The Reston Recorder chose Joyce Marsh of Pipestone as the Senior Spotlight for the month of March.
Joyce was born in her parents, Cliff and Mabel Dodds’ farm home located in NE 17-6-28 in R.M. of Albert in the 1942 threshing season. She will turn 78 in July and has an older sister Doreen, and an older brother Bob.
“Our family moved in November 1944 to 30-7-26 in RM of Pipestone adjacent to the Pipestone Creek. We called it ‘The Creek Farm’. This large house was previously owned by Senator Robt. Forke,” explained Marsh. “We left there in 1953, but the years at the Creek Farm provided the best memories of childhood for my siblings and all the cousins who visited.”
Memories from those years for Joyce include swimming in the creek, skating down the creek, raising sheep, turkeys, and crop, cattle, riding horseback, picking saskatoons, and fishing. “As a child I didn’t see the downside of creek farming: aphids, floods and windstorms that blew the newly built barn into the creek.” Joyce has a photo of her mom on horseback bringing the cows in to milk, swimming them across the high water. Since then a dike has been built to prevent flooding. “We later moved to Pipestone into a house that Dad had built on 7th Street.”
“After counting cars at the junction of Hwy. 2 and 83, Dad decided there was enough traffic to build a gas station and later a motel called Dodds Drive In,” said Marsh. “It was at this time the first oil boom was happening in Virden and area, so there was increased traffic through that junction. My cousin and I were the ‘car hops’ and later waitresses and housekeeping, pumping gas and cooking ‘nip and chips’. The South West Manitoba Feeder Cattle Assoc., now Pipestone Livestock Auction, was started, and with that traffic plus oil, it was a busy place.”
Joyce attended school by walking through the clay lane for ½ mile to catch a school van, team and sleigh in winter to meet up with the school bus (actually a converted war ambulance) at Hwy. 83. Moving into town just two blocks from school was a nice change. “I didn’t mind school but in the teen years, looked forward to the dances in Pipestone hall,” said Marsh.
Eventually the Drive In was sold and the Dodds family moved to a farm south of Pipestone adjacent to Hwy. 83.
This was a farm her grandparents had previously owned. By this time Joyce’s sister was married, her brother was going to college, and the Alberta oilfield was calling her family for a work/summer vacation and to see Doreen and husband and their new babies at Drayton Valley, AB.
“The Percy Marsh family had moved from Spy Hill to south of Pipestone across the road from where we lived, two brothers and three sisters and their parents Mabel and Percy,” said Marsh. “Tragically, Percy was killed in a vehicle/train collision at the uncontrolled Scarth railway crossing on a foggy December night, leaving wife, Mabel, and their young family. Neighbours worked together to help them through this time.”
“We had kept a colt in all the moves at the Edwards’ farm and we asked the neighbour to break it in…Allan Marsh was that neighbour, the horse was Judy. We attended rodeos and fairs where Judy carried us to barrel racing and roping winnings.”
Allan and Joyce were married in Pipestone United Church May 27, 1961. They raised four children, who blessed them with nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.
In 1962, Joyce and Allan purchased their home base of SE 2-7-26 in RM of Pipestone with no buildings at the time.
Allan and Joyce did some traveling over the years: Vancouver Island, where she worked at a chicken plant and Allan at a mill. Island life was not for them, so they travelled to Fort St. John for an extended visit with Allan’s cousin; eventually working on Henuset pipeline crew at Swan Hills and Rimbey, AB. They came back to a welding job in Brandon and worked on getting their farm established.
“We moved a little house and a little barn to our land and began our ranching life in 1968,” explained Marsh. “Through the years, we have raised chickens, sheep, pigs, cattle, including Registered Simmental from Seiger’s bloodline, light and heavy horse breeds for riding, roping and 35 years in PMU industry under Bar M Stock Ranch Ltd. We saw the time for change and our son purchased our home quarter and we moved to Pipestone. Allan and I developed a motto: go wherever you are invited. Allan passed away in May 2017 and I still reside in Pipestone close to family and ranch life.”
Occupations throughout Joyce’s life include: waitress, rancher, wife, mother, enumerator, customer service at Royal Bank - Souris, Tupperware Manager; 1997 to present Lay supply Worship Leader, Marriage Commissioner, Celebrant of Life Presider; 1998-2006 Councillor RM of Pipestone; 2007 to 2014 Custom Software Solutions, Virden, MB.
Achievements that Joyce would like to reflect on include: a life with family, friends and good neighbours.She was the first woman councilor in RM of Pipestone. “The first spring on council, my ward was inundated with excessive high water levels. I learned to appreciate the farmers who took responsibility and continued farming the land in tough circumstances. I also attended the inaugural meeting of amalgamation of urban and rural municipalities, now AMM.”
She has no regrets.
Hardships: fortunately none of a lifelong nature, just some things that have to be overcome with faith and trust.
When asked what growing old means to her, Joyce replied: “My mother lived to be 100, Dad died at age 71, my husband died at 80, his Dad in his fifties. I really don’t know what old is except in attitude. I think growing old means you have gained some wisdom, not older - but elder.”
Joyce’s hobbies and pastimes include: music, skating, sewing, quilting, traveling, bowling, Red Hatting, swimming, camping and campfires. “We have travelled to many places but all in North America, many trips to the U.S., the western provinces as well as Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario. I haven’t been to the territories or most of the Maritimes as of yet. I hope 2020 is my year to see more of Manitoba and enjoy Manitoba’s 150 celebrations. On my bucket list: go sailing.”