June 16, 1937 - May 18, 2020 Joan Caroline Wilbur selestel-lot was born on June 16th, 1937 in Harrison Mills, BC, Canada. She lived a life filled with prayer, generosity, and Catholic and Native tradition. One of her strongest teachings that she received from both of her parents was respect and humility. Joan's teachings from her elders have been passed down to her family and community and will not be forgotten. On May 18th, 2020, she said her last prayer with us before she made her journey to be with our Lord. Joan grew up alongside the Fraser River in British Columbia, daughter to Joseph Pennier and Jean Pennier (Willoughby) on the original territory of the Scowlitz First Nation. At the young age of 5 she was taken to St. Mary's Residential Boarding School in Mission, BC. Following her completion she enrolled in nursing school in Vancouver and graduated with a LPN degree. From there she worked at Essindale Hospital in Port Coquitlam as a nurse. In the summer of 1958, at the Stommish Water Festival, her love of dancing caught the attention of her future husband Marvin Wilbur Sr. Soon after, they were married and started a beautiful family and a marriage that has lasted 60 years. Joan and Marvin were married at St. Mary's campus in Mission BC in August of 1960. She became a US citizen and a Swinomish Tribal member after the start of their marriage. Joan had numerous occupations from working at Washington State Ferries to nursing homes to starting her own businesses. Marvin and Joan built a rewarding life by understanding the importance of generosity and compassion. Joan pursued many endeavors and had many successes. Through her time on the Swinomish Senate, she oversaw the following developments of the health clinic, dental clinic, housing, addition of the casino, smokehouse, and Spiritual Center at St. Paul's. Joan contributed to the vision of having a holistic community for the Swinomish people. Joan was a part of many gaming, fishing, and intertribal initiatives. She was a woman of strong Catholic faith most active with St. Paul's and St. Mary's Parishes. It was her desire for her grandchildren to attend Immaculate Conception Regional School. She participated as a school commissioner for many years. She spent many hours volunteering her time for the betterment of ICRS and the Catholic Church. Joan was a self-taught culinary artist and spent countless hours baking, cooking, and canning. One thing she cherished above all was spending time with family. She enjoyed watching her family play competitive sports and other activities, spend time tending to her garden, and share home-cooked meals together. Joan had a deep respect, passion, and appreciation for her traditional ways. Something she looked forward to every year was the Canoe Journey where the songs and dances uplifted her spirits and gave her strength. Joan will be missed dearly by her family, loved ones, and friends. Her life will always be cherished. Joan was preceded in death by her parents Joseph Pennier and Jean Pennier (Willoughby); grandparents George Pennier and Alice Hall; great-grandparents Minnie Peters and Richard Willoughby; brother John Pennier (Uncle Baldy). Joan is survived by her husband Marivn Wilbur Sr.; children Lenora Cook, Marvin Wilbur Jr. (Brenda), and Michael Wilbur Sr. (April); grandchildren Sean Wilbur, Jordan Wilbur, Garrett Wilbur (Abi), Michael Wilbur Jr., Nicole Wilbur, Jonah Cook, Anna Cook, and Sarah Cook; great-grandkids Tatum Wilbur and Braxton Wilbur. Numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. To offer Joan's family your condolences and share memories online, you may go to www.kernfuneralhome.com. Funeral arrangements are under the care of Kern Funeral Home.
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