It is with sadness and a great sense of loss that we announce the passing of our mother, and grandmother, Joan Mary Lawrence on September 8, 2020 at the age of 104. She has left many behind to mourn her, a tribute to how unique and special she was. Her age belied her quick and competent mind that remained acute until the very end.
Joan was born on December 13, 1915 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Her family moved to Alonsa, Manitoba when she was four and she attended school there and in Neepawa. She became a teacher and moved to Maple Creek, Saskatchewan in 1935 to teach at Smithfield School. That same year she married Russell Lawrence and moved to the ranch that would be her home for the next seventy two years. Together, they raised five children Elaine, Donna, Frances, Eric and Heather. The role of a rancher’s wife was one of long days and times of both hardship and joy. There was little time for rest and yet Joan managed within that time to assist with the war effort by banding with other women in the community to form a group called Wings that made quilts for the men heading overseas. She was the secretary for the Fish Creek Telephone Company in 1945 and spent sixteen years as the secretary for the newly established Sask Tel, in the sixties. She was a lifetime member of the Old Timer’s Association and was actively involved in St Mary’s Anglican church throughout her life, performing many roles. She also belonged to the Maple Creek Light Horse Association, the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, the Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association and the Jasper Heritage and Cultural Centre. She had many interests that she partook in through the years such as, knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, gardening, Thoroughbred racing and raising turkey and chickens.
Her greatest attribute in later years was her ability to act as a generous, kind and witty matriarch to an ever growing family of grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. She was an example of what the past can teach us and a reminder of what we should seek to become. We will miss her greatly.
Joan Mary Lawrence was predeceased by her husband Russell in 1983, an infant grandson Paul, in 1978, two son in laws in 1998, Bill and Roger, and her eldest daughter and oldest child, Elaine, in 2014. There were many others she lost along the way as someone of 104 years of age would come to know. But she accepted loss as she accepted life, with dignity and resolve. She led by example and is no doubt doing the same now. Caring for others, never lonely, never idle, never still.
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