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Obituary: Harper, Joyce (Cherniak)

Age 87

HARPER, Joyce (Cherniak) (Age 87) Died peacefully in her sleep August 15, 2013 in Spokane, WA, age 87, surrounded by family. Joyce was born March 28, 1926 in Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba, Canada to Lena and Frank Cherniak. Joyce embraced life and its changes with courage. Joyce grew up on a farm and attended a two room school through eighth grade. She wanted to go to high school and so moved into the city of Winnipeg to live with relatives as a young teen. After graduation she became the first woman accounts manager for Canada Packers. Weekends were often spent back at the Beach for dances and it was there she met a city boy named Don Harper. Joyce married Don in 1950 and they celebrated a life together until Don’s death in 2012. Don and Joyce moved to Los Angeles, CA where their three children were born in 1953. As Don’s job moved across the country, so did the family. Joyce trained in real estate and managed all the moves, as well as finding new schools and a new job for herself in each city. She never shrank from moving; instead she made each move an adventure for her children. After retirement she started college, working toward an accounting degree. When the Dean discouragingly told her, “Mrs. Harper, you’ll be over 65 when you graduate” she famously replied, “Dean, I’ll be 65 whether I graduate or not” and continued in her course work. In 1990 Don and Joyce arrived in Liberty Lake, WA as a “temporary” move, to help with their first grandchild. Joyce loved the Spokane area and had many friends here, young and old. She enjoyed her friends in book clubs and the Liberty Lake Newcomers club. She volunteered for Meals on Wheels and the YWCA Domestic Violence program. Joyce was a loving mother to her children Deborah Harper (Robert Gilles); Scott Harper (Mary Jordan Harper); Abigail Harper (Mark Flanegan) and four grandchildren; Forrest, Frank and Jack Gilles and Gwen Flanegan and a stepgrandaughter and step great granddaughter Stella Kent and Aurianna Kent all of who miss her dearly. A memorial service will be held on October 26 from 11am to 1pm at the Hennessey Valley Funeral Home.1315 Pines Rd. Spokane Valley, WA 99206. Memorial donations may be made to the YWCA Domestic Violence Program in Spokane.