Joan Carol Saunders passed away on Sept. 26, 2020 at Baycrest Hospital in Toronto, after a long and difficult struggle with terminal lung disease. She had been receiving hospice care at the end of her life. Her exuberance, determination and faith in God were reflected in a fierce commitment to remaining active until her last few years. She was truly beautiful. Joan's lineage includes an adoptive and birth family, a legacy which deeply influenced her passions, love for others, and her path in life.
She was born Pamela Joan to Ethel Rose Eileen Smith (nee Ellum) and Efimie Vasilievitch Bogomas, and grew up in post war Britain as the adoptive daughter of Hedley and Sarah Violet Saunders. After many years of searching, Joan discovered and was able to meet her birth families. She was a sister to Nigel, Michael and Nina on her birth father's side, and Jenny and Valerie on her birth mother's side. Joan was beloved by her son, Justin, whom she raised alone. She was close to her adoptive cousin Janet and Janet's husband Pete, and is also deeply missed by her friends.
As a young woman, Joan worked in broadcast journalism in England, and upon emigrating to Canada. She retrained after becoming a single mother, and went on to a career in the medical field, eventually working in a number of hospitals in Toronto. She loved being with and helping other people, a desire which grew out of her own story of family separation and reconnection. Joan became a very spiritual woman over the course of her life, and participated in many faith communities during her adult years. She was an avid gardener, like her adoptive father and one of her birth mother's sisters. Joan was a great lover of music and dance; she was herself a dancer from a very young age, an artistic gift which she inherited from her birth father's family and a passion that remained with her throughout her life. Her open heart touched all those she encountered.
DONATION: A donation is preferred in lieu of flowers. Joan was an active supporter of the Scott Mission ministry to the homeless and to West Park Healthcare Centre, a specialized respiratory rehabilitation centre, where she greatly benefited from being a patient over the years.
Visitation and Funeral Service
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Centres
Info: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this event is by invitation only. We still have seats available for the indoor service at 12, so please contact the administrator if you would like to attend in person. Visitation is at 11 and the service is at 12, followed by a short procession to the graveside at 1pm.