Joyce Desjarlais

Obituary of Joyce Ann Desjarlais

Joyce Ann Desjarlais of Red Deer AB, at the age of 69 years, passed away into Gods graces after losing her battle to liver cancer on February 26, 2023. Joyce was diagnosed in August 2017, and being a true warrior, she fought back and blessed us all with another five and a half years of having her in our lives…... Still not enough time.


Joyce was born July 23,1953 in Killam AB, to proud parents, Herbert and Evelyn Desjarlais. Joyce was the seventh of eight children. She started her schooling in the small hamlet of Strome AB. After completing elementary school, her family moved to Stettler AB where she attended Jr. High School and then attended William E. Hay High School.


After high school, she traveled and spent some time in Ashcroft BC, then moved to Edmonton AB where she worked at Alberta Health Services for two years. She then moved to Calgary AB where she secured a job with Guaranty Trust for the next five years. Joyce always had been a hard worker and an outstanding employee. She had her hopes set for a job at the Red Deer Regional Hospital as she could then use her great secretarial skills. She decided to move to Red Deer AB and work at the Canada Trust Bank, while waiting for a position to open at the hospital. After two years at the bank an opening came up and she was hired to work in admitting. She loved her job at the hospital and worked there for eleven years.


During this time Joyce met her soon to be husband Ben Lehr. They married in the summer of 1980 and sadly, but cordially they divorced four years later. A couple years later Joyce met and shared a life with Richard Cunningham. Together they brought into this world, a beautiful baby boy named Curtis Richard. Born on February 28,1987.


Joyce was such a happy, proud mom. Soon after she became a single parent. She worked hard to make a good home for her son and herself. It wasn’t until March 23, 2005 that she first became a grandma to a little boy “Kai Aiden”. Then on November 26, 2007. Joyce was once again blessed with a second beautiful grandson “Jace Ethan”. She wore the title ‘Grandma’ with much pride and joy!


Joyce had many struggles in her life, but still tried to live her life to the fullest and to the best of her ability. She enjoyed camping, loved the challenge of putting puzzles together, preferred “winning” playing crib, and liked to curl up and watch a good movie. She recently found a new passion, going to church on Sundays and doing Bible Study. But what she loved the most was helping others. Joyce would do anything for her family and friends. She had a way of making anyone that knew her, along with strangers, laugh. We will miss her humor, her kindness, her quirky personality, but mostly, we will miss her everyday presence in our lives.


Joyce will forever be loved, greatly missed and lovingly remembered by her son, Curtis Cunningham; grandsons Kai Brown and Jace Brown; siblings, Jeanne (Lee) Garbe-Wylie, Cyril (Judi) Desjarlais, Glenn (Gloria) Desjarlais, Dale (Alice) Desjarlais, and Valerie (Johnny) Christians; several nieces, nephews, and cousins as well as an abundance of old and new friends. Joyce was predeceased by her parents, Evelyn Desjarlais (1976) and Herbert Desjarlais (1984), and brothers Alvin “Hootch” Desjarlais (1974) and Wilfred Desjarlais (2005).


A Memorial Service to celebrate Joyce’s life will be held at the Impact Church, 5833 – 53 Avenue, Red Deer, Alberta on Saturday, May 6, 2023 11:00 a.m..


If desired, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Joyce’s name, directly to The Alberta Cancer Foundation. Condolences to Joyce’s family may be emailed to Please indicate “Desjarlais” in the subject line.


Arrangements in care of

Meaningful Memorials Funeral Service

A locally owned cremation and funeral provider

serving Red Deer and all of Central Alberta


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