Joan Marlene Johnson

March 11th, 2021

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Joan Marlene Johnson (nee Slamp) of Kamloops, BC, on March 11th, 2021, at 79 years of age. Joan is survived by her children Casey (Cheryl) Johnson of Winnipeg, MB, Bonny (Cam) Thomson of Lusaka, Zambia, Sheila (Joe) Zaik of Spruce Grove, AB, Laura (Jeff) Gorham of Surrey, BC, Cameron (Dana) Johnson of Kamloops, BC, Nicole (Kevin) Cundari of Kamloops, BC, and Rebecca (Jeff) Turner of Kamloops, BC. Also left to cherish Joan’s memory are her grandchildren Clinton (Emily) Zaik, Jordan (Paige) Zaik, Matthew (Christen) Zaik, Brooke (Colby) Sanelli, Jorja Gorham, Sophia Cundari, Ava Cundari and Jackson Turner, as well as great-grandchild Piper Zaik, Joan’s brother Kenny (Lynn) Slamp, sister Marilyn (Bruce) Bannerman, and brother Rick Slamp. Joan was predeceased by her parents Albert and Anne Slamp, husband Harold Johnson, and baby brother Mark Slamp.

Joan was a loving and generous person who gave tirelessly to her family and community. She was a strong and beautiful woman who always encouraged others. She loved the Bible and was proud to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Joan actively shared Bible truths with others about Jehovah God and his Kingdom as the solution to mankind’s problems, including sickness and death. She will be greatly missed by her family, friends and congregation, but we are comforted by the Bible’s promise of a resurrection to perfect life, and health on a paradise earth. (Revelation 21:4), (Isaiah 25:8).

A Zoom Memorial Service for Joan will take place at 1:00pm PST on Friday, April 2nd, 2021. If you wish to attend the Zoom memorial, please email bthomson0001@yahoo.com to request zoom codes.

The family wishes to extend a special thank you to Dr. Amanda Bosman, the staff of the Royal Inland Hospital, Home Support Nurses, and the staff at Marjorie Willougby Hospice Association for their dedicated service and heartfelt care.

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Joan was born on April 11, 1941 in Winnipeg, Manitoba to proud parents Albert and Anne Slamp.  She was the eldest of five children Ken, Marilyn, Rick & baby Mark who passed away not long after his birth.  Joan had a happy childhood growing up in the Winnipeg suburb of East Kildonan.  She had fond memories of her youth spending time with her siblings.  She enjoyed visiting her Aunt, Uncle and cousins George, Linda & Darlene in Fraserwood, Manitoba on their family farm.  When the weather was good Joan’s whole family would sleep in the hay loft of the old barn and woke up in the morning to the call of the roosters.  Even in her youth she was adventurous; loving to explore and enjoy life.  She remembered spending the winter evenings skating on the outdoor rink at Bronx park with all the lights and music playing.  Her summers were spent paying baseball, climbing trees, and exploring from sun up to sundown.  Joan loved to dance and every chance she would get she was off to the Bronx park canteen,  paid a quarter and danced until her legs were weak.  Ever the jokester she was always laughing and making others laugh.  Even when she was about to get disciplined by her Father she would somehow find the whole moment comical and begin to laugh…..Albert, however, was not amused.  By the time Joan was 16yrs old she had turned into a beautiful young lady.  To celebrate when East Kildonan became its own city in the summer of 1957, there was a contest to name city royalty and Joan was to be “Princess” of East Kildonan.  Joan enjoyed her moment of fame as she was crowned, cloaked and road in an open convertible down Henderson Hwy. 

From a very early age Joan was a spiritual person.  When she was 9 years old her family took a trip to Detroit to visit relatives.  While they were there she watched a news report of a local shooting.  She remembered feeling scared and began to cry.  Her Grandmother tried to console her and commended her for having a soft heart.  That night Joan prayed to God that if he would protect her she would pray to him every night for the rest of her life.  And so began her lifelong relationship with God.  She remembered how she was determined to keep her promise and often fell asleep on her knees praying before bed.  Joan continued to show interest in spiritual things and signed up for various church clubs and became a Sunday School Teacher.  It was about this point in her life that she met a young man from the dance canteen and they became friends.  He introduced Joan to his mother Lorraine Comber who was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Lorraine was eager to share truths from the Bible with Joan at every opportunity.  Joan enjoyed what she was learning and felt like the Bible’s message was becoming clear for the first time.  Joan attended her first Circuit Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses in January 1962.  When Lorraine asked Joan how she enjoyed it she replied “well, the speaker (Br. Dieter) said we should study the book “Let God be True” so that’s what I’d like to do.  So that same month in 1962 Joan began her study of the Bible.  She quickly accepted what she was learning because the teachings were based solely on the Bible and not church doctrine or tradition.  Within 7 months Joan had quit smoking and was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses on Aug 11, 1962.  Her goal was to become a full-time preacher so the next month she enrolled as a vacation pioneer (in September of 1962) and six months later she enrolled as a full-time preacher or Regular Pioneer.  Some of Joan’s fondest memories were these early years in the truth pioneering.  She appreciated the support and friendship of her fellow pioneers Rose Georgeson, Ruth Acher, Monte Ford & Bob Bealer among others. 

