Obituary of Joyce Phillips
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Joyce Phillips, a long-time resident of Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Joyce passed peacefully on the morning of Tuesday, September 20th, 2022, at the age of 88 years, with family at her side.
Joyce was born on June 21,1934 to Hilda and Arthur Matthews, in a 16th century farmhouse in Pentyrch, Wales, UK. Joyce enjoyed a happy childhood growing up on the family farm, running about freely and exploring everything the farm had to offer. Tending to the farm animals was something she loved to do, and setting in motion her love of animals, especially cats!
During WW2 Joyce and her parents hosted evacuee children from London that were suffering and escaping from the bombing blitz. Always having a welcoming heart towards the children, Joyce made them feel at home on their farm and fostered a lifelong ability to speak to people and put them at ease. Many of the evacuee children remained long-time friends for many years after the war.
In 1954, one of her evacuee friends decided to take a road trip to Wales and visit the family, whilst bringing along a dashing young Englishman named John Phillips. That weekend Joyce and John met and started the beginning of their courtship, with weekly letters and trips back and forth between London and Pentyrch on the motorbike. Two years later they tied the knot on September 22, 1956. For their honeymoon Joyce and John toured all over Scotland, and thus began their shared love of motorbikes.
Another passion was her love of dancing! As a young lady Joyce would travel into Cardiff and go to the weekly dances with her friends. She loved to dress up in beautiful dancing gowns and heels and she loved to have fun! That tradition carried on after marrying John, where they could be found on the dance floor dancing the night away each weekend. One story she loved to tell was the evening they went out dancing and got to see Tom Jones live at their local hall. Joyce said to John, “that guy is going to hit it big one day and become famous”, she was so right! Joyce loved his upbeat music and was always so proud that he was from her neck of the woods in Wales!
Joyce always dreamed of having her own children one day, and on October 19,1960, their family of two turned into a family of three with the birth of their baby girl Linda. Only a mere 11 months later, they turned into a family of four with the arrival of their boy John Junior. What a busy time, but Joyce loved it! She stayed at home with the kids while they were young and tended to every need, keeping the household running smoothly and enjoying her new role as Mum; she never missed a beat!
While the kids were still young, Joyce and John made the big decision to immigrate to Dawson Creek, BC. Their fellow friends from the UK had told them about all the vast land with opportunities for a new life to be experienced! Curiosity peaked and with kids in tow, they made the long journey across the ocean, arriving in Canada in May of 1966. Although the cold winters were something to get accustomed to, Joyce and John went on to make Dawson Creek their permanent new home and quickly settled into a Canadian life. Joyce soon started work with the Social Services office and made it her career; loving her role, and the lifelong friendships she made over the almost 30years she worked there.
In January 1982 the first of the grandkids arrived with Vanessa, and Joyce took on the role of Grandma so proudly! Being Grandma was one of her biggest joys in life and she was thrilled with each additional grandchild. Not too much time passed, and she was blessed with three more grandkids, Jessica, Justin, and Kristin. In November 2000 her great grandkids started to arrive, first with Caleb, then Portia, Xander, Lukas and Elijah. All the grandchildren held a special bond with her in their own unique way and she loved them all unconditionally. Joyce and John took such pleasure in spoiling all of them as much as they could! You could always find them taking the grandkids to the Co-op on a Saturday morning to get donuts, enjoying the Fall Fair Days, and taking them out to Moberly Lake to enjoy camping in the 5th wheel, just to name a few! Joyce was so proud of her heritage and would take pride in telling the grandkids stories from the old country and passing along traditions she held dear to her heart.
Joyce loved to stay active and lived life to the fullest! When she wasn’t spending time with her family, she could be found at the Local Legion volunteering during special events, dancing with the Grooving Grannies Line Dancing Club, playing crib at the senior centre, taking painting and piano classes, and even learning belly dancing at the college! Her and John also loved to travel and got out to explore the world whenever they had the chance, including other areas of Canada, heading back to the UK, and experiencing Hong Kong. She did it all and enjoyed every second, making friends everywhere she went! In later years, Joyce became a member of the Red Hats Society, and treasured those outings with the fellow Red Hat ladies, as much as the extravagant hats she had collected!
After John’s passing in 2009, Joyce stayed active in the community and her love of animals grew even more. Everyone on Turgeon Drive would remember her as the beloved cat lady who could be seen walking her dog with a string of cats following behind! She was a strong advocate for animals and would do anything to help a stray whenever she could. It was part of her love for animals, and animals took to her too, as they would always recognize her compassion and kind nature.
As the years went by, Joyce faced some health challenges that made it harder for her to go out and socialize, but with her tight-knit neighbourhood and friends, she enjoyed her visits with tea and biscuits, and of course the occasional glass of wine! She remained happy to stay in her home as long as she could and that meant the world to her. With the help of many friends and family she stayed independent for as long as she could and was always grateful of the support she was given. As a family, that support and love from her friends and neighbours in Dawson Creek was always appreciated and never went unnoticed.
Joyce is survived by son John Jr. (Brenda), and grandchildren Vanessa (Brett), Jessica, Justin, Kristin (Mike), and great grandchildren Caleb, Portia, Xander, Lukas, & Elijah. Joyce was predeceased by her loving husband John (2009) and daughter Linda (2020).
Joyce will long be remembered for her strong and unbreakable love for her family and animals, her good humour, feistiness, and absolute zest for life! She made everyday count and could always put a smile on your face no matter the situation. In Joyce's words, “sit down, there is nothing that a strong cuppa tea can’t fix!”
For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Joyce to the SPCA (South Peace Branch), 11418 3rd Street, Dawson Creek, BC V1G 4L5, Canada
Very Respectfully, Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium