October 3, 2017

Joan Ward Thomson 1911-2017 R.I.P.

On October 2, 2017, Joan Ward Thomson passed away peacefully in her 107th year. At the time of her death she was the oldest life member of the Diocesan Anglican Church Women and also of the Church Society of the Diocese of Quebec. A lifelong Anglican Joan was for the past twenty-seven years a member of St Mark’s Chapel, Bishop’s University and prior to that a member of St Peter’s, Sherbrooke. In the summers she attended St James, Cacouna.

Active in the life of the church she was one of the founding members and forces behind the St Peter’s ACW Thrift Shop. She served for many years on the ACW executive there, and was well known across the diocese through attending the ACW biennials. For more than a dozen years in her late seventies and all through her eighties she was the parish visitor for St George’s Church Lennoxville, visiting shut-ins and those in retirement homes the vast majority of whom were decades younger than her.

Generations of those living in the villages along the north shore of the St Lawrence will remember her in her role with the students coming out from the coast for high school in the Townships. Beginning in the early 1970s she was responsible for finding homes and caring for the up to 200 students a year who had to travel from those villages to study at Alexander Galt Regional High School in the period when there were no schools other than elementary on the coast. The Ven. Robert Bryan in his book The Flying Parson of Labrador and the Real Story Behind Bert and I said “A remarkable Eastern Townships woman, Mrs. Joan Thomson, took on the job of housing the students and watched their progress with great care.”

During the Second World War she was a Red Cross volunteer serving in hospitals and POW camps in England and across Europe.

In 2008 Joan was the recipient of the Outstanding Townshipper of the Year Award presented by The Townshippers Association. She also received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award in 2010 and was chosen by the Lieutenant Governor to present flowers to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they visited Quebec City in 2011.

She loved to travel and in the last half of her life she visited many places around the globe. Age did not deter her wanderlust as she visited Egypt when 93 and rode a camel when she was there. She made her last trip to ‘the coast’ on the Nordique when she was 95 and was thrilled to meet many of her former students.

She lived in her own second floor walk up apartment in Lennoxville until she was 103 and then moved to the Connaught Home in North Hatley and this summer to new Grace Village in Lennoxville.

Beloved mother of the Reverend Heather (James Sweeny) and Nora. Cherished grandmother of Claire, Mary (Jean-Marc Francius), Bridget (Chris Maynard), Keira, Johanne, and Tamara and much loved great-grandmother of Xavier, Lewis, Arsène, Gareth, Hannah, William and Elianna.

Visitation will take place at Cass Funeral Home, 3006 College Street, Sherbrooke (Lennoxville Borough) on Thursday, October 5 from 2 – 4 p.m. and from 7 – 9 p.m. The funeral will take place on Friday, October 6 at St. Mark’s Chapel, Bishop’s University at 2 p.m.

Donations in her memory to The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, 80 Hayden Street, Toronto, ON. M4Y 3G2 or The Dr. W.J. Klinck Foundation, 1515 Pleasant View, Sherbrooke, QC. J1M 0C6 would be gratefully appreciated by the family.

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  1. ELISABETH REEVE
    Oct 3 2017

    My first thoughts about Joan Thomson are ‘sweetness and light’. I’ve always seen a very gracious lady with a lovely smile. I’m not surprised to read of her may accomplishments, some of which I had forgotten about. Indeed I was in school at Galt with many of the students who came to us from the North Shore. That was quite an undertaking and significant achievement in itself.

    My prayers and thoughts go out to all the Thomson family.
    Elisabeth Reeve

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