M. Joan Parent - 90
December 30, 1922-October 4, 2013
M. Joan Parent, age 90, of Foley died Friday, October 4, 2013 at the St. Cloud Hospital.
Memorial Services will be at a later date. Arrangements were made by the Foley Funeral Home.
Joan Parent was born December 30, 1922 in Toronto, Canada to Samuel and Winnifred (Arnett) Gurofsky. Joan described herself as more of an athlete than a scholar, participating in swimming (competitive and synchronized), field hockey and ice hockey. Despite her disclaimer, Joan was advanced several grades during her secondary years and she attended the Ontario Veterinary College at Guelph where she was granted the degree of DVM in 1945. After graduation, she married her classmate, Murray Xavier Parent and they moved back to his hometown of Foley, Minnesota where they joined his father, Joseph Xavier Parent, in the practice of veterinary medicine. She passed the Minnesota licensing exam in 1946, becoming the first woman licensed veterinarian in the state of Minnesota. She became a naturalized citizen in 1952 because she said she could not live in a country that she could not fully participate in as a citizen. In 1957, she was elected to the school board in Foley where she served for thirty years. She was elected to the Minnesota School Boards Association Board of Directors in 1971, serving in all officer positions, culminating in president in 1978. During that time, she also served on the Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors, where she was elected as the president; the first woman in the country to serve as the head of a state athletic association organization. She was a strong proponent of the effective implementation of Title IX, giving opportunities to girls and women to equally participate in sports. Joan was elected to the Board of Directors of the National School Boards Association in 1977, again serving in all officer positions culminating in the presidency in 1983. In 1986, Joan was asked to join the gubernatorial campaign of James Lindau as his running mate. They lost in the primary.
She is survived by her son, Samuel Xavier (Barb) of Winona and daughter, Joellen Johnson of Shoreview, grandchildren; Kelly (Chris), Sean (Kim), Brett (Giovanna), Nate, Blair (Claire) and Murray (Erica); and great grandchildren Kiana, Kiersten, Emilie, Elysia, Cooper, Charlotte, and Mary Pearl; and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Dorothy Bennett of Toronto; her husband Murray, and sons Sean and Seth.