In memory of

Joan Burrell

June 16, 1932 -  September 5, 2023

It is our sad duty to announce that our wonderful mother, Joan Burrell, passed away on September 5, 2023. She was 91 years of age.
Joan was born to Ernest and Gladys Fitch in Grande Prairie, Alberta, on June 16,1932. She was one of three children along with brothers Allen (Elsie) and George (May) who pre-diseased deceased her.
With Kenneth Douglas Burrell she had four children:; Douglas (Bonnie), Catherine (Michael), Donald ( Kanyarat(Moo)) and Karen. She was the proud grandmother of eight grandchildren: Stephanie, Caroline, Mikey, Benjamin, Brian, Liane, Heather-Ann and Chadaporn (Da) and delighted with her two delightful great- grandchildren Noah and Liam. She will be sorely missed by her long-time roommate and best friend, Florence Spencer.
Throughout her life Joan was a champion of women’s rights. She raised her children to respect the dignity of every person, and fiercely defended us from those who slighted ours. She was our hero, our guide, our cornerstone. Her love for us was unconditional, her support unwavering. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren adored her, and she will live in our hearts always.
Honouring Joan’s instructions, a private service for family and close friends was held on September 11, 2023.

Life Stories 

(1 of 1)

Doug Burrell (Son)

Entered September 18, 2023 from Pickering ON

I would like to focus my remarks on Mom’s career accomplishments. You are going to hear a lot about what a fabulous mom she was. What is even more remarkable is that she was able to be there for us at all times while distinguishing herself in the professional realm.
In the very early days, Mom was an office worker at Sun Life Insurance on University Avenue. Her dad, Ernest George Walter Fitch, an officer in the Salvation Army would drive her to work each day in the Salvation Army pickup truck which was painted bright red with “Salvation Army” emblazoned on the side so as not to attract attention. Mom would insist that her dad drop her off up the street from the Sun Life building in order to avoid the acute embarrassment of being dropped off at the front door.

In the days before kids Mom worked as an RNA at the Ottawa Grace Hospital and later at the Catherine Booth hospital in Montreal. Mom recalled that during her time at the Grace, the hospital acquired a new autoclave designed to clean bed pans automatically but her boss insisted that they be cleaned by hand anyway.

Mom stepped away from the working world for a time to take on a more challenging task; raising four kids. She focused all her attention on giving us the best upbringing possible, not going back to work until all four of us were in school. Her love for us knew no limits. - well, maybe one…. If we hurt ourselves, Mom would examine the afflicted area and kiss it better. However, if we stubbed a toe we were informed that “We don’t kiss feet better.”

Mom worked for a time at the Hudson’s Bay Northern Distribution Centre, always taking the summer off so she could be with her kids. In her 40’s she went back to school, earning her Social Work diploma from Ryerson in 1982 followed by her BSW in 1986. Somewhere around that time she also worked in the Admissions department of Mississauga Hospital.
Mom was a passionate advocate for women.
From 1985 to 1988 she was a counsellor at the Barbra Schlifer clinic, working on behalf of women who were victims of violence.
From 1989 to 1997 she worked as a counsellor at the Assaulted Women’s Help Line, helping women who had been victims of abuse.
From 1997 to 2001 she was a counsellor at the Family Services Association counselling the partners of men who were attending anger management courses.

Finally, from 1989 until she well into her 70’s she ran her own business, Women’s Counselling Services. Mom had the opportunity to make some serious money in private practice but her focus was always on helping all those who needed help even if they could only pay a small amount of money for her counseling services.

In spite of all her professional accomplishments, Mom always made time for us. Soon the family began to expand, and Mom’s capacity to love us all expanded as well as eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren plus in-laws were added to her list of loved ones.
Mom’s passing has left us with aching hearts but I take comfort in the fact that she lives on fondly in the collective memories of all who knew her.
Well done Mom. Well done.

Sept. 10, 2023


(1 of 1)