Ruby Joanne Elizabeth Olson

In Memorial

Joanne was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on December 9, 1961. As the result of a stroke and after a 9 day family vigil at her bedside, in the early evening of Tuesday, January 14, 2014, at Vancouver General Hospital, while listening to The Old Rugged Cross, Joanne peacefully decided to not take another breath.

Joanne is survived by her mother Julie, husband Dan, daughter Amanda, son Brandon (Brooke), and grandsons Jaxon and Bentley. She is predeceased by her father Tony and brother Michael.

Joanne preferred not to be labelled. No matter what titles she carried – Daughter, Student, Liquor Worker, Union Organizer, Executive Assistant, Business Owner, Executive Director, Travel Agent, Wife, Mother, Grama or Community Volunteer – she was above all else, and at all times a Human Rights Social Activist – if she must be labeled, that is the one to use.

A memorial service honoring this incredible woman will be held on Saturday, January 25th, at the ACT Theatre, 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge, BC. Doors will open at 5:30, Service at 6:00 with a live music reception and light snacks to follow until 10pm. Patrolled parking underground.

Watch the video and audio stream of Joanne’s Service here:

In lieu of donations, live your lives safely, respectfully and practice random acts of kindness in her honour.

Expressions of sympathy can be made below.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Dear Dan and family,
    Our hearts are broken, but only through the healing power of love can we overcome our grief and sadness at this tremendous loss . We hold Joanne in a special place in our hearts and know that she suffers no more and that she is in a better place. Love to you all.

  2. To look at & Listen to Joanne you would never know anything was wrong. As that infectious Smile of hers was always there to make you feel so good. It’s incredible the hundreds of lives she touched. I always felt that she was an old soul and was wise beyond her years. Every last one of us who’s lives she has touched are truly honoured and blessed. The world was a much Brighter & Better place with her in it. The night you earned you’re Wings Sweet Angel was a Full Moon, so every Full Moon I will look up at it & think of you.

  3. The girls and I would like to send you our sincere and deepest sympathies and prayers. I know this is a deeply sad time for your family but God’s love will comfort you and give you his peace in time.
    Joanne was and always will be a dynamic presence in everyone’s life, and her Legacy of love for her fellow human beings will continue on through all of those she touched.

    Always there for you

    Sincerely Annie, Ashleigh and Natalie Boardman

  4. Dan to you and your family our heart and love go out To all of you.She has been a part of our family forever and we are all in awe of her strength and spirit we will never forget the little girl or the fine young woman she turned out to be ..

  5. My condolences to the family and friends of such a beautiful person inside and out. I never had the honor of meeting Joanne but I know she will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace Joanne.
    Love Daniel Bloch

  6. We will all miss you Joanne. I will always cherish the last 7 years of reconnecting with you and our many conversations. Despite becoming sick, you always maintained such optimisum, positive attitude and always took the time to ask about others. You were a one of a kind person, who has meant so much, to so many. RIP Jo!
    Vicky Smith (west end, Winnipeg friend)

  7. To

    Dan and her family;

    I am so saddened by the loss of Joanne …..I had a short time with her last year at the reunion and what a blessing that was for me….she was the first person I saw and the first person I shed tears with. You are very fortunate to have had Joanne in your life…I wish I could be there for her to celebrate her life. Sending my condolences .

  8. Joanne on your journey I hoped many Blessings from friends and family guided you to your destination. I am grateful we reconnected from our youth and it was wonderful to see how your life blossomed. Thinking of you in my thoughts with many Blessings sent your way…

  9. Rick & Donna Stock

    Dan you and your family are in our prays. Though we know that Joanne is in the arms of our Lord and Savior, those of us left behind know that she will be missed the world over. Her emails to my wife Donna Steinhauer date back into the 1990’s. Her love of family was so evident and so strong, that she is loved from afar by those of us whose life she touched in such a positive way. She will be missed. Please let your kids know how great her influence has been the world over.
    With all our love,
    Rick & Donna Stock, Fresno California USA

  10. Dearest Dan and family:
    Joanne was truly a blessing. I am very sadden by her passing, but grateful to have had her in my life. She was a true inspiration and treated all with respect, kindness and generousity. I will treasure the many memories I have had with Jo. Her smile and the sound of her laughter will never leave me as it casts a smile on me. May you Dan, Amanda, Brandon, Julie and family feel peace as my prayers and blessings are with you.

    “Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same.” Flavia Weedn. This is you my dear friend Jo!

  11. Дорогие мои!
    Примите моё сочувствие и сожаление. Джоанна была человеком с светлой душой, она любила жизнь и своих близких. Мы сохраним в памяти её прекрасную улыбку. Мы рядом с вами в этом горе, хотя живём в России.

  12. Somewhere over the rainbow is where you are my friend. You will be missed by many and loved by even more. Till we meet again love and hugs Gwen.

