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Born: Jul 30, 1916

Date of Passing: Feb 03, 2021

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(nee ARNDT)

Ruby Joyce, who began a 43-year career teaching career in a tiny, one-room schoolhouse and ended it as a city principal, died February 3, 2021, after 104 remarkable years during which she met two global pandemics, two world wars and the Great Depression with grace, faith, good humour and unbreakable spirit.
Ruby was born in a farmhouse outside Paynesville, Minn., on July 30, 1916. In 1922, her family were persuaded by relatives to homestead near Taber, AB, where land was plentiful and the climate was fine. But after six years of drought, the family moved again to Warren, MB. There, Ruby attended Warren Consolidated School and later completed high school in Stonewall.
During the Great Depression, money was too tight for Ruby to attend university immediately, but her father sold some cattle so she could attend Winnipeg Normal School and get new glasses. A one-year course allowed Ruby to teach anywhere in Manitoba up to Grade nine, but jobs were scarce, especially for new teachers with no experience.
Thanks to a family acquaintance, Ruby got a meeting with a senior education official at the Manitoba Legislature, who told her, from behind his huge mahogany desk, that he had a waiting list of 500 teachers and "they ought to lock the Normal School door and throw away the key." After a few minutes of paper shuffling, he offered her a job at a school in boggy country, 10 miles from one town and 18 from another, where she'd live in a tiny two-room cottage on the school grounds. That was how, at age 19, Ruby took her first teaching job at Rocklands School.
She taught for six years in one-room rural schools then moved to graded schools, teaching in Lilyfield, Stonewall, Swan River, Cartwright and La Riviere.
At Cartwright, she met Claude Joyce, a fellow teacher, and they were married in 1957. She and Claude lived and taught in Flin Flon for many years, with Ruby acting as teaching principal at Birchview Elementary School, and later teaching grades one to six at Willowvale School.
After many years in Flin Flon, where Ruby and Claude had wonderful friends and indulged their love of square dancing, they moved to Winnipeg in 1961, and built their riverfront dream home along the Red River on Henderson Highway, where she lived for more than 50 years.
Ruby taught high school math at Garden City (where her students included the Bachman boys - she recalls Randy as a great student), before becoming a teacher, vice-principal and guidance councillor at Edmund Partridge Junior High. She loved the teaching, but said she cared less for trying to keep teenaged girls on the straight and narrow.
She went on to become principal at Centennial Elementary School, before ending her teaching career in 1978 at Elwick School.
After retiring, she wondered how she ever had time to go to work, keeping herself busy by caring for Claude and her mother, and tending to the award-winning garden she and Claude nurtured at their home for decades.
Ruby went on to live at River Ridge, Maples Personal Care Home and Kildonan Personal Care Home, where she made friends with her caring disposition and kindness.
Ruby, who maintained her keen intellect and gentle good nature until her final days, will be fondly remembered by the thousands of students whose lives she touched, her community at Albright Church, her many friends and her family, who will remember her generosity, her boundless capacity for love and her unsinkable energy.
Ruby was predeceased by her parents, Herman and Olga Arndt, her husband Claude, her sister Lucile Palas, her stepdaughter Beverley Joyce, and sons-in-law, George Schmidt and Alvin Gervais.
She is survived by her stepdaughter Claudia Schmidt, and four grandsons, Christopher, Eric, Jonathon (a.k.a. Joff) (Mary Agnes Welch), and David Schmidt. Ruby is also survived by one great-granddaughter and two nieces.
The family would like to extend special thanks to Ruby's many friends, caregivers and companions who helped care for her in her final years, particularly Donna Buhay, Dale Dimaapi and Sheila Reid.
Details on a memorial service will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Albright Church or a charity of your choice.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Feb 06, 2021

Condolences & Memories (11 entries)

  • We were so sorry to hear of Ruby’s passing! A lot of good times and memories together at the farm in Warren. We were neighbours, just a 1/2 mile away from each other. Mr and Mrs Arndt were such great cooks and hard workers. We farmed a lot together too! Sending our deepest sympathy! - Posted by: Gordon McDonnell and Family (Dear Friends ) on: Mar 11, 2021

  • Ruby and Claude tried to teach me square dancing in Flin Flon when I was 14 but I never could do- see -do to meet their high standards. Claude had better success teaching me chemistry in Grade 11 and 12. A remarkable couple. - Posted by: Bryan Newton (Former Student) on: Feb 12, 2021

