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Remembering Kelowna mom, advocate on first birthday after death

Joelle Wolf was a strong voice at protests for women’s and children’s rights in Kelowna

Joelle Wolf is described by her former mother-in-law as a true Irish girl who loved her birthday. It seemed fitting to remember the Kelowna advocate on her St. Patrick’s Day birthday, March 17.

Wolf, affectionately known as Joei by friends, would be 29 today. She died suddenly in September 2023 leaving behind her four children.

The young woman was a force to be reckoned with when it came to advocating for people’s rights. She was regularly a participant and, at times, a host of various protests in the city. Wolf even led a walk on Mother’s Day 2023 where she and her daughter were the only two in attendance. The pair continued with their march to the Kelowna Courthouse to protest against the U.S. ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.

READ MORE: Voice for choice: Kelowna woman spends Mother’s Day advocating for abortion rights

Wolf struggled with mental illness, one of the main reasons her friends believed her to be so involved in advocacy work.

A friend and former sister-in-law Jordena Tait described Wolf as a wonderful mother and a believer in everything good.

“She always helped out everybody else. She was involved with so many different things, even if she didn’t fit the category of it she just wanted to speak out for other people’s voices to be heard. I wish she would have done that for herself.”

Tait went as far as characterizing Wolf as a modern-day Mother Theresa.

The sentiment was echoed by Wolf’s former mother-in-law and grandmother to her kids Tina Gowing, but she noted that Wolf’s need to help others overshadowed the need to help herself.

Gowing said that Wolf never truly realized how much unconditional love was surrounding her.

“She was lonely,” said Gowing, but added that no one would believe such a thing. Wolf used that loneliness to fuel her advocacy work, according to Gowing.

“She wanted to create a world for other people that was better than what she had,” explained Gowing.

Wolf was always trying to teach her kids love and inclusivity, bringing them along to some of the protests.

Kristel Ritchie, a friend of Wolf, said, “I know that her kids are very proud of her. We’ve had conversations about her determination and her passion toward causes, but I think the biggest legacy she is leaving behind for her kids is being their mom.”

Wolf had a passion for women’s and children’s rights and worked as a Doula. She fought for bodily autonomy and community acceptance at every corner.

A GoFundMe was activated shortly after her death to support her four kids.

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Brittany Webster

About the Author: Brittany Webster

A video journalist with Black Press Media. I recently made the exciting move from my radio anchor position at AM 1150 to this new venture.
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