In Celebration of
December 6, 1939 -
September 11, 2017
Joan passed away, after her breast cancer from January 2007 had spread to the bones in her neck, back and right arm.
Her bone cancer was discovered quite by accident during a bone scan in February 2017, when she was admitted at CVH for a urinary tract infection.
Her real pain from osteoarthritis started in 2003, which forced her to take large doses of oxycodone for many years.
During her bone cancer period the doctors decided that the large amounts of Tylenol in the oxycodone were destroying her kidneys, so her pain medication was switched to pills of 1, 3, 6, mg hydromorphone.
The last weeks of her life she seemed to pass in no pain..she just slept peacefully, but the gurgling of the water in her lungs was an ominous sign that all was not well.
Her blood pressure dropped to 62/41 and then at 4:15 P.M. of 9/11 she opened her eyes, let out a muffled shout, her heart stopped and then there was no more pulse.
The opinion of the Palliative Care PSW, who witnessed all this, was that she did not suffer.
Joan grew up in Etobicoke, the daughter of the only 2 people who ever REALLY loved her (her parents) and attended Victoria College of the University of Toronto to get her degree in teaching.
She married John Stewart Brownlee in August 1963, a brilliant professor of Japanese history, University of Toronto.
They moved to Japan for a year, where John studied East-Asian History and language and Joan also studied Japanese and was actually better at it than her husband.....
She also taught English at the Matsushita (Panasonic) factory, which she really enjoyed.
However, John decided to leave his wife and children so he could live with Yasuko, one of his Japanese students and moved out of their house in Oakville.
Joan and John divorced on March 26, 1990. John died at 71 of a diabetes induced heart attack on July 3, 2012.
Joan loved to teach and taught first in elementary school, then tutored secondary school students at home. She then re-trained at the U of T and taught ESL (English as a Second Language) for Sheridan College.
In October 1988 Joan went to a dance at the Oakville Singles Club, where she met and danced with Bernd (Bernie) Thate from Bramalea, a Control and Instrumentation Technologist at AECL.
On May 28, 1990 they were married and moved to Mississauga. Joan continued to teach, but when she retired she joined the Art Gallery of Mississauga to help organize the volunteers.
There she arranged some 22 tours to many painters and sculptors like Andrew Benyei, Gary Wright, Tom LaPierre, William McElcheran and Pat Foss. At the Gallery she became good friends with the Executive Director Mr. Fred Troughton.
Joan was also very fond of classical music and attended many performances first with her friend Patricia Dyson and later on with Bernie by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for some 30 years.
She lived alone in Oakville for 4 1/2 years and during this period she discovered how much she loved to dance.
She thanks the following special friends who went out of their way to visit her during her numerous stays in Credit Valley Hospital:
Joan Philpott, Heather Philpott, Fred and Margaret Hayward, David Hunt, Phung Nguyen, Joanne Diamond, Helen Gareau, Grace Buchan, Janice Colcleugh and loaded with gifts: Anne Bland.
She also thanks her now far away friends, like: Margaret Gresham, Mary Duff-Butt, Anne Martin, Alan and Chris Brownlee, Patricia Dyson and Roberta Brooks.
A special thank you goes to her “Christmas Cousins” Alf and Mary Jenkins, who lovingly invited Joan and Bernie to their family Christmas dinner for years and years and years.
She also thanks her psychiatrist Dr. Brian Butler for showing her how to get her life back on track.
Then a special thank you too to her family doctor, Dr. Martha Graham, who not only healed her physically, but was also a great psychologist and helped Joan maintain her perspective on life.
And last but not least a warm “thank you” to all the wonderful PSW’s from Care Partners, who faithfully and lovingly came twice a day to care for her and wash her and clean her and tried to cheer her up:
Elvie Ramos, Jenny-best-friends-forever, Paulette, Alice-from-Ghana-Grandmother-of-Joseph and Norvinda. Without them we could not have carried on.
Special mention also to Lynn Bacani, Joan’s nurse at CVH, who entertained her with her wonderful wit, took lovely pictures of Joan on her birthday and cared for her when she needed it most.