Joyce was born January 5, 1933 in a birthing home in Crossfield, Alberta, the fifth child of seven, to parents Jim and Lyla Robertson of Dogpound, Alberta. Joyce grew up on the family farm near Dogpound. The Robertson kids and their cousins, the Williamsons, were pretty well raised together after Joyce’s Aunt Kathleen passed away. Joyce started school at the Dogpound School, spent a year boarding in Crossfield for school there and then a year at Red Deer Composite. The Robertson’s rode or took a buggy to school at Dogpound. Joyce fondly remembered riding her horse Pepper to school.
Joyce married Mac Leask November 5, 1951 and they started married life at the Leask place near Madden, Alberta before buying the Harry Jones place on the Lochend Road and moving there. Mac and Joyce had four children Terry, Mac, George and John. In 1966 Mac, Joyce and family bought and moved to the Clarke place west of Bottrell, Alberta. The Dogpound Creek flowed through the ranch and Mac, Joyce and the kids loved to fish the Dogpound for brook and brown trout. Many summer days were spent with the whole family fishing on the Dogpound Creek. Joyce always saved and froze some trout to fry on Christmas morning.
Mac was a rodeo cowboy and supporter so Joyce and the family spent many summer weekends on the FCA rodeo trail in central Alberta. The boys all rodeoed too and Joyce was very proud of them all. A big part of amateur rodeo was the social life in the evening with the campfires and comradery. It was at these evening campfires that Joyce became known as a squaw wrestler of some notoriety.
Son John was killed in a tragic car accident May 2, 1976 which dealt Joyce a devastating blow. John was a good hockey player and had spent some time with the Calgary Canuck junior hockey club and Joyce was very proud of this.
Husband Mac died suddenly after a stroke on May 25, 1979 and suddenly Joyce was a lady rancher. Sons Mac and George helped Joyce out on the ranch and often Joyce could be found out farming or haying or fencing. Joyce also worked at the Grand Saddlery store in Cochrane for a few years to help pay the bills on the ranch.
In 1995 Joyce sold the ranch at Cochrane and followed Mac and Jackie north to the Dawson Creek country and bought some land next to Mac and Jackie. Joyce ranched together with Mac and Jackie until 2013 when she sold her land to Mac and Jackie and stayed on in her home until she moved in to Dawson Creek in 2017. Joyce loved to golf and bowl for the first few years of retirement and then just settled for the bowling. Joyce loved her bowling and always would give you an update on her average after every game.
Joyce travelled some, but for the most part enjoyed just staying home. Joyce travelled to Scotland with sister-in-law Kay Leask and niece Vicky Sharp. Joyce also went on a trip to the Maritimes with good friend Janet Bardgett.
Joyce’s first love though was her grandchildren. She played a big part in the lives of the grandkids when they were young and she remained a big part when they became adults. Granddaughter Katie talked to Joyce on nearly a daily basis and we always knew what Katie and her kids were doing.
Joyce was a member of the Cochrane art club as well as the art club in Dawson Creek. Joyce was a gifted artist and has many paintings hanging in homes around the country.
Joyce was not one to sit around in retirement. She loved to get in her vehicle and go for a drive – often. She had her friends she liked to go visit and she did so on a regular basis. She always had her Canadian flag on the antenna of her vehicle and everybody knew her vehicle by the flag. Joyce was always worried around her birthday time the last few years about keeping her drivers license, but she always managed to convince the Doctor that she was still capable of driving. Being able to drive is what kept her going even though it made the rest of the family a little nervous at times. She always said that “if they take my drivers license away you had just as well take me out and shoot me” and thank goodness we never had to do that.
Joyce was predeceased by her parents Lyla and Jim, son John and husband Mac, brothers Loy and Leon and granddaughter Paisley.
Joyce is survived by brothers and sisters Romelda, Larry (Florence), Jack and Gloria; children Terry, Mac (Jackie) and George (Shannon); grandchildren Lonnie, Jack, Mac Jr. and Marty, Jodee, Katie and Logan; great-grandchildren Felix, Nova and Freya, Macy and Sage, Easton, Wacy, Ryatt and Teytan, Brodee, Tayte, Cowyn and Irelynn, Austin, Rylee, Kinsley and Hadley.
Joyce fell and broke her hip May16 and had surgery to repair it the following day. Joyce passed away peacefully from complications from pneumonia May 22, 2021.
She will be sadly missed by all that knew her.
No service will be held at this time. For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Joyce to the Senior Citizens Hall, 1101 McKellar Avenue, Dawson Creek, British Columbia, V1G 2S2.
Very Respectfully, Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium.