JOYCE DOROTHY TAYLOR
January 3, 1923 - February 22, 2022
After what she described as a wonderful life, Joyce Taylor (née Spooner) died peacefully at home at the age of 99. Always up for an adventure, and never one to pass up the opportunity to try something new, our Mum/Grandma/Nana, left this world surrounded by the love of her children and with the help of the compassionate MAiD team. She died feeling lucky, grateful, and loved, and we felt the same. She will be deeply missed.
Holding her in their hearts forever are her daughters Jill Taylor-Brown (Allen Brown), Jackie McGowan (Ross), her son Jay Taylor; her granddaughters Heather McGowan (Brett Geoffrey), Sara McGowan (Richard Bolton); her grandsons Ian McGowan (Petra), Michael Brown (Max Jiang Brown), Joshua Brown; her great grandchildren Emerson, Dawson, Landon, Jack, Maeve and William. Predeceased by her eldest daughter Janet Taylor (John Lyons) in 2014 and her husband of 72 years, Richard, in 2019. She is also survived by her nephews Jeremy and his son Frank of Belize, Andrew and his wife Penny of Ontario, the many Davey nephews and nieces, and Petchy cousins in Australia, nephew Paul (Jan) and niece Sara (Nigel) of England and Richard’s cousin Georgie and her family in Edmonton.
Joyce was born in Limehouse, in the east end of London, England. When she was just four years old her mother died of bronchial pneumonia and she and her younger brother Frank were raised by their father, grandmother, and aunts. Despite this tragic loss, Joyce was resilient and quickly became independent. She would tell us stories of her childhood: riding in the sidecar of her father’s motorcycle and having weekends with her grandmother and cousins who were “on the stage” and would teach her all kinds of acrobatic tricks. Joyce had an intolerance for anything sweet tasting all her life. Her father said that it was because she was so sweet already. She excelled academically and won scholarships to two different schools and often told us she chose the Raines School for Girls over the other because she thought their uniform was “cuter”. When Joyce was a teenager, her father married Lynn and she gained a stepsister, Yvonne.
Mum was 16 when WW II broke out and although her family home did not, she survived the steady seven-month bombings of The London Blitz. At the time, she was a teenager living with a roommate and when a bomb went off nearby, she told us they were more concerned about their undies that had been drying in the window being thrown to the street than fearing for their lives.
In 1947 she fell in love and married RAF officer Richard Taylor, and from then on it would be impossible to talk about one without the other. In 1949 they came to Canada with their one-year-old, Janet, leaving behind all their family and friends and setting off on the first of many adventures. Joyce recently reminisced with Richard’s cousin Georgie about being evacuated with her and her family to a farm in Saskatchewan with Janet during the 1950 flood. Within a year Jill arrived, then Jackie and five years later Jay - at last a son!
After raising their family in the Winnipeg neighbourhood of Riverview, they renovated an old farmhouse on the Whitemouth River near Hadashville and moved there full time in 1982. They embraced the idea of living off the land and had huge gardens. Mum learned to preserve, dry, and freeze their produce. They took up cross country skiing and Joyce knit, crocheted, and quilted in earnest. They walked for miles every day. The mosquitoes finally drove them to move to Victoria BC where they had 31 years of adventures on Vancouver Island. In 2018, they returned to Winnipeg to be closer to family and settled into The Wellington. Throughout the years they travelled the world and saw every continent, save Antarctica, often staying for an extended period in one place.
Mum was smart, beautiful, loving, talented and petite. With four children and no relatives nearby to help her, she managed to do all the things that need to be done to keep a busy home thriving. No one will ever make Yorkshire pudding as good as hers was. She sewed beautiful clothes for herself and her daughters and taught her girls to sew clothes for their dolls and eventually themselves. She was always stylish, and we felt we had the prettiest and smartest mum of all.
Joyce was part of the first graduating class of the Early Childhood Education program at what is now Red River Community College and so began her career as an Educator. She was the kindergarten teacher at Balmoral Hall from 1968 – 1982 and developed the first BH nursery school program.
Active all her life, Mum played badminton, tennis, hiked, and cycled well into her 80’s, and later took up tap dancing, lawn bowling and tai chi. She sang in choirs and belonged to drama, play reading, and book clubs. She was a “joiner” of whatever was going on and game to try just about anything. An avid bridge and scrabble player, her vocabulary was astounding, and she completed the daily crossword in the blink of an eye. She was a wizard at cryptic crosswords. Mum always liked having fun, whether it was showing us she could stand on her head and do cartwheels or juggling with her grandchildren. At 94 she quickly mastered using an iPad which became our lifeline to her.
Throughout her life Joyce made friends of all ages wherever she went. She had an instantly likeable spirit.
We cannot thank enough those who helped to provide care for her these past months: the CBI workers, especially Nada and Selina, the WRHA Home Care workers Joy, Erin, Marva and Josie, Lyn from Blossoms Senior Care and Claudia. Thank you to the MAiD team of Maegan, Rhonda, and Lindsay for your care, compassion and presence. We especially want to thank her family physician, Dr. Jason McElhoes, who did everything he could to try and make her more comfortable and provided unwavering support to her and us. We also want to thank Gail and all the staff and residents of The Wellington. Your kindness and patience as Mum’s health declined did not go unnoticed.
She loved yellow flowers. Remember her when you see one. She would love you to treat yourself to some in her memory or consider donating to CancerCare Manitoba or a charity of your choice.
A small celebration of life will take place at a later date. In the meantime, Joyce’s family kindly requests that all of her friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.
When she was in hospital for 5 weeks in 2019, and unable to be at home with Dad, he wrote her this short note. We think it says it all:
“Life is better when you’re here.”
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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