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Joanna Kathleen Stephenson
July 27, 1928 - January 30, 2020
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<div itemprop="description">After a full and productive life Joanna Kathleen Stephenson, age 91, passed away peacefully at home on January, 30, 2020 with her children by her side. <br> <br>She was born July 27, 1928 in Windsor, Ontario. In 1951 she graduated with a BScN from the University of Toronto. That same year she married her university beau Russell William Stephenson and started her nursing career at the Red Cross outpost at Matachewan. <br> <br>After working as a nurse at various locations in Eastern Canada, she and Russ bought a home and settled in Buckingham Quebec after the birth of their first daughter in 1954. Unfortunately, Russ was killed in an accident in 1958, leaving her to raise their three small children, one yet unborn, on her own. Joanna had great strength and courage and was determined to raise her children to grow into happy successful Canadians despite the tragic loss of her husband. Joanna never remarried as her focus became raising her children and building a successful and long-lasting career. To that end she immediately went back to university and earned a diploma in neurological and neurosurgical nursing at the Montreal Neurological Institute, and the following year joined the Ottawa Civic Hospital as a clinical instructor. In an effort to be able to spend more time with her children, Joanna earned a BA in sociology by attending Carleton University at nights with a goal to earn a high school teaching licence. She subsequently began her second career as a teacher at the local high school in Buckingham, Quebec. <br> <br>In 1967 Joanna moved her family to Ottawa and began teaching science at Fisher Park High School. She finally retired from teaching in 1993 and became a snowbird for the next 26 years living in sunny Tucson Arizona in the winter, and enjoying summers at her cottage on 31 Mile Lake in Quebec. <br> <br>Early in her life, she, and subsequently Russ, earned a longstanding and close friendship with Jock and Mary Liddell, the then owners of Camp Mi-a-kon-da on Lake Wah-wash-kesh near Parry Sound. As her career and family priorities permitted, Joanna spent many summers there as the nurse (Patch) and sometimes head cook, while her daughters attended as campers. She, along with her children, made many extraordinary memories and lifelong friends during her summers there. <br> <br>Joanna always loved the outdoors especially canoeing, camping and fishing. She cherished her once in a lifetime trips, paddling the South Nahanni River in British Columbia, the Dumoine river in Quebec, and rafting the Chilcotin river system down to the Fraser River in British Columbia. She supplemented those trips with numerous fishing trips in Western and Central Quebec as time and circumstance permitted. <br> <br>Joanna was rarely second best at anything she attempted, and remained humble regardless of her achievements. She was an excellent quilter who willingly gave her works of art to friends, family and charities. She had an impressive wit and intellect to the very end, was a voracious reader, and always had a story to share; sometimes more than once. <br> <br>She accepted and managed the prognosis of her terminal illness with courage and grace, helped by her family, the caring staff at the Winchester and Ottawa Hospitals and the Viva Barrhaven Retirement Community. She wished to emphasize that she had a wonderful life and believed she did the best she could regardless of the circumstances — she clearly did. People that met Joanna while nursing, teaching, or as the camp nurse, will remember her as professional, competent, friendly and caring. One of her greatest strengths was in developing committed lifelong friendships with the most extraordinary people — too numerous to mention here. <br> <br>Joanna is survived by her sister Robin Quilliam (née Klaehn) (Cole), her three children, Ann Porter (née Stephenson), Mark Stephenson (Rosemary), and Rosemary Stephenson (Mac McMillan) and her three grandchildren, Adam Porter, Lisa Porter and Russ Stephenson (Deanna). <br> <br>At her request Joanna’s ashes will be buried in a private ceremony at St. Stephen’s cemetery in Buckingham alongside her husband Russ. <br> <br> <br> <br> <br></div>