'She did everything with passion': Watson Lake remembers Joyce Armstrong

People in Watson Lake are mourning a longtime resident and businessperson who left a mark on the community.

Joyce Armstrong died on Boxing Day at age 90 at the Watson Lake Hospital.

She moved to Canada from England after meeting her first husband during the Second World War. They settled in Watson Lake where she then lived for more than 50 years, never losing her Yorkshire accent. 

Armstrong's daughter Tor Forsberg says it's been touching to get calls from across Yukon and read people's tributes to her mother, including many messages on the community's Facebook page, Watson Lake Sunshine. 

Forsberg says her mother was in good health until her final days.  

Armstrong had served on the Yukon Housing Board and Yukon Heritage Resources Board. She was also involved with the Signpost Seniors community group. 

4-H, Watson Lake Rodeo Association

Armstrong helped run equestrian events in Watson Lake. This includes working with 4-H and the Watson Lake Rodeo Association, which was later named the Watson Lake Riding Association.

"My mom rode horses in England and never lost her passion for horses. A few months ago she was going out to the grounds here and taking carrots to horses," Forsberg said. "She rode on a horse and wagon at our Discovery Day parade this August."

Forsberg remembers her mother as full of energy. A few years ago she insisted on making her way up to a booth to announce an equestrian show.

"The announcer's booth was up a ladder. I think she was in her eighties and she climbed the ladder and helped announce the horse events," Forsberg remembers.

Armstrong was also a gold-medal winner at the Yukon Senior Games. 

"She did everything with passion it's just hard to imagine that kind of vitality is just gone, because she maintained that and her amazingly quick wit, until almost the very end," Forsberg says.

Sportsman Motel, Murdoch's gift store

Armstrong was married three times and widowed twice.

She helped run the Sportsman Motel in Watson Lake for years and also Murdoch's gift store. She also worked with her second late husband in an expediting company that supplied mining operations around Watson Lake.

Former mayor of Watson Lake Richard Durocher says she was well respected. 

"We always took her opinion under advisement and tried to incorporate it into decisions," he said. "She had 50 years of experience living here, so she had seen it all." 

Fellow Watson Lake resident Jenny Skelton says, "She was a very classy lady, she had a great sense of humour and always was interested in people. She was well loved in the community. I would say it's the end of an era because she did things quietly in the background but she was feisty too. If she had an opinion about something you'd hear about it." 

Armstrong is survived by her husband Lorne Armstrong, three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.