It is with the greatest sadness I announce my beautiful mom Joan has passed away, suddenly but peacefully, at her home in Winnipeg on Friday, December 11, 2020.
Joan has earned her angel wings and is now playing beautiful music & directing her choir from Heaven. Music was her life and sharing its beauty with others was her mission.
She is pre-deceased by her parents Eric & A. Patricia (Fisher), brother Eric, sister Judith & brother Martin.
Left to cherish her memory is her daughter Kim (Gerry), grandsons Tyler (Alana) & Riley; siblings Donald of St. Thomas ON, April James of Prince George BC, Gay Caswell (John) of Saskatoon SK, Warren (Doris) of Saskatoon SK, and Faith Wall (Phil) of Regina SK; her former husband, Wayne of Saskatoon SK; her “sisters”-in-law Betty of Regina SK, Bev, Flo & Vanna of Davidson, SK; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews and many, many friends.
Joan was born in Davidson SK and grew up in Girvin SK on the farm with her parents and 8 siblings. She met Wayne and married him in 1960. She was quickly recruited as a “Rider” wife in Regina and enjoyed that status while Wayne played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders for 12 years until his retirement in 1972.
Joan’s musical beginnings started at an early age and as a young mom & wife, she taught piano & music theory full-time privately to students and on while on staff at the Conservatory of Music in Regina until their move to Winnipeg in 1974.
Teaching piano privately continued in Winnipeg while she completed formal certification by obtaining her A. Mus. Diploma from the Western Board of Music. She then quickly found a home as Musical Director for Westwood Presbyterian Church, a role she enjoyed from 1974 to 1992. While performing her duties there, she broadened the music program by forming a youth choir (called SONRISE) for high school & university students and directed their performances at many senior citizen’s homes.
During the 80’s, Joan pursued a CGA designation and completed a 4th level standing while working at various places in a financial/administrative capacity including Great West Life, Dominion Dental Advisory Services, Stafford Dental Group & Canada Revenue Agency.
Her passion for music overruled her plans and Joan decided her career path would take a turn. She returned to school at the University of Winnipeg, completing her Bachelor of Arts (Music) and Bachelor of Education (Music, French) in 1992 and 1993 respectively.
She began the career she was born for, starting as a substitute teacher for several school divisions throughout Winnipeg. Term positions came quickly and she was able to teach music, band, choral, piano & French with temporary homes at St. Charles Academy, David Livingston School, Principal Sparling School, Ecole Belmont School & Grant Park Collegiate. During this time, a highlight was a 3- month term at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate where she trained all leads & chorus members in a highly successful production of the musical “Oliver”.
A permanent contract was awarded in 2000 at Ralph Brown School. Soon after, a position became available at Ecole Lansdowne School where she remained for 7 years. Her last teaching position was at Lord Nelson School until her retirement in 2011.
Joan’s passion for music paired with the opportunity to teach young people gave her much elation & fulfillment. The interactions she had with all her students over the years filled her heart and she spoke of the many happy memories often.
Joan’s final music home was at North Kildonan United Church where her role as Music Director and Choir Director spanned 25 years. Her “swan song” happened to take place at the church, shortly before her passing. She was playing for the weekly recorded virtual services because of the restrictions due to COVID. She loved being part of this church family, only complaining a little bit about the drive “up north” but looked forward to every minute with everyone. Her mission in this role gave her so much purpose & contentment – planning the music, practicing the music, playing the music, directing the choir (oh, how she loved her choir! but if you were going to miss choir practice, you’d better have a darn good reason!). Her daughter Kim, after moving back to Winnipeg 10 years ago, joined the choir and the congregation of NKUC. This was a blessing to both, mom & daughter, as many more wonderful memories came to be.
Joan will be remembered as a firecracker by some and a sweet little angel by others (or some combination of the two!) She was the rock for her daughter – always there with the most invaluable, sage advice – but also fun & funny and never missed out on pouring a glass of wine for the two to enjoy. She was caring & generous, always willing to give that much more when it came to playing at events, and always took pride in being reliable & responsible. Her “family”, blood relations or not, was the only thing that meant more to her than music.
Joan will be fondly remembered as one-of-a-kind and will be missed dearly by all. Rest in Peace.
A celebration of life will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to North Kildonan United Church, 174 Pentland Ave., Winnipeg MB R2G 2S3 or other charity of your choice.