Early on the morning of December 28th, 2020, serenely in her own home, the light and beauty that was Jill died, her life cut short by the inexorability of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
Born in Windsor, Ontario, on June 15, 1947, Jill was the daughter of the late Robert McLeod and the late Edna Graham, both of Windsor, and the daughter in law of the late Frank Remski and the late Loretta Dueweke, both of Detroit, Michigan. Predeceased by her brother Michael McLeod of Windsor.
Left to grieve her loss are her husband David, of Toronto, her sons Matthew and Andrew, and daughters in law Alex Bemrose and Jessica Leon Zamora. She is also survived by granddaughter Kay Remski Leon and grandsons Jacob and Owen Remski.
Jill was a force of nature, the best friend a man could ever meet, an attentive mother, the most loving grandmother and above all the centre of a large circle of friends whom she supported, entertained, and encouraged throughout her life.
Jill received a B.A. and an M.A in English from the University of Windsor (1969 and 1974) and a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto (1977).
She taught for 35 years at various levels, but primarily at the secondary level of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, where she spend the majority of her career at Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School.
A pioneer of her time, Jill studied and taught Industrial Arts, a distinguished member of the first small but brave group of women who taught shop. In her later years she also taught English, and some drama classes, and may have been the first woman teacher not only to direct and produce a high school play but to design and build the sets herself as well.
Outside of class and after retirement Jill was accomplished in all that made life sweet. With her granddaughter Kay she built dollhouses, sewed, read and above all, laughed. With her friends she knitted and hosted monthly ”soup kitchen” nights that were marked more by the number of laughs that were heard than the number of rows that were knitted.
Jill also completed two major stained glass projects. She crafted the 40 windows in All Saints Catholic Church and the 26 windows in the chapel of the St. Basil’s College School in Weston.
Her final turn on the stage of artistic achievement was oil painting. In the last five years of her life, Jill created accomplished and beautiful portraits of family members and friends, painted memorable scenes from her beloved Bella Venezia and also cats, squirrels and one inquisitive raccoon.
Besides being a talented, beautiful and vivacious woman Jill will be deeply remembered by her friends as a steadfast port in any storm. She listened, she was loyal, she nurtured connections over decades. In her professional life, her personal ethics led her strong yearning for social justice, leading her to amass serious credentials as a teachers’ union activist and advocate.
She was a woman of many hats, and a woman who owned many hats, maintaining an elegant wardrobe and a colourful style right to the end of her life.
Jill fought to leave hospital so that she could die in the surrounding of her lovely home, tended caringly by her husband and her elder son, Matthew. After her death, David and Matthew performed an intimate farewell service which was recorded to be shared with her closest friends.
We are grateful for the wonderful palliative care services coordinated by the Central Toronto LHIN, and provided by the doctors and nurses of the Dorothy Ley Hospice and by the personal support workers from Para-Med Corporation.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jill’s memory to the Dorothy Ley Hospice.
Cremation has taken place. There will be no formal service; however when we can gather safely we will come together and raise a toast to the life of this remarkable and beautiful woman, taken from us far, far too soon.
On line condolences may be made through www.turnerporter.ca