Joan Catherine Harrison passed away Monday Dec 4th, 2023 in Saskatoon, SK. Born to Lillian and Joe Harrison in Moosomin, SK on Jan 1st, 1954, Joan was the much celebrated New Year’s baby in town. She joined the family as the third child to older siblings Carol and Sinclair. One year later her younger sister Susan was born, who became one of her closest friends.
Joan absorbed Lillian’s love of music and singing and performed at music festivals in Moosomin. At the young age of fourteen she lost her father Joe to cancer and her older brother Sinclair came home to help with the family farm and her and Susan’s upbringing.
She attended the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and earned a bachelor’s degree in education. She met and made many life-long friends during that time, especially through her volunteer work with the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and a job at the Energy Conservation Centre.
In 1974 Joan, Susan and a group of friends purchased a piece of forested land in northern Saskatchewan and created the Quanta Cooperative Farm. Joan would remain a coop member for 50 years and appreciated the quiet beauty of that land.
Joan met her future husband Michael Wilson while volunteering with the Environmental Society. Mike brought with him two children, Jenifer and Mihai, who Joan welcomed as her own. In March of 1981 they were married and soon afterwards they welcomed their daughter Naomi to the family.
Joan put her many talents to work raising the family. She was an excellent gardener, baker, seamstress and cook. She and Mike attended the Unitarian Congregation of Saskatoon with the family and made many close friends volunteering with the church. Joan was also a frequent volunteer with the Saskatoon Open School while the children attended it.
Gardening, biology and especially the composting process were Joan’s passions. She enjoyed sharing her knowledge through the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council teaching people how to compost. She was also a champion of organic agriculture in the province, working with the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate and the Organic Connections annual conference. Joan returned to university as an adult to further her knowledge and earned a second bachelor’s degree in agriculture.
When the time came for Mike to retire, they made the decision to move from Saskatoon to the farm at Quanta full time. Only a few short years later in 2008, Mike passed away from cancer. Joan chose to stay at the farm lived in their little brown house in the woods for another 15 years. Joan found many places to volunteer her time and make new friends in the nearby town of Loon Lake where her sister Susan also lived. She volunteered at the local library and the local United Church.
In the spring of 2023, her health began to decline and by winter she was diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer herself. She was admitted to St. Paul’s palliative care in Saskatoon, and after getting to see and speak to many of her loved ones and friends, she passed away peacefully with her daughter Naomi by her side.
Joan is survived by her sister Carol and her brother Sinclair as well as her three children: Jenifer Wilson, Mihai Wilson (Marcella Moser), and Naomi (Kris) Mihilewicz, their children Holden and Lillian.
Two celebrations of life are planned
January 27th at 11 am, Rec Centre, Loon Lake, Saskatchewan