In Memory of

Joan

Heath

Baumber

Obituary for Joan Heath Baumber

Joan Heath Baumber née Patriarche
April 18, 1938 - January 16, 2024

Joan passed away peacefully Tuesday, January 16, 2024, at Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, Aberta at the age of 85.

Joan was the surviving spouse of John Scott Baumber (died 2009), and mother to Michael (deceased 1997), Kirsten, Kate (Julie), Stephen (Rosemary), and grandmother to Charlotte and Brynn. She is survived by her younger brothers, John Jack and Tony Patriarche and predeceased by her brother, Michael.

Born in Winnipeg to Valence and Elizabeth (Betty) Patriarche, her father was an officer and pilot in the RCAF and her mother a doctor and pioneer of family medicine. Joan’s early life was as an ‘army brat’, raised on various air bases across Canada, the United States, and in the UK during World War II and the rebuilding efforts afterwards, until the family finally settled in Victoria, BC.

Joan completed her undergraduate and Masters Degree in Animal Biology at the University of Queens in Ontario, Canada. She worked as a research zoologist for many years, including a short stint at the University of Missouri doing NASA-funded research into small mammal hibernation, back when long space travel was being contemplated. After a series of moves for John’s career, the family moved to an acreage in Bragg Creek, Alberta in 1970. It was there that she raised four children and filled their lives with her love for animals, literature and music. She taught her children to sing and play musical instruments, to write, to ride and care for horses, to train and love dogs of all sizes, and tolerated her home becoming a shelter for endless rescue dogs, cats, mice, gerbils, rabbits, ducks, etc. She was well known for her love of chihuahuas. She inherited from her father a love for geology and spent her life collecting unique rock samples which she later parlayed into art projects. Joan was an activist at heart and often called in to, and wrote to, the CBC on a variety of topics that sparked her concern. She had quite the collection of CBC mugs, and even had one of her letters appear in a volume of Peter Gzowski’s “Morningside Papers”.

Her fierce intelligence and curiosity was matched only by her creative drive and talent, and all of this fueled her devotion to help build the burgeoning community of Bragg Creek. She was an accomplished painter and taught herself the craft of leatherworking. She was a founding member of the artist collective Bragg Creek Artisans and for many years helped organize craft sales and soup kitchen fundraisers. She helped found the Bragg Creek Performing Arts group, and worked to find theatre and musical acts that would perform at Elkana Ranch and later at the Bragg Creek Community Centre. A lover of music, Joan performed regularly herself as a member of the Bragg Creek Artisan Singers, who brought the joy of song to seasonal events and ‘old folks’ homes’. She helped found the Early Childhood Centre (the kindergarten) and had Bragg Creek declared a mission by the Anglican Diocese so that for many years Bragg Creek had a regular Anglican service held in the chapel at Camp Cadicasu. Joan also had a recurring column in the High Country News called “Jo’s Jottings” where she eloquently wrote on nature, biology, politics, and the joys (and challenges) of country living. An accomplished horsewoman from a young age, Joan worked with the Bragg Creek Light Horse Association to bring a yearly series of equitation and gymkhana horse shows to Bragg Creek. It was at these shows that many young riders learned the art of caring for horses, showing, and experienced the excitement of competition, first at Elkana Ranch and later at the Boyce Ranch.

Joan’s positive spirit and enduring resilience endeared her to the staff at Carewest Garrison Green, where she spent the last decade of her life reading, listening to music, going on outings, occasionally painting and enjoying the numerous, but all too brief visits from her family and friends.

A Service for Joan will be held in the summer of 2024. Please contact steve.baumber@telus.net for more information.
To view and share photos, condolences and memories of Joan with the family, please visit www.choicememorial.com.