November 3, 1928 - January 23, 2019
JOYCE LOIS EISLER
After a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, our Mom and Nana died peacefully, with family by her side, Wednesday, January 23, 2019 in the Golden Links Lodge; rejoining our dad, Robert Dennis Eisler (deceased 1982).
Joyce is survived by daughters Gina Eisler of Toronto, Paula and son-in-law Lee Asham; beloved grandchildren, Ainslee and Loel Asham, cousin Gloria (Marvin) Seale of Winnipeg, cousins across Canada, many nieces, nephews and friends from Montreal and Winnipeg, and her treasured Lester Beach community of family and friends. She was predeceased by her parents, brothers Gordon (Phoebie) and Ronald; sister-in-law Donna; many other family members and best friend Grayce Hutchison.
Born just after WWI and having lived through the depression and WWII, Joyce was a frugal and conscientious person – she started to recycle before the word became part of everyday vernacular.
She had a deep commitment to extended family and friends; she frequently visited people (with baking) and no matter the occasion she was always the first to send the most appropriate card. Her laugh was usually what announced her presence and she was always ready to offer help in the kitchen.
Joyce had a range of work and volunteer positions throughout her life. Her work-life included being a Dental Assistant, Administration for Lowes Brothers Paints, numerous roles in the insurance industry–and then later in retail in both Montreal and Winnipeg.
One of her first volunteer efforts was a family commitment with Winnipeg’s insurance industry: each December every female member of the family would make dozens of dainties to enjoy while wrapping gifts and writing special cards for hospitalized children. This annual event was legendary amongst those of us lucky enough to appreciate the leftovers.
In Montreal, she joined the elementary school Ladies Auxiliary, Couples Club at Ste. Genevieve United Church and she taught Sunday school, volunteered with Brownies and Girl Guides, and served in every and all capacity whenever she was asked to help, including helping children with their reading skills.
Joyce avidly entered any and all contests – meaning we were the first family on Knox Street with a colour TV, a blender and numerous tickets to the Ice Capades. In 1974, when Bob was transferred to Montreal with Air Canada; she said goodbye to her mom, her first marriage home and the home she carried her two babies into; and widely opened her arms to the West Island Air Canada community in Montreal.
Until the last decade, she baked every week of her life: there were always homemade cookies and dainties (squares for those of you outside of Manitoba), for everyone who stopped by the house or cottage. Her butter tarts are legendary; and in later years she became known as the “muffin lady”. She followed Emily Post’s manners throughout her life – “Miss Manners” never went anywhere without a gift and/or food, a trait she passed onto her daughters. Even in her last days, no one left her room without a sincere thank you, no matter what their moments together had involved.
Always an intrepid traveller, Joyce went to Nassau in her 20’s with her dear friend Grayce, and when she married Bob, a former Air Force jet mechanic who started working with Air Canada in the 70’s, she had the opportunity to see almost every province and many states, including Hawaii. She eagerly waited for flights on her passes to visit Gina in whatever community she was working in; from Amherst (NS) through Belleville, Port Dalhousie (St. Catharines), Beamsville, Manitoulin Island, and Toronto. Despite her fear of water – she did go sailing with Gina, and Paula to celebrate Gina’s 40th birthday in Beamsville. She visited the Anne of Green Gables House in PEI, came close to seeing where her Grandfather’s hotel was located in New Brunswick, and took the Maid of the Mist boat trip in Niagara Falls.
In the early 1990s Joyce went to Australia and New Zealand with her sister in law Marion Eisler (Bill) and two other friends. They rode camels, saw Alice Rock, and explored the world ‘down under’ for two months; it was the trip of a life time.
Sadly, Joyce lost her two brothers in the last few years. Despite their constant teasing; she adored them both and travelled to see their families in British Columbia (North Vancouver and Vernon) as often as she possibly could.
