Music 32

Joan Phillips

September 3, 1929 ~ June 18, 2022 (age 92)

Obituary

Joan Mary (Northcott) Phillips died June 18th in Salmon Arm, at Andover Terrace, surrounded by her four adoring daughters. She leaves behind many loved and loving family members and friends.

Joan Northcott was born in Vernon in 1929, the youngest of four children raised on a fruit farm in the Coldstream. She inherited a love of family, as well as the qualities of practicality and thrift from her British/Scottish-born parents, Sidney Herbert Northcott and Lucy Bracewell, who also made sure Joan’s talent for music was nurtured from an early age. They invested in vocal lessons and a piano for her to play, despite their economic struggle as fruit farmers during the Great Depression. Joan remembered her childhood as a golden time, riding her bike to Cousins Bay on Kalamalka Lake to swim, building apple box forts with her friend, Faith, and riding the farm horse through the orchards. She was an active member of the Girl Guides, becoming a leader and learning many songs she later taught to her children on family driving trips.  These car journeys were noted for tomato sandwiches built on her lap whilst instructing her noisy little girls in the back seat in 4-part harmony – all of which was designed to keep our dad focused on the road but ultimately became our most valuable singing lessons. Girl Guide tunes have run through our lives ever since.

At age 18, Joan moved to Victoria to train as a registered nurse at Royal Jubilee Hospital, later working as head nurse on the surgical ward in Vernon. In 1951, Joan and two friends boarded the ocean liner Andrea Doria in New York and embarked on a bicycling adventure through post-war Europe, travelling from Rome to Amsterdam, stopping to work as nurses in London, England, and in Montreal on the way home. During her time in England, Joan enjoyed attending lectures, concerts, plays and events, including the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.

After returning to Vernon, Joan met the love of her life, Archibald (Archie) McEachern Phillips, at a riding club dance. After a year-long letter-writing courtship and a proposal in a gravel pit  on Vancouver Island, they married in December of 1956, and moved to Kamloops, where Archie taught high school and Joan nursed at Royal Inland Hospital. They had four daughters within five years – Maureen, Wendy, Susan and Debbie, and Joan embraced motherhood with the same delight with which she approached all her life experiences.

Joan was an active member of the music communities in which she lived. She completed her ARCT while raising four rambunctious daughters and became a registered music teacher in Kamloops, teaching singing lessons out of her home for many years. Her powerful soprano voice inspired choir members, her own vocal students, and many audiences in Vernon, Kamloops, the North Shuswap, and Salmon Arm. As a much-loved choir member and leader in all of these communities, she directed the United Church Youth choir, Kamloops Community Choir and Happy Choristers during her years in Kamloops. After she and Archie retired to the North Shuswap, Joan directed several years of the famous “Pig & Whistle” at Anglemont. Following their move to Salmon Arm in 2007, Joan joined the Shuswap Singers and the “Revellers,” directed by her dear friend, Bert Revel. She imparted her love of music to the many students she taught over the years, as well as to her own children and grandchildren, most of whom are involved musically in their own communities.

Joan was physically active her whole life; in earlier years an avid horse-back rider, hiker, badminton player and swimmer; in later years swimming solo across Shuswap Lake while Archie followed in the canoe. That accomplishment was a testament to her tenacity in dealing with numerous physical challenges, which she faced throughout the last half of her life. She suffered setbacks from multiple surgeries and permanent disability which made walking difficult in later years, but Mom was an expert at recovery. She usually always saw the “glass half full”, and when it was empty, she recycled. In the midst of her suffering, she had a bright side which splashed out onto all who stood nearby.  Indeed, her sense of humour and determination carried her through many dark times, keeping everyone laughing and optimistic.  She had a hilarious penchant for mixing her metaphors, such as: 

“I see a carrot dangling at the end of the tunnel!”, and

“It’s like pulling hen’s teeth!” and

“It’s as easy as falling off a piece of cake!”

And her famous Shakespeare quote: “Archie! Go! Bind up yon dangling apricots!” when encouraging our dad to do yard-work.

Joan threw herself with joy into whatever she did. She loved nature and the outdoors, and liked nothing better than a shivery picnic in the shade of a giant cedar tree, singing in harmony with her daughters. Joan also loved people. She could chat with strangers and come away friends, no matter where she was. Her gift for happiness made the world a better place for those around her.

When Joan and Archie moved from the north Shuswap to their Parkhaven home in Salmon Arm, Joan became the secretary of her neighbourhood strata, a position she held for the next ten years. According to her close friend and neighbour, Jean, she demonstrated thoughtfulness, kindness and good counsel in that position, as well as always being hospitable and engaging in interesting conversations on a wide variety of topics. “The kettle was filled, the water boiled, tea made, and the conversation flowed. Joan was a gift to our community.”

Joan was predeceased by her husband, Archie, in 2014. She is survived by her four daughters - Maureen (Ted), Wendy (Ted), Susan (Ralph), and Debbie (Al), plus nine grandchildren – Jacob (Crystal), Noah (Chelsey), James (Alexa-Rae), Lucy, Jeremy (Breann), Aurora, Hannah, Rachel and Teslyn.

We would like to thank the wonderful staff of Andover Terrace, whose kindness and exceptional care in her last eleven months will not be forgotten.

A celebration of life will be held at the 5th Avenue Senior’s Centre on Sunday, July 17th, at 3 pm, followed by refreshments. The community is welcome.

 

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


Services

Celebration of Life
Sunday
July 17, 2022

3:00 PM
5th Avenue Senior's Centre
170 5th Ave SE
Salmon Arm, BC V1E 2B9
Guaranteed delivery before the Celebration of Life begins

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