sold various products at different times in her life, including (she specifically directed that we mention) Bra Fantastic! With these earnings, she was able to supplement the family budget. She loved pretty things and delighted in cake making (singlehandedly making all the cheesecakes served at Jeff and Ginger’s wedding and Shayne and Rick’s wedding), sewing (supplying her kids with clothes, including some delightful double-knit leisure suits for Jeff and Bill and matching family t-shirts for camping trips), doll making, flower arranging, decoupage, cooking, macrame’, and china painting. Her mother was a champion gardener, and Joan inherited her vegetable-growing gift, delighting in the fresh produce gathered at their homes in Texas, Maryland, Virginia and, more recently, North Carolina.

Two years ago, Joan and Bill decided it was time to downsize and they left Lake Louisa for a beautiful Villa at Fletcher Park Inn. Joan lovingly decorated it, and the family looked forward to many more happy times here. But those times have been cut short by Joan’s very rare and ultimately fatal blood disease, which reminds us that we live in an imperfect world and makes us long ever more for our eternal home. Joan will be laid to rest in Patty Chapel Cemetery situated in a picturesque country meadow just five minutes from their Villa. There she will await the call of her Creator, whom she loved and served so faithfully. We will have much to remember and give thanks for about Joan as the years pass. Her husband, three children, seven grandchildren, extended family and many friends will never forget her. But if we were to somehow forget everything else, what would never be lost is the memory of her steadfast faith – the pages of transcribed Bible promises that she prepared while suffering through the last months of her life, the underlined and shared spiritual books, her encouraging, Spirit-filled texts to her kids and grandkids, her love for the message of gospel music, her Godly example, her commitment to Christ and the strong desire that her faith carry on to her children and grandchildren.

Joan requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be directed to the following charities: Four Seasons Hospice,, Adventist World Radio, or ADRA International,

Joan’s service will be livestreamed through Groce Funeral Home’s Facebook live feed at


For those who wish to pay their respects: September 25, 2021 3:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704


Funeral Service: September 25, 2021 4:00 pm

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704



Patty's Chapel Cemetery
Patty's Chapel Road
Fletcher, NC 28732

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  1. My thoughts and prayers are for you all as you mourn the loss of your dear wife, mother, grandmother, and friend! May you find comfort in the many pleasant memories, and in the assurance that she will rise again in the first resurrection!

  2. So sorry to hear of Joan losing her battle with cancer yesterday. I am so glad to have had the pleasure of working with her for so many years at Adventist Home Health where she led our Quality Inprovement efforts for many years. Her dedication, sense of fun, and her creativity were just a few the qualities she had. On year after a survey by the Joint Commission she wrote a poem about their visit which made us roar with laughter. We had no idea she was such a poet! I visited her at Lake Louisawhere she prepared a fabulous breakfast and went furniture shopping with me at Greenfront. She actually spotted my sofa before I did. What a terrific lady! I look forward to her greeting her family, friends and her Lord and Saviour on that Great Day. I know Jesus will
    tell her “Well done My good and faithful servant!” Love and Blessings to Bill, Jeff, Shayne, and Ginger and the WHOLE family. May God give you His Peace and Comfort
    at this difficult time. Sharon Ford

  3. Our prayers and thoughts are with Dr. Bromme and the whole family. Joan always made the Orange Church a special place with her lovely smile, dedication to Women’s Ministry, health programs, wonderful hospitality and so much more. Her genuine love for Jesus could be seen by all.

    May the peace and hope of the resurrection provide comfort during this difficult time.

    The Orange Seventh-day Adventist Church

  4. Joan you were such an inspirational leader of our group of nurses. I will miss you very much, you were such a good friend. I love you and will see you in heaven.


  5. There are people that just seem to make the world so much better as they pass through. Joanne was such a person.

    Ever since I met the Bromme family at the little Orange Church in VA, they have been special people to this family from the Sabbath Vespers we used to have around the lake to the Church social where she was always the first to arrive with a car-load of chairs and tables. Lots of fun to know and be around this lady, and a women that was looking for a better life to come. Now, she awaits that life—and while she waits, we will miss you, Joanne.

    Peters Family

  6. A pillar of faith and grace, Joan was always a guiding light for our nursing class. She will be be missed very much. We love you. Til we meet again.

  7. I signed in previously but will again. Joan was such a joy to be around and was an inspirational leader of our nursing class as we continued to be good friends through the years. I will miss her and her laughter. Rest in Peace.

  8. Joan, the inimitable, shining, perfect example of God’s Love as it translates as a Christian Woman and a Christian life. Joan and Bill’s influence and example opened the transformation of many lives as they, together, showered and infused Love on everyone that came within their sphere, whether physically and/or spiritually. You can never be missed, my friend, because you so completely inbued me with the Love you radiated to me. You and Bill live every day and forever in my heart in the Love and Life you so generously shared with me. I am so Blessed for the privilege I had to get to know you in this life.


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