Joan Mary Richards

August 31, 1936 ~ December 29, 2018 (age 82)

It is with a nearly unbearable heartache, and yet, an unending amount of joy and gratitude that we tell you of the transition of Joan Mary (Bentley) Richards at the age of 82 years. Around 10:30 pm on Saturday, December 29, 2018 Joan eloquently slipped through the veil into the next chapter of her existence. True to form, she was calm and steady until the very last breath of her physical life. She was surrounded by people who loved her ferociously.

Joan was born on August 31, 1936 in Thorsby, Alberta. She lived in Alberta her entire life, and specifically in the Springbank area for the last 50 years. Her reach went far beyond though, by impacting people across the country and around the world. She carried with her the teachings and good work of her own mother and father, now deceased, Clara (Albers) Bentley and Wilfred Bentley, and her stepfather, Charlie Johnson.

She made a lifelong commitment in marriage to Derrel Richards (also now deceased), and together they raised three children, Duray, Jann, and Patrick (Jodi). She is also survived by three grandchildren, Curtis, Ethan, and Ryan; countless extended family; and many, many friends who loved her dearly. All who knew Joan are forever changed by her death—and her life.

Joan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s many years ago, but never once acknowledged the disease or catered to it in any way. She was a warrior and Alzheimer’s was defeated constantly with her positivity and her steadfast, iron-clad will. More than anything else, she battled and tormented Alzheimer’s with her unbelievable sense of humour. It was a marvel to watch and she was an inspiration to all of us.

People always speak highly of every departed soul, even if doubt lingers and the facts are not exactly true. This is far from necessary with our mother, friend, sister, aunt, daughter, and champion of tiny birds and animals everywhere, Joan. When it comes to Joan, no rose-coloured glasses are needed when speaking to you about her life here on planet earth, which was a triumph. Her generosity and kindness and indelible laugh will reverberate through the rest of time. Her authenticity and the quality of her character were rare indeed.

She never judged another human being, but rather, lifted them up and cheered them on. She saw the good in everyone, and it was impossible not to feel her altruism when you and she were in the same room. We were all better versions of ourselves when we were near Joan. She made us better.

Joan was the most optimistic human on the planet—anyone that knew her, however briefly, became well aware of that. She was a lover of all living creatures and was especially gifted when it came to rescuing things with feathers. Thousands of birds went on to fly another day after her loving care and attention.

Joan loved the earth, plants and flowers and trees and waving fields of wheat. She loved feeding her army of squirrels, whom I’m sure miss her already. She loved to read novels of any kind, write in her diary, visit with friends, travel, and walk down her beloved road. She loved beautiful clothing and fashion and always dressed impeccably, even if it was to feed the squirrels! Her Pineapple apron should be in a glass case at the Smithsonian! She loved life and was never, for one minute, idle or bored.

She worked a multitude of jobs over many decades and befriended each person she came into contact with. She loved to learn and was fearless when it came to taking a class or mastering a new skill. It is becoming obvious here, that one could go on and on and on about Joan, but space is in short supply and this will have to suffice.

We love you mom.

We love you.

We love you.

We love you.

We will see you soon, (but not too soon) like you always used to say.

A private memorial will be held in Joan’s honour. 


If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Alzheimer Society of Canada (20 Eglinton Avenue West, 16th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M4R 1K8; 1-800-616-8816; or to Dogs with No Names (Box 1040, Bragg Creek, AB T0L 0K0; 

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