Joy Tracy Carmella (Defoe) Saunders
I, Joy Tracy Carmella (Defoe) Saunders was born on December 19, 1928 in Castlegar, known then as West Robson. My Parents lived in a small house overlooking the Columbia River on the Defoe ranch. I was the second of four girls born to Kate (Brown) and Ross Defoe. A few years later, we moved to a home my father built where the ferry crossed and eventually it was developed into a confectionery store with three cabins built at the back of the property. We carried a basket full of goodies out to the cars lined up waiting for the ferry and we did well except for wearing out our shoes! Our pitch was, “Chocolate bars, chewing gum, cigarettes.”
Dad got a job on the ferry, which helped and stayed with it until his mother and dad passed away and they needed someone to look after the ranch. We sold the store and cabins and moved back to the ranch but he kept working on the ferry and would commute. Chores of a large orchard, cattle, houses, chickens and a garden kept all of us girls busy. We walked to school every day even in blizzards, rain, snow or windy days, even when the locals never showed up which is where the school buses are kept now.
After finishing elementary school there, I went to Robson High School and passed into grade 12 but without enough credits to take up nursing. Latin was needed then but they later accepted French, but correspondence was just not my bag so I decided to go to work. I put my name in at Eremenko’s grocery store and in a week I was working. I only stayed there six months and move to West’s when an opening came available. I stayed there for 11 years in hardware.
I met Brick in high school when he moved out from Trail. He was 15 years old. We went to different functions every once in a while, at first. When he became of age to drive his mother’s car, he would pick me up and we would go to a show at the cinema. The Springs were the worst as the roads by Horcoff’s flats were muddy but he would plow through and get stuck many times and he had to get the horse to pull him out. Most of the time I would walk the tracks to the ferry when it snowed and to work. I bought a bike and it was great in the summer months.
A lot of my friends used to go to Playmore to dances, midnight frolics and special holiday weekends. We would all pile in the back of Tipping’s truck.
I played girls’ softball (Kats) while working. We won the West Kootenay Championship, beating out Trail and Nelson. I played first base. I was thrilled when I hit a homerun and won the game against Trail. We had a great team with Rene Mitchell coaching us.
Brick started working for Cominco and stayed for four years. An opportunity to work for Waldies appliance shop, below the Twin Rivers Hall, came to be and he applied and stayed for a time and ended up managing it. He didn’t stay long as Celgar was starting construction and someone persuaded him to go into Stores. Mitchell’s bought Waldies out.
We were together eight years before getting married on April 16, 1952 at 2:00 pm on a beautiful, sunny Wednesday afternoon. The small United Church didn’t hold too many people and we had invited over a hundred, which was something for a town our size then. Why Wednesday? Because most of the stores closed in the afternoon and most of our friends worked. Our reception was catered by the Eastern Star in the Twin Rivers Hall (now known as the Masonic Hall) at 6:00 pm and many friends came to join us and to the dance after. We left and spend the first night at a motel in Chewelah (the 49er). The motel was cheesed off with us for all the confetti that we put on their carpet. We left real early the next morning. All the apple blossoms were out in the orchards and it was beautiful. We spent the next night in Everett and then on to Vancouver Island to visit Brick’s sister and family. We stopped in Vancouver to see his other sister Ora and family, then home over the Hope Princeton to the Okanagan.
Several wanted to have a shower so they all got together and had a large shower and dance in the Twin Rivers Hall. They presented us with a silver tray and cream set with a tea pot. I really treasure it still today. I had two other showers before that.
We moved into Brick’s Grandmother’s house. Alf was born on May 8, 1954 and Ross was born May 26, 1958 in Castlegar. Our new hospital had just opened.
I kept working as much as I could as Brick’s mother helped us so much with looking after the kids and she seemed to enjoy it. She renovated the basement of her house into a suite for herself and we lived upstairs. It was very convenient for all of us.
An opening came up at the Castlegar Drug Store and I moved and ended up staying for 17 years that were great. I retired in 1970. Brick stayed with Celgar for 32 years and became Purchasing Superintendent before retiring in 1992.
We used to go camping in Deer Park with the boys every Summer. We caught so many fish, we hated to clean them but never wasted any. Froze most of them but also enjoyed some great feeds, giving some away to friends also. The Kokanee were the best but it put a little excitement into our fishing when we caught a sporting trout of Dolly Varden. The highlight was when Ross hooked a 25 pounder in Lardeau. He got his name in the paper and we have a picture of it.
I don’t think our kids will forget the fun we had, especially when we couldn’t touch the tent walls when it rained. We later bought a 13 foot trailer and enjoyed it. Brick never liked sleeping on an air mattress.
We started going to Lardeau after work on weekends. We bought a 21-foot trailer and met many, many wonderful friends there. The Marshall’s, the Smith’s and Gripche’s, Andys’ and the Volapatti’s, etc. We then decided to buy a cabin and boat there and enjoy the lake. We had some great times that well never forget.
We then sold our house and Mom Saunders and all of us moved to a home near the hospital with a pool in 1977. Our kids enjoyed a little time at our new home before going to SAIT in Calgary for schooling. Alf went first and graduated and went to work for the Stampede – cooking. He then got into management. Ross went four years later, graduated and worked for many restaurants and ended up at the City of Calgary’s cafeteria. He never liked the city and he moved to Castlegar and has been happier. He worked for the City of Castlegar.
In 1992, we sold our home by the hospital and bought a 30-foot motorhome and moved into a mobile home in Silver Birches Trailer Park. We travelled to Yuma and stayed five months. We also travelled to Calgary quite often and many camping trips.
We had many enjoyable trips with the Moffat’s and their family. They had their motorhome and we had ours. Bob Moffat suddenly passed away the day before leaving for Nakusp. He was so looking forward to going, as we were. We had not been out too much since.
We spent many good times over at Christina Lake visiting the Henne family. Alf and Billy were chums at school, Brick and Bill from working at Celgar. We women used to enjoy our times together. We took a trip in their bus over the “Highway to the Sun”, which was great. We have been out many times together, camping out when possible.
I have been a Pythian Sister of Kootenay Temple #37 since 1947. I have gone through the chairs several times. I have been a leader in the degree staff. The highlight for me was when we had Grand Sessions here in Castlegar and we put on a Degree Staff display with District Sisters. I was District Deputy in 1966 and am still active. I like to take in District Conventions and Provincial Grand Sessions in whatever city is chosen.
I belong to the Whaler’s Swim Club at the Sandman Inn Pool. I also swim Monday and Wednesday mornings at the complex. I also belong to a bridge club and play every other week. I babysit our grandchildren occasionally when needed and enjoy watching them play hockey and ball.
Survived by husband William “Brick” Saunders, sons Alf Saunders of Calgary and Ross (Nedda) Saunders of Castlegar, grandchildren, Kendall and Candice (Calgary) and Dustin, Gessy & Kaitlun (Castlegar), sister Wendy and David Reid (Kaslo) and four great grandchildren. Many nieces and nephews and cousins.Print Obituary & Condolences