Farming Rural 06

Joseph Morrison

1950 ~ 2022 (age 71)


We are saddened to announce the sudden passing of Joseph Allan Morrison of
Saltcoats, SK on January 10, 2022 at age 71.
  Joe was the hardest, yet softest man around. Everyone who knew him has a ‘Joe
Morrison story’ or two tucked away, most likely involving some colorful language. But
for every one of those stories, they have ten more involving his work ethic, integrity,
neighborliness, inquisitive nature, generosity, teasing sense of humour and infectious
laugh, and contentment with simple things. Joe had a strong backbone, and believed
if something was going to be done, it should be done right. He was a favorite person
to many, and a man who was “all in” with his family in every aspect. He adored his
wife endlessly, took great pride in his children, and treasured his grandchildren.
  Joe was born on July 22, 1950 in Brandon, MB and raised in the Saltcoats area where
he remained his whole life. Joe started school at the Tupper country school, but
completed most of his early studies at the Chatsworth country school before
attending Saltcoats School for junior high.
  As a child, Joe’s world revolved around work and sports. The deal was that ‘the boys’
had to get the chores done before and after school in order to play hockey and ball;
the cream cheques needed to keep coming in! Being raised on the family farm
instilled a devout work ethic in Joe. It also shaped his lifelong loyalty to family, love of
working with animals, and feeling most at home amongst the beauty and simplicity
of the natural world. Joe glided through whatever sport he tried, and his natural
athletic ability was apparent at an early age. He had an exceptional wrist shot, which
his mom attributed to him milking cows twice a day. When he entered high school in
1965 at the YRHS, he continued playing hockey, but also played for the Gridders
football team and ran track-and-field. Joe broke the Saskatchewan high school
100-yard dash record, which he held for nine years.
  Joe started work in the Wroxton district as a hired farm hand in the summer months.
He left high school to work in an iron smelter, then in a nickel mine before returning
home to run heavy equipment for the Matheson Brothers, building grid roads and
highways all over Saskatchewan. When the Matheson Brothers sold to Western Earth
Movers, Joe stayed on. He enjoyed his time on the road with good buddies, and
earned himself a few interesting nicknames. During this period of his life, he began
playing senior hockey, first for the Bredenbury Cougars, where he won the league
scoring championship twice, was MVP of the team, won the league championship
twice, and was selected to all-star teams many times; and then for the Saltcoats
Laketowners, where he won a league championship in his final year of senior hockey.
He then went on to be one of the original members of the Saltcoats Gang Green
hockey team. (Oh, if those dressing room walls could talk…)
  Joe traded in his life on the road to go back to his roots. Farming was always calling
him and remained the passion of his life. He and his brothers, Ewen and Ken, started
farming together in the Chatsworth district with the help of Ted when he wasn’t in
school. In 1974, Joe met the love of his life (and the only woman who was able to
tame him down … a wee bit), Sheila Soke. Joe and Sheila were married on August 30,
1975 and moved onto the original Cross homestead. It is here where they raised their
three children, Chris, Troy, and Kim, and lived together for 46 years. Joe loved all
aspects of farm-life: growing grain, tending to cattle, and the business side of
agriculture. Even after he was done farming on a larger scale with his brothers, he
continued farming his quarter section of land and raising cattle. In Joe’s later years,
he became quite a steward of the land. He cared a lot about land and animal
preservation … except for those damn beavers!
  Joe worked for SI Construction, building roads, for a few years, but hated being away
from Sheila and his young children. So, he started operating the grader for the RM of
Churchbridge before switching to the RM of Saltcoats for 15 years. In 2004, Joe
started with EMW, working in various roles in the Fabrication Shop and then took
over the E&S Holdings farm manager position. He was extremely dedicated and took
great pride in his work. Even in leadership roles, he didn’t shy away from the
toughest tasks. He was organized and diligent in everything he did and had a desire
to pass values down to the younger generation.
  While his children were growing up, Joe’s life still revolved around work and sports,
albeit in a different capacity. Joe was heavily involved in Saltcoats Minor Sports while
his kids played hockey and baseball. He coached for years and was always helping out
where needed. This lifestyle didn’t leave much time for holidays, but Joe treasured
his few family getaways to Madge Lake and Clear Lake, especially once the grandkids
came along. Sheila even got him on a plane to Jamaica twice in recent years!
  In 2002, Joe’s middle son, Troy, was diagnosed with Leukemia. Throughout Troy’s
almost 4-year battle, Joe was there for it all. Through the ups and the many downs,
he was always supportive and present. His deep and genuine love as a father shone
brightest in these years. Troy’s death was the greatest loss in Joe’s life.
  Joe finally retired in 2021. He spent his first, and only, job-free summer happily
checking off the yard to-do list that he and Sheila had made over the years. They
enjoyed gardening, beautifying their already stunning yard, building a deck, and
completing small wood-working projects together. Joe also spent hours preparing
wood for the winter; re-tinning shed roofs; feeding his birds; building a fence with his
grandsons around ‘the big bush’ that he wanted to preserve; and, his favorite activity,
getting on his quad and checking the cattle. He was not a man who needed much to
be happy. He relished in the simple things in life: spending time with the family he so
adored, creating outdoor spaces for ‘the kids’ to enjoy (the snowhill in the winter and
the walking path through the bush in the summer), eating a home-grown and
home-cooked meal, having good conversations with good people, laying on his
favorite couch in the garden room, reading the Western Producer, laughing at his
favorite tv shows, delving into war and family history, cheering on the Green Bay
Packers, or checking the weather.
  Joe was diagnosed on December 16, 2021 with pancreatic cancer that had spread
into his liver. After a 25-day battle, he passed away at the Regina General Hospital
with his devoted wife by his side. Joe’s unwavering love for Sheila was even more
evident in his final days. He was asked, “What’s one piece of advice you’d leave your
grandkids?” to which he replied, while looking at Sheila in the doorway of his hospital
room, “Marry the right person.”
  Joe was predeceased by his son, Troy, his parents, Allan and Grace, his father-in-law,
Ben Soke, and his nephew, Tyler Soke.
  Joe will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Sheila; his son, Chris, daughter-in-law,
Loni (Kitzul) and their children: Alex, Jake, and Mila; his daughter, Kim, son-in-law,
Derek Targerson, their daughter, Winnie, and their baby on the way; his
mother-in-law, Alva Soke; his siblings: Ewen Morrison (Shirley), Ken Morrison (Lynn),
and Ted Morrison (Toni); his siblings-in-law: Greg Soke (Shirley), Bruce Soke, Kathy
Soke, and Brian Soke (Dana); his many cherished nieces and nephews and their
children; his cousins and aunts near and far; and his many dear friends and
  In Joe’s final days, two thoughts comforted him: knowing he would soon be reunited
with Troy, and that he would soon join the soil he spent his life working with.

A memorial service was held on February 24, 2022 at 2:00 pm from the Saltcoats Community Hall with Rev. Luanne Hrywkiw officiating.  Interment followed in the Saltcoats Town Cemetery.  Live streaming will begin at 1:50 please click on the link provided

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Saltcoats Cemetery Fund in memory of Joe.  Donations may be sent to Town of Saltcoats Box 120 Saltcoats, SK S0A 3R0 please make cheques payable to the Town of Saltcoats.

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Memorial Tree
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Memorial Service
February 24, 2022

2:00 PM

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