Joseph Nowlan

Obituary of Joseph Roger Nowlan

Joseph Roger Nowlan, May 16, 1933 -September 4, 2020
Roger died peacefully on Friday, September 4, 2020, at the age of 87, in Central Haven Care Home, Saskatoon, with family members by his side. He lived his life with humour, passion, and dedication to his family. His wife of over 65 years, Marie, had visited him that morning. Even as Roger passed gently from this world, his sense of humour prevailed while he visited quietly with family.
Roger was born and raised in Moncton, New Brunswick, to Joseph Nowlan and Barbara (Richard) Nowlan, the second youngest in a family of ten children. He was only a child during World War II, but he saw each of his older brothers join the Canadian Armed Services, and he lost his oldest brother, Yvan, when his plane was shot down over France. This didn’t deter Roger from joining the RCAF after a brief stint with the Canadian National Railway as a clerk.
As fate would have it, Roger was stationed at the Lac St. Denis, Quebec air force base near Morin-Heights, Quebec. It was in Morin-Heights that he met Marie Lund, who became the love of his life. They were soon married, on November 27, 1954, and that is when the lifelong adventure began. After leaving the Air Force, Roger’s talent and training took him to work with the CN Telegraph office, later to become CNCP Telecommunications, where he worked as a telecommunications equipment technician.
This took Roger and his family to jobs across Canada. In Moncton they began their family. They moved from Moncton with baby number one, then to Chatham, New Brunswick where number two was born. The next stop was Montreal, then with their three children they moved to Churchill, Manitoba where they would have children numbers 4 and 5. They lived in Fort William, Ontario for a short time before they moved to The Pas, Manitoba. There they enjoyed a busy social life and made lasting friendships. They also added children numbers 6 and 7 to the family. In The Pas, Roger enjoyed hunting and fishing.
The last move in his working career would be to Melville, Saskatchewan, where they stayed until after his retirement. In Melville, they added one more baby to the family and Roger became very involved in the local sports community. He loved curling and golfing which is where he earned his nickname Bolt Upright from some of the younger men. He continued to take the family on annual camping vacations all over the country and to visit Marie’s family in Manitoba.
Roger loved baseball and hockey, and having children involved in the sports was the only excuse he needed to get involved. He coached his sons at different times in both hockey and baseball. Marie and Roger both became very involved in the Minor Sports Association in Melville and Roger was the President for a time.  In the evenings during hockey season their children knew they could usually find their parents at the rink, at a hockey game or practice, often working in the concession.
Roger was known for his bilingual announcing from the penalty box at many hockey games, giving spectators and players the impression that they were at an NHL game. Roger became a baseball umpire and was recognized for his high standards, sense of fair play and sportsmanship.  He served on the Saskatchewan Baseball Association as an umpire mentor for the region, impacting many young adults positively.
Combining the love of baseball and hockey with his love of driving, he drove the bus for Minor Sports teams, both baseball and hockey, driving them throughout the province for games and tournaments. He thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the players, their parents and the coaches, occasionally taking some of his family along.  
At work, Roger was a firsthand witness to the rapid changes in communication technology, and he learned to work with computers long before there was one in every household, or even in every work place. His family felt he could fix or build anything. He had a quick wit, loved wordplay and doing crossword puzzles.  He was a hopeless romantic and would cry at the sound of well-played bagpipes and at special events like Remembrance Day or when hearing the national anthem. Yes, he was a big softy. He loved chocolate and good meals, but his cooking repertoire was limited to omelettes or French toast. In later years, when he needed to, Roger did take on some of the cooking, showing all his children that sometimes you have to adapt to your circumstances.
After their last child left home Marie and Roger left Melville and lived for a short time in Regina.  Prior to moving to Saskatoon they became free spirits, gypsies, or as their children called them, homeless. They took their trailer and travelled east, west and south and visited family in various spots throughout the US and Canada. They settled in Saskatoon and through the years hosted many family get-togethers as their extended family grew.
Roger and Marie made time for their children, whether it was a road trip for baseball or hockey, air cadet camp, attending a dance recital, music festival or theatrical performance. They celebrated each child’s unique abilities and made each feel special, loved and capable of whatever they dreamed of doing. Roger’s family remembers him as a dedicated family man, almost always seeing the humour in a situation, always telling stories, and honest to a fault. His love for family was apparent on entering his room at Central Haven, with photos of Marie, all his children and grandchildren proudly displayed. He strived to give his family the best possible start in life. He encouraged independence and they always knew they had someone to turn to if they needed help.
Roger is survived by: his wife Marie, children Diane (Terry), Judy (Lee), Doug (Christine), Gail (Lachlan) McLeod, Patrick (Nicole), Ron (Nataghia), Gary and Sharon: Grandchildren; Giselle (Shaun), Monique, Ariana (Foster), Jared, Owen and Benjamin; Sister Dorilla (Dolly) and Brother Peter (Betty)
He was predeceased by his parents Joseph and Barbara, his siblings Victoria, Bernice, Yvan, Yolia, Frank, Clarence, Bob.
The family would like to thank everyone at Central Haven for their compassionate care and kindness.


Share Your Memory of