With sadness, we announce the passing of Joanne after a decades long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Joanne was a warm and devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She is survived and lovingly remembered by her children, Brock (Christina) and Drew (Andréa), and mourned by her family.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario to the late Thomson and Marion Lawrie, Joanne completed technical studies in fashion design at what was then known as the Ryerson Institute of Technology where she became lifelong friends with Trudy. By happy chance, Trudy and her husband Laird arranged a blind date with Rob, and the two eventually married and settled into family life. Three years later, Brock was born and Drew followed a few years after that. Joanne spent nearly a decade at home with the boys where she fulfilled many passions including cooking, downhill skiing, sewing and knitting. Joanne was a dedicated mother and an educator at heart, always finding opportunities to share her vast and accomplished skills with her children – from elaborate birthday cakes to extraordinary Halloween costumes. Ever focused on giving back to her community, she actively participated in engagement initiatives as a faithful member of Fairlawn Avenue United Church and eagerly taught mahjong to anyone who asked. An avid reader, she loved to travel to destinations described in her books and made many happy memories with Rob, Brock, Drew and close friends while on holiday. Most recently, she found great enrichment and satisfaction by spending time with her children and grandchildren at the cottage.
After college, Joanne toured across North America hosting fashion shows, but after realizing that the work was not conducive to family life, she took a teaching position in Toronto. She then completed the professional education program at the Ontario College of Education at University of Toronto, and subsequently obtained a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education from York University. An exemplary sign of her commitment to making a difference, Joanne left her position as Director of ESL for the North York School Board to become Vice Principal and eventually Principal of several schools, knowing that her impact to students and peers would be of larger significance from within the school.
Joanne’s remarkable accomplishments and selfless contributions are demonstrative of her voracious appetite for learning, tireless pursuit of continuous improvement and steadfast belief in doing one’s part. She valued the importance of family and meaningful friendship, gave those around her the confidence they needed to achieve their dreams and challenged others to act with humanity. Joanne will be remembered for her vibrant personality, keen intellect and profound creativity.
A celebration of life will be held in early spring. Please contact the family for details.