  • My mom and dad were close friends and square dancers with Claude and Ruby from their time in Flin Flon in the 50’s and maintained that close friendship after the Joyce’s moved to Winnipeg. I kept in touch with them both by mail and phone and visited whenever I was in Winnipeg. Ruby was always so generous and welcoming and with such a zest for life. My condolences to Claudia and all the family. - Posted by: Barb O’kelly(Collison) (Friend) on: Feb 11, 2021

  • My thought and prayers go out to Ruby’s family and her companion Donna. I meet Ruby through Donna at the Kildonan Personal Care home, where my husband was a patient. Rudy was a individual that was loved by so many people. She was a gentle soul and could make conversation with anyone young or old. Her contagious smile, she always looked fantastic and enjoyed life to the fullest. Ruby I will miss you but God has a remarkable Angel in his hands know. May You Rest In Peace Ruby. God Bless! Sandy Sawchuk (Friend) - Posted by: Sandy Sawchuk (Friend) on: Feb 10, 2021

  • Dear Ruby.... you brought a lot of love to our family. We appreciated and loved how much you embraced all of our family and felt the same strong attachment to you. Your wit and humour and your amazing mind for details humbled me particularly.... even more so in your advanced years. What a bright and remarkable soul you were to us and to this world. You will be so missed but we know you lived long and well. We love you my dear. Bev, Trevor, Jennifer, Kathy and Lindsay and families. 💗💗💗 - Posted by: Bev Jarvis (Friend ) on: Feb 07, 2021

  • What a Life! What a Woman! 104 years and she deserved each and every one of them. Heaven is getting one very special lady. Rest In Peace!! - Posted by: Debbie Schmidt (Student at Centennial School) on: Feb 07, 2021

  • Mrs Joyce was my principal at Centennial school from kindergarten to grade 6. Never realized what a pioneer she was to be a female principal in the 60’s. A real role model for her female students. I have fond memories of Mrs Joyce. Only had to go to the office once for swearing ... she was a kind woman. May she RIP. Sincerely Sylvia Savoie (Wutschke) - Posted by: Sylvia Savoie (Former student) on: Feb 07, 2021

  • I remember Ruby well from her days of visiting her mother at Middlechurch Home where I was working. Also spotted her in the ad for a home where she was living at the time, and only a couple of days ago, as I saw the current ad, found myself wondering where she was. She was a very special lady, and will be remembered well. - Posted by: pat psooy (Acquaintance) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • Ruby's obit in today's Free Press just brought back many old memories of Herman and Olga and of Ruby and Claude. My parents (Charlie and Maimie Granger), now deceased were very good friends of The Arndts - both in Warren and after they moved in to Winnipeg. At times when my Dad would have hospital stays - Mom would stay with the Arndts and Herman would take her to the St Boniface Hospital in the morning and then pick her up in the late afternoon and there would be a lovely meal ready for them at home - so much appreciated. I would take my Mom and a friend and old neighbour of the Arndts - Norma Hogg - and we would have a lovely visit, lunch and yard tour at Claude and Ruby's. Lots of memories. I truly enjoyed reading the well written obituary of a lovely lady - condolences to her family and friends. Take care. Barb (Granger) Riddell - Posted by: Barb Riddell (Long time family friend from Warren) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • I am sorry to hear of the passing of my former principal at Centennial Elementary School. I have very fond memories of Mrs. Joyce. As a young girl I had won a local newspaper contest called Cappy Dick. I won a complete set of the World Book Encyclopedia...a big deal in those days. I had my picture in the paper and a short bio. Mrs. Joyce made a point of displaying that article in the school display case and making an announcement over the PA system congratulating me on my accomplishment. It made me feel so special. I was a pretty shy girl so this event brought with it a lot of attention. To this day, her actions bring a smile to my face. She was a lovely, kind, intelligent woman and a fabulous principal. From the sounds of it, she maintained her best qualities throughout her life. The educational system was a better place because of her. I’m sure she left her mark on many students. Oh...and I became a teacher myself! - Posted by: Susan Fleisher (Former student) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • My Mom was an Education Assistant at Elwick and spoke fondly of Ruby. I think they met for tea once in awhile after they retired. - Posted by: Ava Gaber (My Mom worked at Elwick School ) on: Feb 06, 2021

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