Remembering Joyce Bondesen West 1931 - 2012


Elaine "Joyce" Bondesen was born in Calgary, Alberta on February 3, 1931 to Sigard and Florence (Dot) Bondesen. At the age of nine her father passed away and shortly thereafter her sister Marie died of spinal meningitis. Her mother worked as a tailoress at the Hudson Bay Company and raised Joyce and her older brother Bud. Several years later her mother married Reg Arkell (known to Joyce and all her friends as "Uncle Reg"). Upon graduating from high school she was employed by Midwest Paper Company until 1953 when she changed employment and went with Imperial Oil where she worked in the Land Department. She married John West on April 27, 1957, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 1959 they were transfered to Strathmore, Alberta where John was in charge of the Detachment. They were transferred to McLennan, Alberta in 1962 where they remained until being moved to Red Deer in 1969 and then to Ponoka in 1974. 


Photo by Connie More, Oct. 7, 2009

At Strathmore and McLennan the family lived in RCMP detachment buildings. (office, jail and family home all in one building.) Joyce was like the "second man" on the detachment answering the phone, operating the police radio, making meals for prisoners, acting as matron and assisting detachment members searching and escorting female prisoners. Joyce was also like a mother to the single members on her husbands detachments. Many of the men called her "Mom". Joyce was active in the McLennan Golf Club and Snowmobile Club, tought Sunday School and volunteered at the McLennan Hospital. While raising a family, Joyce was a bookkeeper for Bruins Plumbing in Red Deer and the IGA grocery stores in central Alberta. She was very involved in Eastern Star and served as the Worthy Matron in Battle River Chapter at Ponoka in 1979 and 1984.


    Joyce and John had two children Ken, born in Calgary in 1960 and Bob born at McLennan in 1963.  John and Joyce retired in 1991. Joyce's love for travel and RVing took them throughout Canada, Mexico, Alaska and USA. Some of her more memorable trips were to Europe, China and the cruise with her family to Alaska to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. 


    From 1991 until Joyce's passing on July 30, 2012 they also wintered in Mesa, Arizona. 


   Joyce loved entertaining family and friends whether it be at their home in Red Deer, in their motor home or at their winter home in Arizona. Spending time with her grand children was also very important to her. She will always be remembered for her humor, thoughtfulness and kindness towards others.