 

Around this time Joan met Harold Johnson, a young farm boy from Riverton, Manitoba, who had moved to the city with his brother George.  Harold was a fellow believer in her congregation.  Their relationship blossomed and they were married on May 23, 1964.  Joan continued to Pioneer until November of 1965 and then quickly transitioned into Motherhood when she and Harold welcomed their first child, Casey on May 10, 1965.  Over the next 14 years Joan and Harold had 6 other beautiful children Bonny, Sheila, Laura, Cameron, Nicole & Rebecca.  Joan loved being a mother!  She would often reminisce about seeing all her seven children at the breakfast table with their smiling faces and being so proud that they were all hers.  Joan took an active interest in her children; teaching, training, organizing fun activities, hosting many parties and get-togethers. 

Always a hard worker, Joan set a fine example for her children by being industrious, willing to learn new things and not being afraid to get her hands dirty.  She supported Harold with his many ventures including Farming, real estate, property management, and Watkins.  Both Joan and Harold were proponents of Natural Health and went to great lengths to provide healthy food for their large family.  This focus led Joan to become a distributor of Nature’s Sunshine Products initially with the purpose of improving the health of their family.  Long term, however, it would help support her financially through the years.

Through all the hustle and bustle of raising a large family and running multiple businesses Joan stayed true to her core spiritual values. Her 1st love and focus was always her worship of Jehovah God.  True to her promise as a child, Joan could be heard at night by her children praying to Jehovah before bed asking him to guide her every step and to bless and protect her family. She regularly conducted a Bible study with her 7 children and helped them all to make an informed decision to dedicate their lives to serve Jehovah.  She regularly attended weekly meetings at the Kingdom Hall and participated in the Ministry with her 7 children.  She was always grateful for the help she received from the congregation. Specifically her Sister-In-Law Shirley and Brother-In-Law Jerry Kozub who always went that extra mile to support Joan and the kids in their efforts to serve Jehovah.

Joan loved her in-laws, the Johnson Family, dearly!  Particularly close to her heart was her mother-in-law Enid Johnson who was always a loyal friend, supporter, faithful example and just an overall wonder person!

In 1989, at the age of 48, Joan’s circumstances changed and she found herself alone raising the youngest three children on her own.  She moved to Kamloops, BC with her eldest daughter Bonny, son Cameron and youngest daughters Nicole and Becky and started a new chapter of her life.  She was grateful to now be living closer to her elderly parents and treasured the last few years that she got to spend with them until they passed away.  Upon arriving in Kamloops, Joan made contact with long-time friend Chrys Thaler and Husband Heinz.  They offered Joan friendship, support, hospitality and toilet paperJ.  The Thalers helped Joan find a place to live and co-ordinated efforts with the Brocklehurst Congregation to supply her with all the clothes, furniture and household items she needed.  Joan and Family then became part of the Brocklehurst Congregation where most of her remaining years were spent. 

Not surprisingly, a few years later in 1992, with her new circumstances… Joan decided to join her daughter Bonny and once again enrolled as a Regular Pioneer.  She continued to serve in full-time service as a pioneer for a total of 31 years until her death.   Joan loved the ministry and enjoyed working shoulder to shoulder with her brothers and sisters in the Congregation.  She enjoyed teaching others in her community the same Bible truths that touched her heart such as that God has a personal name “Jehovah” and the truth about the “Kingdom” that Jesus taught us to pray for in the “Lord’s Prayer.” 

Joan was able to support herself by selling Nature’s Sunshine Products.  This also created opportunities to travel to many parts of the world.  She would always use these opportunities to bring along one of her children and often their spouses and create special memories together.  In every destination the highlight was seeking out the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses or visiting their branch Offices in that country. 

Joan especially enjoyed encouraging others to take up the Full-Time Ministry as a career choice.  She would say “it wouldn’t pay you any money but “the blessing of Jehovah is what makes rich!” and that if you did pioneer you would never regret it!  She really was right and it was plain to see in her own life.  Because of this attitude she encouraged many young and old to expand their ministry.  Many remember Joan with her Red Van full of young people that she offered to take out in the ministry after school to help them reach their auxillary pioneer goals.  Also in her Red Van, she and fellow pioneers regularly visited rural territories such as Dead Man’s Creek, BC to reach as many people in that area with the Good News.

