On Sunday March 15, 2015, Joy (Lola) Brouwer passed away. She is survived by daughters Diane Thomas (Ryan) of Edmonton, Lesley Ballhausen (Tom) of Pemberton B.C. and son Grant Stockwell (Monique Mehl) of North Vancouver, B.C., as well as by stepson Jim Brouwer (Linda), stepdaughter Connie Pearce and 11 grandchildren. She also leaves three siblings, Carol Klein, Bud Finley (Jean) and Robin Finley (Mitzi). Also, like a daughter to Mom, Cynthia Kereluk. At Joy’s request, there will be no memorial service.
Joy spent her formative years in the warm Trinidadian sun. Her dad “Brownie” was a driller for Shell Oil during and after World War II. With the family in the drilling camp, Joy’s mom Lillian, a teacher by trade, homeschooled the kids at a table in the shade beneath the stilted home they lived in. The oldest of the kids, she was precocious, one time deciding to lead her siblings in an attempt to drive a car, at 8; they did – though luckily just in circles. She also developed more practical skills, becoming a strong tennis player, and a seamstress for the family. She loved to dance to the steel drums so a love for Harry Bellefonte started early.
Returning to Canada for high school at Eastglen, then Westglen, in Edmonton, she was a bit of an exotic creature from the tropics and captivated some attention from the boys. After school she crossed paths with Dunc Stockwell at a chance meeting with friends Ralph McMillan and Shirley Laidlaw. They spent the next 25 years together and Joy was an amazing mom with as many talents as she put her mind to: cook, baker, seamstress, yoga instructor, gardener, creator of elaborate crafts - and when Joy and Dunc danced, all of her Trinidadian rhythm and Dunc’s smooth swing made the dance floor part.
Joy spent another 25 years with husband Jake Brouwer and they enjoyed a lot of quality family time with the growing brood of collective grandkids – 11 at final count. The grandkids came to love all the special things her kids loved about her, including her famous black cake with decadent white icing – best served chilled.
Throughout her life, in good times or bad, a calypso song would immediately bring a smile to her face and dancing would begin. Now free of the ailments that come with age, she surely is listening to a good Harry song and will “Jump in the line”:
…My girl’s name is Lola
I tell you friends, I adore her
And when she dances, oh brother!
She’s a hurricane in all kinds of weather
Jump in the line forever Mom. You will always be with us.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Joy to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.