On January 18, 1926, Joyce Yvonne (Persall) Blacklaws was born in the St. Paul’s hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. When she was six weeks old she came to Tisdale with her mother Joyce Lorraine Persall. Joyce Sr. found employment as a housekeeper for James Blacklaws, a farmer and WWI veteran. Two years later James and Joyce Sr. were married.
From the time she was about 8 years old Joyce could remember helping her mother with new additions to the family. Over the course of the next 16 years, Joyce’s family grew by six half-brothers: Robert, Douglas, George, Roy, Lyndon and Gordon, and two half-sisters: Anne and Kathleen. Years later the family found two older siblings, Joyce Anita and Frank, both of whom were born before Joyce Yvonne was adopted. In addition to helping her mother with the younger children, Joyce was enrolled in a Girl’s Home Craft Club, a gift from her mother for her tenth birthday. There she learned to make baking powder biscuits, muffins, chocolate cake, and many other tasty treats. She also learned to do handcrafts like knitting, embroidering, sewing and crocheting. In the summer Joyce attended a garden club, learning to grow vegetables, make pickled beans, grow and process cabbage, make casseroles, and even learning how to make the perfect white sauce.
A humorous incident occurred when Joyce was involved in a project raising chickens. The members received baby chicks and had to raise them until they were mature enough to butcher and process. Joyce purposely missed the lesson on how to kill a chicken and for the rest of her life she tactfully avoided that very chore. She found everything she learned in these clubs valuable and it helped her with all the various jobs involved with housekeeping and later on in married life.
As a teenager Joyce enjoyed listening to gospel programs on the radio. If she was able to go into Tisdale on Saturday nights (the stores were open until 10 pm in those days) she also really enjoyed listening to the Salvation Army play and sing hymns on the street corner. Joyce attended Caribou School for 10 years and then Arpsville School for grade 11. At Easter of that year however, she left school to lend a hand at home after her mother had a baby girl in January. This was during WWII and help was hard to find. She stayed at home for the next 3 years until she met a special man named John McEwan.
Although John knew who Joyce was, it took him 3 months to muster the courage to ask her out. They attended many Saturday night dances in the Legion Hall. John was quite smitten and after one of those dances, told his mother “I’ve met the girl I’m going to marry”. John and Joyce eloped on March 9, 1946, marrying in Saskatoon. They farmed 3 quarters of land and in 1958 John became a Diesel Technician. Joyce was a stay at home mom to their 8 children. Joyce and John enjoyed the family’s milestones of school functions, graduations, weddings and births of grandchildren and great grandchildren. One milestone for Joyce was in January of 1961. At the end of a week of special services with Evangelist Ken Bombay at the Tisdale Pentecostal Church Joyce accepted the Lord as her Saviour with her mentor Helen Snider Salisbury. Joyce’s faith sustained her and gave her strength throughout her life.
John and Joyce celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary, but sadly, John passed away three weeks later after a yearlong battle with cancer. Joyce continued to live on the farm until failing health dictated she move in to Tisdale. She resided in MacKay Tower for a number of years. She passed from this earth on October 5, 2018 after a brief illness.
Left to cherish her memory are her children: Larry (Ruth), Merrill (Darlene), Murray (Darlene), Joyce Elaine (Ken), Carol (Kelly), Gloria (David), Gordon and David (Lorna), and a wealth of grandchildren, great grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
Donations may be made to
Tisdale Salvation Army Christmas Hampers
as a token of remembrance
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Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Joyce Yvonne