Our beloved mother, Joyce Milgaard passed away with family at her side on March 21, 2020 at the age of 89 years.
She will be lovingly remembered by her children, sons David (Cristina) and Chris (Kathy), and daughters Susan and Maureen (Kelly) as well as numerous relatives and friends. She was predeceased by her loving husband Lorne.
She will also be dearly missed by her friends at the First Church of Christ Scientists and all the staff, friends and wrongfully convicted individuals who worked alongside and shared time with her while working with Innocence Canada.
Joyce was warm, caring, thoughtful, loving and selfless. She was a campaigner for good and justice. Joyce loved life and lived it to the fullest. She was afraid of nothing and no one. Joyce commanded perfection in everything she did and always gave 100 percent so others could have better lives and be better than they are.
Most important of all, though, is the way she loved us all.
As though life’s daily challenges weren’t enough, through the circumstances of her life Joyce added to her plate the task of taking on and eventually overcoming the entire Canadian justice system. She did this with unwavering commitment to David’s plight, and with the power to persuade so many Canadians all across the country. The public part of the story always has a happy ending now, because David was freed and exonerated. The private part of the story is that this outcome was a longshot, and those who were closest with Joyce knew the immense frustration she often felt. She knew all too well the lyric penned by the Tragically Hip that ‘no one’s interested in something you didn’t do”. Yet, inch by inch, she changed it so that a lot of people were interested, and not just in David’s case but in all cases of wrongful convictions. In the immediate aftermath of David’s case, the Department of justice significantly changed how it evaluated wrongful conviction claims. She argued incessantly for the establishment of an independent commission, separate from the Department of Justice, and it looks like that will be part of the mandate of the current government. Joyce was a driving force for justice in Canada and has left a permanent mark that people can see and reflect upon forever.
Joyce was introduced to Christian Science in 1965 just a few short years before David was arrested. She had learned enough though to know that it would be her faith that would and could guide her through each day.
Joyce had been an active member of the Christian Science Church in Winnipeg, in Ottawa, and frankly wherever home had been. She served in many capacities: as a Christian Science practitioner; a Christian Science nurse; the Administrator of High Ridge House, a nursing facility for Christian Scientists in New York; and in other leadership positions. Joyce always attributed her strength to her faith, and most importantly, she lived her faith. The words of a hymn may hint at the source of Joyce’s graciousness, often attested to by family, friends, and all who had the opportunity of knowing her.
When Jesus our great Master came
To teach us in his Father’s name,
In every act, in every thought,
He lived the precepts which he taught.
So let our lips and lives express
The holy gospel we profess;
So let our works and virtues shine,
To prove the doctrine all divine.
Thus shall we best proclaim abroad,
The honors of our Saviour, God,
When His salvation reigns within,
And grace subdues the claim of sin.
(The Christian Science Hymnal, No. 386:1–3)
A Celebration of Joyce’s life will be held in the summer.
In lieu of flowers, Memorial donations can be made to the Christian Science Reading Room Outreach Program or a charity of your choice.
The family wishes to send a special thank you to the staff at West Park Manor for their care and compassion.
“Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.”< back to obituary listing