May 25, 1942 – March 24, 2022
Joan Wickett passed away at the Westview South Extended Care Unit on March 24, 2022, with family by her side after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
A beloved wife, mother, aunt, friend, and grandma, Joan will be missed by many. She is survived by her husband Dr. Richard (Rick) Wickett, three children Ross, Rebecca (Mike), and Norman (Krissa) and 4 grandchildren Issie, Sara, Ingrid and Frankie as well as her sisters-in-law Robin, Peg, and Laurel, and her brothers-in-law Bill, and Brian, and many nieces and nephews.
Joan was predeceased by her mother, Margaret Michie, a respected teacher and librarian in Penticton, and her father Stanley Michie. Joan and her father never met; he was killed in battle just five days after the D-Day invasion in 1944. Seventy years later, in 2014, she was able to visit his grave in Normandy and reflect proudly on his sacrifice.
Born in Brandon, Manitoba, Joan and her mother moved to Penticton in 1950. She graduated from high school as Miss Pen High in 1960, and it was at Pen High that she met Rick, who was scandalously a grade behind her. After grade 13 (grade 12 for Rick), the high school sweethearts traveled to the big city, where she completed her Registered Nurse training from Vancouver General Hospital while Rick attended UBC.
Afterwards she worked on the neurosurgical units at both VGH and in Salt Lake City, Utah (helping foot the bill for her husband’s medical schooling). Along the way, and in the years that came after, Joan met and kept lifelong friends, including Judy, Angie and Dave, Marilyn and Ken, Janyce and Chris, Ana Maria and Walter, and Len and Diane in Auckland.
Raised by a single mother, with help from her grandfathers Mac and Norman as well as her aunt Dorothy (Dot), Joan deeply felt the importance of family, particularly as Rick and Joan started their own. After Ross was born in Vancouver, they moved back to Penticton, where Joan paused her nursing career to focus her energies and put enormous effort into raising Ross, Rebecca, and Norm. She had learned to play piano while growing up in Penticton, starting a life-long love of music, and she imparted this love to her children in many ways, including frequent and spirited radio singalongs in the car. She was devoted to the kids, often saying (and showing) that sitting down and playing with the kids was a far greater priority than the dirty dishes in the sink. Knowing her children so well, she took care to provide valuable wisdom as they went through life (Ross even passes her procrastination tips along to his students as “The Gospel According to Joan).
As the kids aged, Joan returned to nursing, but this time providing much-needed in-home care to elderly patients throughout the South Okanagan.
Grandma Joan was a trailblazer in healthy eating, making homemade yogurt and granola long before it was trendy. She was known for saying, “if you finish all of your dessert, you can have your main course.” Fresh food from her carefully tended garden was the ultimate treat, and she had no time for kids who (allegedly!) threw their green beans out the window when they thought she wasn’t looking. But Joan’s hobbies ranged far beyond the nutritional. She was a beautiful skier, and loved entertaining family and friends at the Apex cabin, sometimes serenading them with a song (perhaps after a glass or two of wine) on the piano.
She was also talented with a needle and thread, and loved to make clothes (and the occasional tutu) for her kids and grandchildren. Lucky to be in Penticton, she loved all things water – swimming, snorkeling, sailing, and especially fishing (and an after-fishing glass of wine or two) at Pennask Lake.
Sometimes the “fishing” was relaxing in the boat and reading a good book. Joan may have been a small-town girl, but she was drawn to big-city style; she was even (allegedly!) wearing leather pants the first time she met her daughter-in-law. With leather pants comes a sense of adventure, and this was not lost on Joan.
Among many travels, big family camping trips, canoeing in remote areas of BC, conferences in Egypt, and volunteer work in Guatemala all helped cultivate and reinforce a strong sense of value in seeing the world. Joan encouraged her kids to travel far and wide – and they did! She was so happy to follow them as they dispersed across the globe, from Montreal, to Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Colorado, Chicago, and even Hokitika, New Zealand.
Joan loved being around her friends and family, sharing in their jokes and laughter, her love for a good meal, and her love of music. Even through the progression of Alzheimer’s, these strong connections persisted and enriched her life.
There will be no public service; rather, a small private gathering of family and close friends at a later date. The family wishes to thank her family and friends for their help in caring for Joan in her long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Special thanks to the Extended Care Unit at Westview South and Dr. Jamie Johnston for their compassionate care over the past several years.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada would be appreciated.
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