In 1996, Joan and her daughter Becky decided to begin learning the Spanish language with the goal of one day serving where the need was greater.  In 1998 at the age of 57, Joan followed through with her goal and moved to the Dominican Republic with Becky as they had heard it was “a field ripe for harvesting.”  In the 9 years to follow her daughter Nicole and Husband Kevin, Becky’s Husband Jeff and grandson Clinton and many others joined her there at different times to Pioneer.  Joan also was visited by the rest of her family and all benefited from the spiritually enriching experience.  In the Dominican Joan especially appreciated the friendship and hospitality of Alan & Joji Stevens who helped her to get settled in a new and unfamiliar culture and country.  Joan diligently worked at learning the language and way of life of the Dominicans.  She loved them as a people and enjoyed their food, culture and dance.  She quickly became part of the local Cutupu congregation by supporting the meetings, ministry and showing hospitality.  Joan welcomed young and old from many corners of the world to come and stay with her and have the “need-greater” experience.  She probably didn’t realize it at the time but most of those she hosted would go on to say that they benefited greatly from her zealous example and were enlightened as to the world wide brotherhood as well as new opportunities to preach where there was a greater need.  Joan had many adventures in the Dominican; most exciting and positive like joining a group hike up the highest peak in the Caribbean “Pico Duarte”, crossing into Haiti on her 60th birthday in the back of a crowed open air truck to get her passport stamped……but also some scary times like being robbed at night and narrowly escaping a political “welga” where her car was pelted with large rocks.  “Never a dull moment” as Joan would say!!

In 2007 Joan returned to Canada from the Dominican.  She continued on in her Pioneer work always loyally supporting local campaigns and happy to use her resources to further Kingdom interests.  In December 2015 Joan was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer which caused a variety of symptoms that hindered her quality of life.  She took a balanced approach to improving her health all the while staying focused on her Meetings and Ministry. 

Joan loved to be with her Children, Grandchildren, Son-In-Laws and Daughter-In-Laws and, of course, they felt the same way about her!  Every chance she would get she would travel to see her Son Casey & Daughter-In-Law Cheryl in Winnipeg, her Daughter Sheila & Son-In-Law Joe and Grandkids Clinton, Jordan, Matthew and Brooke in Edmonton, Daughter Laura & Son-In-Law Jeff and Granddaughter Jorja in Vancouver, and Daughter Bonnie & Son-In-Law Cameron in their various Theocratic Assignments world-wide.  Over the years she greatly appreciated being able to live beside her Son Cameron and Daughter-In-Law Dana, with her Grandson Clinton, and these last few years with Daughter Nicole, Son-In-Law Kevin and Granddaughters Sophia & Ava.  Also, having her Daughter Becky, Son-In-Law Jeff and grandson Jackson living in Kamloops brought her much comfort and joy.  She treasured being part of the Westsyde Congregation these last few years working shoulder to should with the pioneers and getting to know all their high quality brothers and sisters. 

Joan would always say that all of her successes came from Jehovah’s hand. She prayerfully relied on Jehovah for all of her worries, anxieties and decision making.  She always felt that the secret to life is serving Jehovah with your whole soul, might and strength.  She was not a proud person and she did not take herself too seriously. Joan always said that if you go through life thinking everyone likes you they eventually all will. Smile

Messages:

Our condolences to Auntie Joan's family and friends. She was such a special lady! I will miss our visits.

This is Keera, I met grandma Joan and I remember how wonderful she was to everyone she talked to. We were really close and I bonded with her, many times my lovely auntie Cheryl had Joan over and I remember her saying eh. She would say oh really eh. She was kind and always listened to people. She had a heart of love and kindness. I will miss her ❤️. And I loved Joan.

So many wonderful memories of Joan, always a smile on her face or sharing a laugh. Joan’s love of Jehovah and devotion to her family set such a fine example. Looking forward to hearing her laugh again in paradise. Deepest condolences to you all at this time.

We are sending all the Family our warmest Love and Condolences. Joan truly was a very dedicated Mother, sister and friend to all and totally dedicated to her Creator Jehovah. Our hearts are with all of you at this most difficult time. Warmest Love and Condolences to All The Family Much Love Howard and Leona Thomson Job 14:14 & 15

Joan was such a dear sister, I remember we visited her in Kamloops years ago and how hospitable and kind she was. Our sincere condolences to the family for your loss. Ray and Penny Parsons

We will miss Mom so much until we are reunited with her in paradise on earth under God's Kingdom. She was such a wonderful Mother and a good friend. She loved people and was always willing to help others. Life will be less bright without her in it.

I was 10 years old when we moved down the street from the Johnsons and our lives have been intertwined ever since. Joan’s daughters and daughter in law have been my best friends. She was always caring and interested in young people. Wise and even-tempered. A beautiful woman, inside and out. I look forward to seeing Joan again but the line up to hug her will be long!

Joan is my "big" sister in the sense that she is 11 years my senior. As such she was not just my sister, but my role model, my friend and probably my baby-sitter as I was growing up. She was glamorous (literally and figuratively), always beautiful and off living exotic adventures. (The perspective of a baby brother). In later years, my opinion really hasn't changed. Her accomplishments are epic. She was a mother who led by example, a skilled entrepreneur, a good friend. Her faith was solid. She will be missed but never forgotten.

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