Our Mother Leah “Joyce” Hunter (nee Winder), passed away suddenly on April 22nd, 2023, at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon SK at 91 years. Mom was born in December 1931 near Paradise Hill SK. She was the eldest daughter of Clarence and Gladys Winder (nee Coolidge). In 1941, she moved with her family to a farm 4 miles west of Birch Hills, SK where her grandparents resided.
She attended grade school at the one-room rural Coolidge School then boarded in Birch Hills to attend high school. In 1951, she ventured to Coquitlam BC to complete the psychiatric nursing program at the Essondale Hospital. While studying nursing, living, and growing up in BC, she made many lifelong friends and then returned after graduation to work at a nursing home in Melfort, SK. She married Thomas Hunter in 1954 and they built a new farm together 6 miles west of Birch Hills near Fenton. In those early years life was not easy with no running water, electricity, or natural gas. Even so, with pride and determination, she raised 5 children, who became successful in life and work. The kids grew up with quiet assured love and were always given the opportunity at sports and extracurricular activities, and education was given a high priority.
In addition to helping with all aspects of the farm operation (crops, cows, chickens, pigs, ducks, and the like) she maintained huge gardens with an abundance of flowers from her greenhouse, loved to bake bread, pies, and make delicious desserts. She was especially pleased when her larder was filled with canned goods, hand-picked berries, and seasonal fruit. She not only raised a family and built the farm, but she also helped support her own parents in Birch Hills, SK. She was an accomplished self-taught seamstress, quilter, knitter, & upholsterer. She worked out of the farmhouse on everything from tractor seats, couches, and chairs to beautiful weddings, graduation dresses, and Christmas presents. As the children grew up, our wardrobes were almost entirely handmade and sewn by Mom with workmanship second to none. Her closets remain filled with leftover cloth, patterns, lace, and zippers from the many projects for families in the Birch Hills area and beyond. She also sold Avon, liquid embroidery, and worked every census and election. Mom and Dad loved to attend community dances, hosting card parties, and they had a special passion for curling. She also found time to sit on the Birch Hills Co-op board, was and active member of the Legion Auxiliary, and the United Church Women always supporting the community.
Mom and Dad moved off the farm and into Birch Hills, SK in 2011. Even with her declining eyesight, she maintained her gardening, flower beds, and canning activities. In the fall of 2022, they moved into assisted living in Saskatoon, SK.
Mom is survived by her husband Thomas; her children Darryl, Alynn, Garlin, & Trent; her grandchildren Chelle, Keir, Liam, Janae, Teya, Andrew, & Owen; her great-granddaughter Francis; her sister Lois; & her brother Arnold. Mom was predeceased by her daughter Roxanne in 2019. For Funeral viewing https://youtu.be/P6kSw5k4LoU
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made in Joyce’s memory to the Birch Hills Nursing Home. A Funeral Service will be held for Mom on Friday, April 28th, 2023, at the Christ Alone Lutheran Church at 2 PM in Birch Hills, SK. Condolences can be sent to the family on our website at www.mackenziechapel.ca. Arrangements in care of MacKenzie Chapel & Crematorium. Brian & Bev Stobbs, Mark Gyoerick – Mel Curle. 306.763.8488.