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Joan Sarell

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Joan Sarell

December 25, 1934 - July 26, 2014


Joan Sarell (née Roberts) was born in a house on the shores of Tuc-el-Nuit Lake in Oliver on Christmas Day in 1934. She was nicknamed ‘Birdie’ by her mother, because ofher joy and her love of song. Her parents, Everal and Florence, had settled there a few years earlier to eventually establish an orchard. Her older brother Danny and younger brother Charlie still live in the area. During school she achieved academic awards and was voted as Okana-Quen Queen in 1953. She became Chairperson for the Oliver Teen Town. She then sought a career as a medical laboratory technician before marrying in 1959. She then gave birth to three children, Dean, Michael and Janice and has enjoyed her grandchildren Elyse, Matthew and Savanna. Her contributions to the community did not go unnoticed and she and her husband Terry were awarded Good Citizens of the Year in 1975. During the child rearing years she dabbled in many interests but finally purchased the Southwinds Motor Inn in 1979. It is probably during these last decades of operating the business and providing kind and caring training for staff, that she will be remembered by many. Joan was an iconic personality in Oliver and will forever be remembered in the community’s history.

Her granddaughter, Savanna, has summed up her feelings regarding Joan in her scrapbook:

She was such an inspiration throughout her life. My Grandma and my Grandpa were involved in the cancer society, historical society, the hospital society and the Rotary student exchange program. My Grandma took in many unfortunate people into her home. They came as strangers but let feeling part of the family. A big part of my Grandma’s life was owning the Southwind Inn. She took on a big leadership role whole operating the hotel and being part of many events in the community. She didn’t just own the hotel, she trained and educated many different people in the hospitality industry. I really hope that I can take after some of the traits my Grandma possessed. She showed absolute unselfishness, outgoing love, leadership, and everyday deeds of goodwill.

There will a Celebration of Joan’s life on Sunday, August 3rd at 3pm at Joan’s homestead (184 Gallagher Lake Road). Please feel free to bring bathing suits and lawn chairs.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity of your choice. 

Condolences and tributes may be directed to the family by visiting

Arrangements entrusted to Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service & Crematorium, Oliver & Osoyoos.


Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

From: Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service Staff

Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Karen Nelson
Relation: Close friends of the family

Joan has touched many people and she was very special to my family. A substitute grandmother, teacher and friend. She was thought of fondly and left ever lasting memories in our hearts and minds. Our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy. A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are still alive in our hearts and minds, through us, they live on. Please accept our heartfelt condolences, she will not be forgotten. May she rest in Peace.

Karen, Kyla, Marissa and Amber Nelson

From: Sandra Smith
Relation: friend

Condolences to Dean, Michael, Janice and families. Your Mom contributed greatly to Oliver, and I have lots of memories – dating back to when we were kids.
Sandra Smith

From: Lin Martinson
Relation: Friend of family

Mike, Dean and Janice,

Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your mom. She was a lovely lady and my prayers and thoughts are with you all.

Lin Martinson

From: Allan and Marilyn Mathieson
Relation: friends

Sincere condolences to Joan’s family. She was always a gracious lady.

From: Leigh Hammond
Relation: neighbor

I have had the good fortune to know Joan and the Sarell family for the past 25 years as neighbors, friends, employers and customers. Joan was a fine lady and will be sincerely missed. Rest easy Joan. Your legacy is one of positive contribution to the community and those that knew you.
Leigh Hammond

From: Mark and Audrey Silbernagel
Relation: Family friend

Our heartfelt condolences to Mike, Dean and Janice, and all of her family. We have many good memories of Joan and were sorry to learn of her passing. She was a great lady and a wonderful, giving person.
Mark and Audrey.

From: Harriett & Jacques Chave
Relation: Friend through her brother Charlie

We are sorry for your loss, and we care that your heart hurts.

From: Elsie Love
Relation: Bookkeeper at Southwinds

My condolences to family and friends.
I met Joan when my children and I first moved to Oliver 20 years ago.
An amazing woman in so many ways!

From: David mckelvey
Relation: Employee, friend

Joan was a great woman , I had the pleasure to work for Joan as a chef at the Southwinds hotel ,she was a generous fabulous employer and a good fiend as well ,Joan has always been in my thoughts and I feel blessed to have known her .

Service Schedule

  Funeral Service

Date & Time:
August 3, 2014
Beginning at 3:00pm

Sarell Homestead
184 Gallagher Lake Road
Oliver, BC Canada

There will a Celebration of Joan’s life on Sunday, August 3rd at 3pm at Joan’s homestead
(184 Gallagher Lake Road). Please feel free to bring bathing suits and lawn chairs.

184 Gallagher Lake Road
Oliver, BC Canada

Memorial Gifts

Memorial donations will be gratefully accepted to:
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity of your choice.

Thank You Notice

Send Flowers

Flower Fantasy Flowers & Gifts Inc.
6049 Main Street, Oliver, BC
Local: (250) 498-0088     Toll free: (844) 498-0088

Flowers on Main & Reis Boutique
5859 Main Street, Oliver, BC
Local: (778) 439-2270     Toll free: (800) 665-9983

Gems and Stems at Eastside
6496 Park Drive, Oliver, BC
(250) 826-0438

Polka Dot Door Floral Design Boutique
8522 Main Street, Osoyoos, BC
(250) 495-2226

Donate In Memory

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