It is with overwhelming sadness that the family of Joyce Fraser, share the news of her passing, on October 9, 2019, in her 91st year, at the Princeton General Hospital, surrounded by her loving family.
Joyce Helen Corbin was born on April 17, 1929 in Weyburn, Saskatchewan and remained there until her late teens. Joyce spent much of her early years in the company of her grandparents Nicolas and Michalina Halarwich. Her grandmother, a devout Catholic impressed upon her granddaughter the teachings of the bible and instilled in her a reverence for her church and religion. Although she grew up in the great depression, she was encouraged to help those less fortunate. After high school she was employed at the Hospital for the Mentally ill, an experience that ultimately in later years, changed her life and career path to be compassionate and of service to others. Joyce moved and worked in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Calgary, Alberta.
In 1950, Joyce made plans for a two-week vacation to Princeton, BC, to visit her Mother and step father, Helena and John Slager. Joyce’s plans changed when she got a job in Princeton and met Austin Fraser, a handsome man she had seen at church. Austin and Joyce were engaged 9 days after they first met and married three months later. A year later daughter Lynne arrived, followed by Kim, Cynthia, Gail, and Shannon. Sandi Uhrich came to stay a weekend in 1971 and moved in for two years, becoming daughter number six. Joyce and Austin worked hard while raising their family and thrived in their small beloved town of Princeton and found joy in every new addition of Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren. Tragedy struck the family when Shannon passed away suddenly at the age of 25.
Joyce worked at various stores in Princeton over the years and opened a Beauty Salon with a friend while the girls were teenagers. She later took a job at Scott’s Pharmacy until she felt the need to do something else with her life. Joyce was on vacation with Austin in his home Province of Nova Scotia one summer and while sitting in front of the Atlantic Ocean and thinking about her purpose in life, she made the decision to work to help others in need. While visiting a friend at the hospital soon after, she discovered that many seniors could not get rides to doctor appointments or the hospital for tests as many didn’t drive. That was the day that her career life changed and her service to others began. With a personal loan co-signed by Austin, Princeton and District Community Services Society was formed and grew with the help of many dedicated like minded people, her “Dream Team”, and a committed board, into a service that provided transportation to doctor’s appointments in Princeton and Penticton, meals on wheels, homemaking service, bed subsidy (shelter for runaway and apprehended children through the Ministry of Social Services contract), programs for adults with cognitive disabilities including housing and a day program that evolved into the Mini Chef Restaurant whereby the clients worked and learned to waitress and do other tasks associated with the restaurant business. New Beginnings, was created when the clients were aging and provided a day program for them with morning coffee and daily gratitude’s, exercise classes, cooking, painting, and trips to sight see out of town.
Joyce spent many years creating and fine tuning a plan for a sheltered housing complex for seniors who needed a place to live between home and extended care. Although this was the project that took the longest to see to fruition, it became the model for the entire province to follow. This outstanding addition to Princeton, Vermillion Court, is always filled to capacity providing seniors with a private apartment and two meals a day in the common dining room. Joyce worked until she was 73 years old as Administrator to Princeton and District Community Services Society.
When it looked as though Interior Health would close the Princeton General Hospital many years ago, Joyce organized a hearse and drove along with other locals to Interior Health’s Administration office in Kelowna with signs and a presentation of how people in Princeton and area, people in accidents on our highways, workers throughout the area, would die if the hospital was to close. The Princeton General Hospital is still open.
Along with husband Austin, she was a devoted member of St. Peter’s Parish in Princeton and the go-to person the family called on for prayers for family and friends. Joyce and Austin though struggling to raise their family sponsored and funded many young men in South America to become Catholic Priests.
Joyce and Austin Fraser were named Princeton Citizens of the Year in the 1990’s due to contributions they both made to the Community. Joyce’s many other achievements include:
- Acknowledgement by the Town of Princeton for “Outstanding Community Work.”
- Joyce was flown to Victoria by the Lieutenant Governor in 2012. And honored with a “BC Community Achievement Award” at Government House in the BC Capital.
- A “Diamond Jubilee” Medal from Queen Elizabeth in 2013
- In June 2019, the Province of British Columbia recognized Joyce with a “Medal of Good Citizenship” for her years of dedicated service to the Community of Princeton and surrounding area. The presenter stated at that ceremony that no other small town in BC has the services for its citizens that this area has, all because of Joyce Fraser. Only 57 people throughout the province have been awarded this medal.
Joyce was predeceased by her loving parents Helena and John Slager, beloved husband John Austin and daughter Shannon Isabelle, stepsiblings Delila and Dorothy. She is survived by daughters: Lynne (Terry), Kim (Doug), Cindy (Albie), Gail, Sandi (Earl), Grandchildren: Chelsea (Earl), Carmen (Ryan), Candice (Ryan), Jeffrey (Christine), Christopher, Travis (Bianca), Brett, Nicole (Brandon), Scott (Catrina). Great Grandchildren: Austin, Mason, Ryder, Sawyer, Mercedes, Thales, Cash, Johnathan, Betty, Jaxon, Peyton, Zoey, Nixon, and newly arrived Rosie Lynne. Brother Donald (Maryanne), sister-in-law Kaye, numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Joyce will be missed immensely by her family and a multitude of friends and colleague’s in community agencies and government from around the Province.
“Mom leaves behind a Legacy of Love, Kindness, and Service to the people of Princeton and area. She was an Amazing Woman, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Friend. A Warrior who surprised her family every day with her capacity to care about others, her vision of a better future for the challenged, disenfranchised, ailing, elderly, people with diverse disabilities, and the forgotten. Her life's mission was to be of Service, to Pray to her Father in Heaven for others, and to Fiercely Love her Husband, Family, and Friends. A bright light in our lives has left us. RIP Momma Joyce.”
A Funeral Mass will be held for Joyce at St. Peter's Parish, 43 Billiter Ave., Princeton, BC., on Saturday October 26th @ 11:00 am. Burial at the Princeton Cemetery. Followed by Refreshments and Celebration of a Life Well Lived at 1:15 pm at the Seniors Center, 162 Angela Ave., Princeton, BC.
In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations being made to the BC Cancer Foundation to support Leukemia Research. You can make your donation online @ bccancerfoundation.com/ways-donate/gift-memory or by mail to BC Cancer Foundation, #150-686 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC., V5Z 1G1 or call 1-888-906-2873
Condolences and tributes may be directed to the family by visiting www.providencefuneralhomes.com
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BC Cancer Foundation to support Leukemia Research
#150-686 West Broadway, Vancouver BC V5Z 1G1