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Obituary – Robert “Mike” Joens

Robert Michael “Mike” Joens, age 57, son of Robert Lewis Joens and Mary Evelyn (Owens) Joens was born March 3, 1964, in Frankfurt, Germany. He passed away on May 2, 2021, at Hog Creek Farms, Houston, Mo. After a courageous battle against colon, lung and brain cancer, he is being welcomed by his mom and other family and friends.

Mike is preceded in death by his mother. He is survived by his children, son, Michael Corey Joens of Athens, Ohio, and daughter, Crystal Jane Joens of Columbus, Ohio; his father, Bob Joens; sister, Angie Joens Gettys (Scott); brothers, Jon Joens (Cheryl) and David Joens (Tina); nephew, Jeff Gettys (Jessica); and niece, Jordyn Joens.

Places he lived: Frankfurt, Germany; Ft. Lewis, Wash.; Fredricktown; Potosi; Cass Lake, Minn.; Houston, Mo.; The Plains, Ohio; Ft. Leonard Wood; Camp Humphreys, South Korea; Ft Rucker, Ala.; Duluth, Minn.; Grand Rapids, Minn. Mike’s life started as an Army brat in Germany and ended in his declared hometown of Houston, Mo., with many stops in between crisscrossing the world; each stop he left a little piece of himself. Mike moved his sophomore year from Houston, Mo., to Athens, Ohio, where he graduated from high school. While in Athens he married Candy Gilden and had two children, Corey and Crystal. He later married Eva Knutson in Duluth, Minn. He was easy to love, some lasted, some didn’t.

As many of you know Mike had an adventurous soul. His hobbies included mountain biking, backcountry skiing, motorcycle scrambles, motorcycle ice racing, fishing, ultimate frisbee and riding his Harley Davidson.

Mike had a myriad of careers over his lifetime, including a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, Potlach papermill machinery operator, tile setter, meat cutter, tree planter, interagency wildland firefighter, hemp farmer, welder, electrician, potter and softball umpire.

He grew up with very humble beginnings and was able to help those around him learn a new skill or craft. He had a lifelong love of learning, he had a curiosity on how to use his hands to create both functional and crafted items, this would then translate to mastering a skill and then taking his knowledge to teach others such as pottery, basket weaving and home remodeling skills. After taking a ceramic class at Duluth Technical College, he found a therapeutic outlet for his creativity and created Swan Lakes Pottery.

In 2014, Mike was diagnosed with colon cancer and in the following years was diagnosed with lung cancer and brain tumors. With a fierce attitude to fight cancer, Mike was knocked down numerous times but always came up swinging. After a moment of self-reflection, he would decide to get back to treatments. With resilience and an inner strength that few possess, Mike continued with radiation, surgeries and chemotherapy right to the end.

Mike was easy to love, and good at the loving of others, which is evident in the many friendships he formed. He will be remembered by many in countless ways.

“As long as we remember a person, they’re not really gone. Their thoughts, their feelings, their memories, they become a part of us.”

Memorials are suggested to Texas County Hospice of Care or American Legion Post #41 in lieu of flowers. Online condolences may be sent to

Services were held Saturday, May 8, 2021, at 11 a.m. at Houston United Methodist Church with Rev. Roger Cary and Pastor Greg Berglund officiating. Burial with full Military Honors was in Pine Lawn Cemetery under the direction of Evans Funeral Home. Pallbearers were Rodney Neugebauer, Joe Stockard, Mike Ijames, Larry Kevin Miller, Kurt Owens, Jeff Gettys, Glen (Pete) Owens, Shawn Owens and Kenny Joe Owens.

1 Comment

  1. Pete Hermans on May 9, 2021 at 7:01 am

    You are a good friend and will be missed.

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