August 1, 1957 – July 18, 2020
With broken hearts, we regret the delayed announcement of the sudden and unexpected passing of Donna C. Joe. She was admitted to St. Paul’s Hospital on July 18, 2020 and died in the early hours of the next morning.
Donna was the middle child born on August 1, 1957 to parents World War II veteran Walter D. Joe and his bride Yosh (Yasuko Chiba) in Vernon, B.C.
In Donna’s younger years, she participated in many activities and sports including B.C. Pairs Figure Skating Competition, travelling with the Vernon Girls Trumpet Band, grass hockey, swimming and billiards. She was also an accomplished downhill skier.
Growing up meant also putting in the time at the family’s businesses Joe’s Texaco, Valley Taxi, Joe’s Happy Acres farm and on the Chiba orchard and greenhouses. Fun was only after the job was done. All the while interacting with the general public, she developed an amazing ability in customer service which would follow her throughout her working life.
Branching away from the family businesses, she landed a job manning the Vernon Tourist information booth and also recorded the snow report for Silver Star Mountain. Following her interest in travel, Donna had a 25-year career as a corporate travel agent in Vancouver where she worked for Marco Polo Travel, Cantour Travel, MacDonald Travel, Harris & Koehler Travel, Global Travel Solutions and Advance Group Conference Management. Her love of travel took her and her husband all over the world during their 29 years together.
For the last ten years, she was the Head Receptionist “extraordinaire” at BFL Insurance performing her duties with attention to details. She was quickly recognized for her smiling face and side- splitting laughter which was heard throughout the office, infecting many to do the same.
She had an effect on many; couriers, building maintenance and security personnel. They would drop whatever they were doing to accommodate whatever Donna needed. They were always rewarded with a treat. No one left empty-handed.
Having lived in Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood for over 30 years, she became a familiar face to the many who encountered her walking to and from work, of course, stopping often to chat.
Donna’s cooking was revered by family, friends, neighbours, work mates alike. How does one get on that list?
Donna is sorely missed and survived by her husband of 25 years and soul partner Dieter Rupprecht, sister Victoria Ogasawara and sister-in-law June Joe, nieces Alexandra Ogasawara and Samantha Joe, aunts Pauline Chiba (Ian), Hazel Chong and Margaret Hamilton, uncle Tony Toy and many cousins in Vancouver, Vernon, Ottawa and London U.K.
Donna is predeceased by grandparents Stanley and Constance Joe, Genichi and Shu Chiba, parents Walter and Yasuko Joe, godparents Mike and Peggy Zemla, brother Brian Joe and brother-in-law Doug Ogasawara.
We would like to express a special thank you to retired EMT/neighbour Julia Zoetewey aka Jules (Jewel, you are) for your selfless act of bravery during this pandemic in performing CPR on Donna and spearheading the emergency response in Dieter’s absence.
A heartfelt thank you to the first responders from Fire Hall #7 on July 17, B.C. Ambulance paramedics and the St. Paul’s Hospital ICU team lead by Dr. J. Boyd, Dr. S. Kelium, the nursing team and social workers Sheri and Sophie for your best and valiant heroic attempts to restore Donna’s health.
We would also like to thank all those who have shared their grief and condolences with the family as well as those who have ensured that our nutritional needs have been met.
In honouring Donna’s sudden and untimely passing, let this heighten your own health awareness. Get regular medicals and seek immediate attention when sudden onset of symptoms occurs. Your health is your wealth.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Donna’s memory to a charity of your choice such as Union Gospel Mission, Food Bank, Heart and Stroke Foundation or Canuck Place.
A celebration of life will be held later in the new year.
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