Patricia Joan (Casswell) Farquharson
Patricia Joan was born in Moosomin, Saskatchewan July 5, 1936 to RCMP Constable Henry (Harry) Sellers Casswell and educator Phyllis Aileen Brown. Harry and Phyllis, with daughters Joan and Beverly, would subsequently live in a variety of communities that included Kipling and Craik, and then Estevan where Joan and Beverly would receive their high school education.
In 1954 Joan enrolled in the City Hospital School of Nursing in Saskatoon. She graduated in 1957 and became a Registered Nurse. On September 16, 1958, at Grace United Church, Saskatoon, she married Walter Farquharson, a theological student at St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon. From September 1960 until June 1961 they lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, where Walter attended New College at the University of Edinburgh and served as an assistant minister at Morningside Parish Church. Their firstborn child, Scott, was born October 10. Joan’s primary focus for that year was learning the skills of parenting.
In July 1961 Joan and Walter moved to Saltcoats, Saskatchewan where Walter had been “settled” as a minister of The Saltcoats-Bredenbury Pastoral Charge of the United Church of Canada. Saltcoats would become home and here Joan and Walter raised their family of four - Scott, Michael, Catherine and Stephen. Life revolved around parenting and active involvement in church and community.
Joan’s parents lived with an emphasis upon service and Joan had been attracted to nursing as an avenue of service to community and to individual members of the human family. Her attraction to nursing was inspired in part by the example of family members.
As a nurse, Joan was quick to recognize a patient’s needs and changes in their symptoms and their responses to treatments given. She was a compassionate and astute listener. As a nursing manager, Joan functioned as a team-builder, professional and capable, and always as a champion and advocate for care-givers and for those receiving care.
Her career as a nurse covered many aspects of nursing. Upon graduating she became an operating room nurse at City Hospital working especially with Dr. Idris Hamdi, neurosurgeon. She worked for a time in Saltcoats Hospital but most of her nursing career was lived out at the Yorkton Hospital where she worked medical, surgical and geriatric wards, then as Night Supervisor and finally as Assistant Director of Nursing, retiring in 1990.
Joan was a deeply spiritual woman, committed to a lived and lively faith - seeing God in nature and in the women, men and children of the human family.
In 1990, Joan became a member of the ministry team of the Four Town Pastoral Charge of the United Church as a Staff Associate teaming with her friend, Margaret Hulston. In this role, she led services of worship, offered pastoral care including officiating at funeral and memorial services. During this time (1990-1992) Joan joined Walter, who was serving as Moderator of the United Church, in extensive travels to congregations and church gatherings across Canada and to partner churches in Zambia, South Africa, Cuba and Jamaica. This, often meant requests from local groups to meet specifically with her or to apprise her of some special projects or concerns. Her ability to meet others with compassion and empathy was quickly recognized.
Over many years Joan partnered with Walter to offer workshops in a variety of areas that included: Celebrating and Honouring Your Relationship as a Couple; Dealing with Grief and Helping Grievers; Spiritual Practices; The Enneagram- Tool for Understanding Self and Relationships. In the local church, she was involved at different times in CGIT, Youth Groups, Music Ministry, Bible Studies, Prayer Groups, and Explorations of Faith. Most recently that local involvement saw the initiation of a Prayer Shawl ministry - and in knitting and crocheting shawls, scarves and lap rugs for that ministry.
In the 1990’s, Joan participated in a Spiritual Direction/Ignatian Pathway program at the John Paul II Centre in Regina and, on the completion of a two-year program, was recognized as a Spiritual Director within the Archdiocese of Regina.
For several years she and Walter operated Blue Heron House, Bed and Breakfast and Retreat, hosting group retreats and programs and providing opportunity for individual retreats.
Community involvements were many, and included the Agricultural Society; Community Beautification Group; Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail Association (especially the Summer Student Program); fund-raising for the Community Hall Refurbishing Project. As part of the Hall Project, Joan designed the unique Saltcoats Community Tartan, officially recognized by the Scottish Tartan Registry.
Throughout her life, Joan was a lover of the natural world, especially the world of trees, prairie landscapes, birding, seeking out native wildflowers. From her days in high school Joan was recognized as having a love for learning, a questioning mind, and a passionate commitment to core values that included justice-seeking, practicing compassion, living with a profound gratitude for gifts, opportunities and connections experienced in each day given us as children of God, part of creation and as part of a diverse and rich family of humankind.
Joan always enjoyed travel - whether that was through the countryside or on longer tours to explore our province and country. Visits to the UK, to Japan, and Joan and Walter’s one major holiday tour - a Pacific Rim Tour, were special times.
Joan’s interests included knitting, spinning, weaving and a wide variety of needlework activities. She was an avid reader and a lover of music. She enjoyed baking. A great joy was found in the company of family and friends.
As a sister, she is remembered as a protector, and a loving, loyal friend.
As a Mother, Joan is remembered as a fiercely loving, care-giver, nurturer and for the humour and laughs they shared.
As a Grandmother, she is remembered for her warm welcoming embraces, her baking and knitting, her shared enthusiasm for all of her grandchildren’s passions, and her unwavering love.
As a life partner, she is remembered - lover, soul-mate and friend. A rare and treasured gem.
Joan was predeceased by her parents, Harry and Phyllis Casswell and by an honoured company of aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, fellow workers and journey-makers.
Death came peacefully on Feb 24th at the Centennial Care Home in Langenburg after a battle with Leukemia. During her illness, the care she received from Home Care, hospitals and care home, was always professional and compassionate.
Remembering Joan with love and admiration are her husband, Walter; daughter Catherine Daniels of Regina; sons - Scott (Shelley) of Saskatoon, Michael (Hanna) of Saltcoats, Stephen (Crystal) of Saltcoats; treasured grandchildren - Brendan (Hannah) of Saskatoon, Davis Daniels (Chantel) of Regina, Kaito and Gregor of Mayville, N. Dakota, Kyla and Dougal of Saltcoats, Jessica and Katelyn of Saltcoats; sister Beverly of Surrey, B.C.; sister-in-law Lynn Farquharson of Zealandia; special cousins, nephews and nieces; many friends, mentors and co-workers who have shared and enriched life’s journey.
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