  13. Sheona Steinhauer Miller

    Dan, Brandon/Brooke, Jaxon, Bentley, Amanda, and Julie, our heartfelt sympathies are with you at this difficult time. Joanne was a treasure to all who met her. I personally am thankful having reconnected with my cousin in the last several years and having had the chance to have lunch with her in May will be forever remembered. God Bless you all. Sheona, Dwayne, Ceilidh, and Padraig Miller and Herb (Julie’s second cousin) and Bert Steinhauer.

  14. Dan & Family,
    I’m so sad to hear of the passing of such an amazing women!!You are in my prayers and thoughts through this difficult time.:( She was such an inspiration to all, a beautiful person with a beautiful heart.
    Much Love & Hugs,
    Maureen Holms & Family

  15. Dan and Family,
    Joanne was an amazing woman, sister and above all social activist and will be deeply missed. She accomplished so much in the time she had and leaves our world a better place due to her hard work. My deepest condolences to you all.

  16. Bea and Emil Shumey

    For our dear sweet Joanne. A beautiful photo and a beautiful lady. So happy that our lives crossed paths back in the 90’s and so sad that yours had to end so soon. Our happy memories,especially at Father and Son’s, will live on,as attributed by your crazy photos of us dancing on the tables or the bar!we had so many many laughs and our good trip together in my Miata!
    I never forget the day you and Dan pulled up to our house in a stretch limo to our Surrey house and announced you were married that day… and your outfit was so you- stunning colours and design! You were both so elated and so were we! A match made in heaven and someday it will happen again.
    Thank-you Joanne for being in our lives and through Facebook feeling very connected. The best being your visit this summer and ourimprompteau Mexican lunch in December. I am so happy we had these precious times together.Thank-you Dan for making it happen. We love you both and we will both miss her so much. Love Bea and Emil and thanking Labour College for bringing us all together!

  17. Dan and Family,

    Our heartfelt condolences go out to you and the whole family. Joanne was such an inspiring and comforting person to talk to – she will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of letting her in to their worlds.


    Beth & Ron Bacon, Winnipeg (MLCC friend & co-worker)

  18. Dan & family,
    I am so sorry for your loss.
    Joanne you will be greatly missed, your smile went on forever always making the people around you laugh and remembering old times. Your star will shine brightly as was your personality.
    I love you JoJo

  19. Dan, family and friends, I hope that the pain of the loss can be softened by doing what I do…I close my eyes and see Joanne’s smile…

  20. Phil and Dorine Neilson

    Dan and Family…. We are so saddened by the loss of Joanne. She was a wonderful person, LOVED by all. She was a inspiration and treated all with respect, kindness and generously . Jo You are a ANGLE and Your STAR will shine brightly as was your smile and personality. Dan We Love You and Your wonderful Family.. Jo we will love you for ever. You were such a great person. Love Phil and Dorine Neilson. XOXO.

  21. Joanne miss you my friend, having a cerveza for you right now. xx
    Dan and family words can’t be said to ease your pain, hugs to you all. You have all your wonderful memories. I will be thrre in spirit. Love and prayers, Dori

  22. Jim and Chris Coghill

    We are sorry for the loss of such a wonderful woman, so determined and strong. She has been called to work her magic on another plain. Dan you are in our thoughts, and we send love and light to you and the family. I will always remember the laughs we shared when she came to have her hair done, always so full of fun:) We feel inspired to carry on and stand up for what we believe in, she has shown us it’s okay to stand your ground. Know that she will be close forever, you are such a devoted, loving husband, thank you for sharing her with everyone. (((((HUGS))))) and love, Jim and Chris Coghill.

  23. Dear Dan and family,
    So sorry to lose such a wonderful woman who blessed so many here on earth. Heaven has an amazing angel in our dear Jo. Like many other of our westend friends in the Peg we are so grateful to spend time with the both of you at the reunion this past summer…definitely a treasured memory and a gift. She was always smiling and brought the best out in all who had the honour to be blessed to know Jo! Goodbye dear friend until we meet again love always and forever.
    My condolences to all the family.

  24. Serge and Debbie Susin

    Our condolences on your loss. Such void and sadness is left for all to bear. All who knew her and the community will never forget Joanne.

  25. to our Son Danny and grand children Amanda Grace, Brandon and Brooke, and great grand kids Jaxon and Bentley.In Dan in 1995 you married and gave Dad and I another daughter to love as family, she was such a beautifull blonde blue eyed tiny little person, with the biggest heart ever,she never complained just went on with life alway’s with a smile and kind word Jo you were our hero when it came to dealing with what life delt you,This makes you a teacher to all of us who loved you so much,Now you are our sweet sweet angel in Gods Keeping, If roses grow in Heaven God please give her one for us and bless it with a kiss. Rest in peace Ruby Jo. luv mom and dad.

  26. Dan, what can I say? The world has lost an amazing shining star but is a much better place for having Joanne in it. Her love of life, love for people and sense of justice helped so many people, myself included! I still remember our Take Back the Night event at Olson’s Playhouse. You were both such great supporters of the Women’s Centre and you inspired me so much in standing up to our local politicians. I am sure Joanne is making suggestions right now about how the next realm of being can be improved upon for the good of all. Take care Dan, I will see you Saturday.

