Joan Wilson, a longtime Kamloops resident who died earlier this year, left legacy gifts to the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation and the Kamloops YMCA-YWCA — in the form of $100,000 donations to each.
In 1953, Joan and husband Brian moved to Canada from England in search of a better life, settling in Kamloops, where they lived for more than 60 years. Brian worked in various businesses in the city, including in the meat department at the old Woodward’s department store downtown, where the BC Lottery Corporation headquarters is now located. Joan was a nurse and worked at Royal Inland Hospital before moving to public health, rising through the ranks to become head nurse of the health unit on the North Shore.
Joan estimated that in her career as a midwife in both England and Canada, she delivered more than 2,000 babies. She was also an experienced reflexologist, treating patients who were looking for alternative treatments. Joan was also an educator, teaching the community about public health issues.
Joan and Brian lived on a small ranch, raising horses, hiking, gardening, skiing and golfing.
“Joan Wilson was a longtime member, supporter, leader and general cheer leader for the Kamloops Y,” Kamloops YMCA-YWCA CEO Colin Reid said. “She lived a life where she contributed to individual and community health. Joan was a regular participant in Y activities and she was keen to share her thoughts about how the Y was serving the community and she was always willing to do her part. Her gift is a legacy that has come at just the right time and it is an example of her belief in being a steward for future generations.”
Brian died in 2016 and was greatly missed by Joan, but her life and work continued and she was actively involved with the RiverBend community in Brocklehurst as the blood pressure go-to-person and as the columnist for About Your Health in the Mainstream newsletter.
Joan was also a regular member of the aquafit classes at the Kamloops Y. Giving back was Joan’s way of showing her appreciation to the community. As she was quoted in the Mainstream: “I hope that our citizens never lose the special ‘thing’ that makes Canadians so loved throughout the world — so very special.”
Joan also was involved in the formation of two organizations: the Kamloops Y Women’s Emergency Shelter and Cottonwood Manor seniors housing. She also served as a volunteer and president of Seniors’ Outreach and the Kamloops Liaison Council for Seniors. Joan also worked with Safeway on the North Shore to create a seniors day, where seniors would get a cup of tea and cookies and help with their shopping. In recognition of her significant contributions to the community, Joan received a Special Community Contribution Certificate, signed and sealed by then-Kamloops’ MP Nelson Riis.
“Joan Wilson’s legacy gift is a wonderful donation,” RIH Foundation CEO Heidi Coleman said. “Through this gift, even though she is no longer with us, she has ensured that the community she cared so much about will continue to benefit from her generosity.”
Joan Wilson died on March 8 at the Marjorie Willoughby Snowden Memorial Hospice House. She was 90.