Ronald Vaughan Joyce died peacefully at his home by the water on January 31, 2019. To witness his life is to witness the power and the grace of a ship at full throttle. He was a mentor and a pioneer. He was a father and a grandfather. He was a self-made man. And Ron was selfless in his philanthropy. The wake he leaves will be felt for generations.
Ron was born by the water in Tatamagouche, N.S. on October 19, 1930 into a family of very modest means. While still an infant, he lost his father, leaving his mother Grace to raise her three young children with fierce determination and love. As Ron grew into a lion of Canadian industry, amazing Grace’s lessons in respect, humility and the ferocity of character anchored him as he steamed forward to become one of the greatest entrepreneurs the nation has known.
To know Ron Joyce was to witness how he offered opportunity to countless people who came into his orbit. Perhaps he offered this chance to so many because he himself was told as a youth that a poor boy like him had none. Decisive and charming, demanding and disciplined, a sly and hilarious trickster when he chose, Ron was that rare communicator who built an empire based not just on gut and ambition and brilliant foresight, but on deep trust of those he allowed into his world.
Ron Joyce loved to dance and to play dominoes and cards; he loved to put on a crisp white shirt and whistle hello to the new morning each day he walked downstairs. He loved sailing and romance and a good drink. To spend a day with him was to live a week. A navy veteran, a pilot, a captain, a Member of the Order of Canada, his work and his pleasure sprang from the same well. To know him was to understand energy unbound.
Pursue what you love, and you won’t ever have toiled away a day of your life. To ask Ron Joyce his greatest accomplishment, he would tell you that it’s the thousands of youth he helped introduce to new horizons and to new friends, all in landscapes they never dreamed they’d visit. Ronald Vaughan Joyce loved this country, and nothing made him happier than gathering future friends in the knowledge they’ll indeed find the wealth of their opportunities together.
Build by the water’s edge and live assured of certain beauty. Live by that water’s edge and build a life unimpeded. To do so is to understand the risk that’s inherent. And to do so is to understand that the horizon is nothing but the limit of our sight.