June 12, 1922 – August 30, 2018
Joan E Lang of Balfour, BC passed away in Nelson BC on August 30, 2018 of natural causes.
Joan was born in Tisdale, Ontario on June 12, 1922 to Petronella and Frederick Maxwell-Smith of South Porcupine. She began playing piano at age four, eventually becoming an accomplished pianist. Joan taught piano from the time she left home in 1945 until 1974 and shared her musical talents generously throughout her life.
After high school graduation, Joan attended secretarial school in Toronto. Her first position was in the Wrens in the last years of WWII as a Captain’s Writer, where she arranged travel for the Naval officers. At the end of the war Joan was sent to Vancouver to see that the officers’ travel allowances were used as intended.
In the early 1950s Joan moved to the Yukon, where she took a secretarial position for United Keno Hill Mines. During this time, she taught English to the men working in the mine who had emigrated to Canada after the war. There, Joan met her future husband, Bruce Lang; they were married in 1953. Joan was well-loved, bringing her musical talents to community gatherings in the isolated north.
In 1963, the Langs (now a family of 4), moved to Pickle Crow, Ontario. Joan continued to teach piano and was integral in bringing entertainment to the mining camp there. From Ontario the Lang family moved to Vancouver Island in 1966, where they lived for four years before settling in Ocean Park. Of course, Joan brought her musical talents with her to the delight of all.
In 1974, Joan and Bruce moved to Balfour, which quickly became her favourite place. The family lived happily in their lakefront home, and when Bruce passed away in 1987, Joan became even more active in the community she loved.
Kootenay Lake was Joan’s haven. Swimming and canoeing with her dog Partner brought her much joy. She played the piano for the Redfish School pageants, played the organ at St. Michaels in Balfour and at the Willow Point Church. Joan joined the Hospital Guild in Nelson, was an active book club member, joined a knitting club, and volunteered in the museum’s archives in Nelson.
During her years in the Kootenays Joan went back to school. She enrolled at Selkirk College and the University of Victoria, and in 1996 Joan received her Master’s Degree in Canadian History. Joan’s thesis became her popular book “Lost Orchards”, which recounts the rise and fall of the fruit growing industry in the West Kootenay. The book, an important contribution to our understanding of local history, has been used in college curricula.
Joan is survived by her daughter Alison Lang (Stephen Posavatz), her grandchildren Hilary Cooper (Christopher), Kirsten Ormsby (Jonathan), Barrie Lang, and Kailey Lang; great grandchildren Ethan and Heidi Cooper; nephews Bob McVey, Jim McVey (Pat), and Nieces Joan Bradbury (Geoff), Lesley Newman (Gwyn), Max Nobles and Bryan Nobles (Bernadette).
Joan was predeceased by her fiance Frank Covey (1944), her husband J Bruce C Lang (1987) her son, M Bruce C Lang (2018); her siblings, Pat Smith, Andrew Smith, Marjorie McVey, Beatrice Nobles, and Stella Newman; and her special friend Jim Heuston (2018).
There will be a celebration of Joan’s life on Saturday, October 20, 2018, from 2 pm to 4 pm, at The Balfour Golf Club, 602 Queen’s Bay Road, in Balfour. A memorial plaque will be placed at the Balfour Cemetery.
A very special thank you to all Mum’s many friends for their cheerful support and outings this past year. Hugs to the care aids, nurses, and Dr. Trevor Janz at Mountain Lakes for the incredible, gentle, respectful, and loving care during her short stay there.
Joan was an inspiration. She was kind, caring, and determined. She always remembered birthdays with a thoughtfully written card. She always had time to reach out. Her life took many turns, throughout which she always kept her sense of humour.