In 1996 Joyce embraced her favourite role of all – being a Nana to Ainslee; and then in 1999 to Loel. They brought her much laughter; and a whole new world of love to embrace and enjoy. There wasn’t anything she would not do for her daughters; but she would have moved the earth for her grandchildren. Mom’s help when Ainslee was born is unforgettable. She cooked & cleaned, she recorded everything that could be recorded in a Hilroy scribbler & allowed Paula to get some sleep & just be a new Mom.
Nana spent hours in the rocking chair cuddling her precious granddaughter. She later had the patience to introduce Ainslee to baking; an activity for which Ainslee has inherited the passion that Nana had. More recently, Mom loved when Ainslee would stop by her place for breakfast in between classes, to just lie on her bed to study or to take her for scenic drives through the city. These visits almost always involved a spin through a McDonald’s drive-thru for a small fries to share. When Loel came along, Nana’s life changed again-she now had the son she had always wanted. From day one, the two of them were kindred spirits in mischief, forever teasing each other about height (she was the “Tall-y” to his “Shorty”),
Loel could convince Nana to go outside her comfort zone to try almost anything, as long as he said, “I’ll race you Nana!”. They were often caught sharing treats (usually Oreos) on the down-low and enjoyed many rounds of “eye-spy” on the ride home from the lake or any other road trips she joined us on. Visits between Loel and Nana always ended in big hugs, and a game of “I love you more!”, and often a “selfie” that when posted could break the internet. He was her cuddler always.
When Mom became a Nana she also became an avid sports fan of soccer, hockey, ringette and lacrosse, even dirt-biking and ATV-ing. Mom loved watching the kids play their sports and braved many rainy soccer fields, cold rinks and smelly lacrosse arenas and made a valiant effort to hide her horror when loud motorized vehicles took over her yard at the lake. When Ainslee & Loel were little, Mom was always willing to come over for a “sick day” or to let Lee & Paula have a date night. No one could make Mom smile and laugh like her grandchildren could, even in her final days.
Lester Beach has been her home away from home for more than 50 years. With other family and friends, she and her husband, Bob, created a unique and special A-frame cottage that hosted “Family Reunions” for more than 50 people, roasted Thanksgiving turkeys on the “old cook stove” and many late-night card games with Gram Eisler and her sisters. When we lived in Montreal, Mom managed to pack up a family of four and our dog, Max, and move to the cottage for the summer months. Despite her anxiety of being at the lake without Dad, she would overcome her fears so that we could spend as much time as possible with our summer family & friends.
Once Lee, Ainslee and Loel joined the family, a whole new generation could share in Mom’s love of the cottage. She enjoyed supervising Lee in any necessary repairs, and spent many evenings playing board games and watching movies with the kids. Every night there was always a rousing rendition of “Goodnight John-boy” once everyone was in bed. We were lucky to have Mom come to the lake, after a long hiatus, for a day-trip this past summer that turned into a 3 day stay. We were all together again and had so many laughs and visits from family and old friends.
We extend our sincere gratitude to the exemplary staff at Golden Links Lodge, who helped not only Mom, but our whole family through a most difficult time. Thank you also to staff at The Misericordia Health Centre 5th floor, The Victoria Hospital Sub-acute Care, and the St. Boniface Hospital.
We will all miss our Mom, Nana, Auntie, cousin and friend immensely, but it should comfort all of us that she had a long happy life, not without challenges and sadness, but was still smiling and laughing and had a pleasant outlook on life right until her time with us was over. She was much stronger than anyone gave her credit for and deserves the restful peace that she is now enjoying reunited with so many of her loved ones.
Cremation has taken place. Interment will be in Brookside Cemetery, later this year, and a gathering of family and friends will be held at the cottage.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to make a gift to the Alzheimer’s Society of Manitoba or a charity of choice.
Special thanks to the kind and caring staff at Golden Links Lodge; the family encourages you to stop by a personal care home to share a smile and consider volunteering your time.
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