Mary Joan METZ
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Obituary of Mary Joan METZ

It is with sadness that we announce the death of our mother and grandmother. Joan died at age 85 on a day of her own choosing, surrounded by family. She leaves 4 children, Luanne, John, Kevin, and Mary; daughter-in-law Cherry; 5 grandchildren Brielle (Metz) Merhi (Omar), Michael Metz, Kurtis Metz, Adam Ruether, and Kate Ruether (Derek Palpal-Latock); 2 step-grandchildren, Tiffany (Fabro) Skinner (Mike and children Stella and Jackson) and Jordan Fabro (Marlo Holmes); and 3 siblings, Joseph Keyes (Fort Worth), Kathleen Gieg (Regina), and Walter Keyes (Regina). She was predeceased by her parents Mary Elizabeth (Anderson) Keyes and Thomas Eugene Keyes, her husband Frank Metz and brother Edward Keyes.

Joan was born in Regina, the oldest of 5 children. She grew up in Calgary and Maple Creek, Sask. After starting a career as a nurse, she married Frank and they settled in Calgary to raise four children. Joan was always active in social causes including support for immigrants, education and women's rights. She offered refuge and support to many young women over the years. She had a voracious appetite for learning and making the world a better place. With the support of her husband Frank, she overcame social pressure from her contemporaries to become, at age 42, the oldest member of the 1st class of the University of Calgary law school.

Joan credited her success to the many who helped her, particularly her dear friend Ruth Kelly. When, as a middle-aged woman in the 1970s she struggled to find articles, Ruth convinced her husband Bernie to find her articles. She went on to have a distinguished career. She built a successful private practice with many loyal clients and become a recognized expert in mental health law. She chaired the Southern Alberta Mental Health review panel for over 30 years where she championed respect and dignity for people with mental health and cognitive conditions, indeed for all people. She was honored with a QC designation in 1998. Throughout her law career Joan has been well supported by her classmates amongst whom Joan was the matriarch; the 13 women of her class maintain their friendship and support of each other to this day. Joan continued to practice to the age of 79 despite increasing physical disability from Spinocerebellar Atrophy, a degenerative neurological condition. After retirement she continued to advocate for causes close to her heart.

Joan loved to have fun. Her favourite activities were travel, hiking, politics and most of all to learn new things. Throughout her life she continued to make new friends. She enjoyed playing with her children and even more-so with her grandchildren. She loved people and ideas and she really, really loved dogs.

Joan lived a full and productive life and provided an example that women should not feel they have limits, that you are never too old to refocus your career, and that you should live life to the fullest but always to live by your principles and help others. She was grateful for the option to choose medically assisted death when the burden of her severe neurological disability and neuropathic pain restricted her ability to participate in life and keep learning new things. She wished to thank the many caregivers who provided her comfort and respected her dignity. She died as she lived, on her terms, and surrounded by love.

Joan did not want a funeral or formal memorial service. A private wake, open-house, and croquet game will be held in her honor July 7th. Those wishing to attend should contact one of her children. Because of Joan's love of dogs, in lieu of flowers, if desired, memorial donations can be made to the Calgary Humane Society, 4455 - 110 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2C 2T7.

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