  27. Dan and Family

    Dan I am so sad at the passing of Joanne. She was an amazing woman and fought a hard battle without ever complaining and carried on being a very strong girl and fighting for what she believed in. She is going to be missed by many people. Stay strong Dan and cherish the memories you have of you and Joanne. Love you Jo
    Take care of yourself Dan Love you Joan

  28. Dan and family;

    So sorry to hear about Joanne’s passing. She was an amazing woman and, although I didn’t know her well, I know she touched many many people in our community. I will always remember her beautiful smile, zest for life and compassionate nature. The work she has done in our community will be remembered by everyone – thank you for sharing her with us!


  29. Deborah and John Jamieson

    Dan, I was so sad to hear of Joanne’s passing and my heart hurts for you and your family. I am grateful that you both were able to visit us on Christmas Eve and I will forever remember Joanne’s beautiful smile on that day. Everyone has already stated what is so true – her courage and desire to help others are an inspiration and touched so many people’s lives.
    Thinking of you both .
    Deborah and John

  30. Lynda J. Lawrence

    A truly amazing woman who did so much for her community! This is a tragic loss for not only her family and friends, but for the community of Ridge Meadows where she touched so many lives. Dan, I am so sorry for your loss. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

  31. Rob and Claudia Keam

    Dan, so sorry to hear of the passing of your best friend ” Joanne” . Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family .
    Rob & Claudia Keam

  32. So sorry to hear of Joanne’s passing. She was such a joy to all who knew her. I send all the love and warmth I can possibly express to you Dan in this difficult time.

  33. Dan – sincerest condolences to you and your family. In the short time we knew both you and Joanne her zest for life was obvious to everybody. She lived life to the full. Treasure all the memories you have of your life together. Rest assured she will be remembered always.

    Love Karen and Graham x x

  34. I am so very sorry to receive this news. It took my breath away. She was at the Labour College when I met her (& Dan) in 1993. Her sunny disposition and and ever present support helped me get through the program. My heart goes out to her family; it is such a loss.

  35. Dear Dan,

    I’ve tried to write this message a hundred times but words seem of so little value during your time of sorrow. However, I want you to know that you are in my thoughts. My deepest sympathy to you, and your family.
    Love, Jean Bezusky

  36. Marla Gammel-Andres

    A limb has fallen from the family tree.
    I keep hearing a voice that says, “Grieve not for me.
    Remember the best times, the laughter, the song.
    The good life I lived while I was strong.
    Continue my heritage, I’m counting on you.
    Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through.
    My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest.
    Remembering all, how I truly was blessed.
    Continue traditions, no matter how small.
    Go on with your life, don’t worry about falls
    I miss you all dearly, so keep up your chin.
    Until the day comes we’re together again.

    Author Unknown

    Foe Dan and Family

  37. Dear Dan and family,

    It is always sad when we lose someone way before their time. It’s even sadder when that person leaves behind a loving and caring family and so many dear friends who will miss them terribly.

    Sorry for your loss Brother. We have all loss a good Sister.

    Peter Bailey
    Brampton, ON
    Labour College of Canada [Class of 1998]

  38. Ruby – From our initial meeting at U Way and down through the years, we had great fun putting the world to rights. Even when I moved to London, we kept in touch and you were so great at reminding me not to be corrupted by the Big Corporates and making sure I kept things in perspective! I loved our get-togethers at The Keg when I came over to visit. The laughter and talks will stay with me forever. Even though you can’t be here in person, I know you are not far away. I look forward to our next meeting. Luv ya sister xxx

    Dan, Amanda, Brandon – thinking of you all and sending you love and support across the waters. I know Ruby will have a great send off today. I hope that you can take comfort in the day’s activities. I know she will be looking down on you with a big smile on her face. Xxx

  39. Dear Dan,

    I am deeply saddened and extend my condolences.

    Carolyn Woloski

  40. Dan. This comes as a big sock to me Joanne was so young to pass away. I hope you and your Family can manage the loss of someone so special to your Family. Bill Steep.

  41. I am heart broken to have lost my best friend. Jo was always very important to me. I just did not know the depth of that importance until now. I will always have the memories. I want so much to go out for lunch again and talk about all kinds of things. She was a wonderful person, beautiful inside and out. She made a difference in my life. Her grace, charm, laughter and exceptional strength of spirit will always stay with me. She will remain in my heart and mind forever.
    Dan, Amanda, Brandon and Brooke… Please accept my heat felt condolences for your loss. She would have been so touched and proud of the wonderful Celebration of Life that you honored her with. Bless you all . Hugs and Love, Ildi

  42. Florence L. Nicholson

    Dear Dan,
    Some people cross your path on this journey called life, and leave a lasting impression. Joanne was that kind of a person! My deepest sympathy is with you and your family. Joanne will be so very missed in the community.
    Florence L. Nicholson

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