Obituary of Joan Karrys
Joan passed away peacefully at the Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa, on Thanksgiving Sunday morning, in the wee hours, on October 10, 2021. At the age of 89.
During her 19 day stay at the QCH, her husband and daughter and son, would like to extend grateful thanks to all the nurses and medical doctors on the 4C telemetry unit. Their stellar CARE was exceptional.Palliative care doctors Andrea Bruni and Rebecca Murphy were above and beyond in helping us to manage Joan’s comfort and care with her weakening heart on a daily basis. We are indebted.
Joan is the treasured, adored and beautiful wife to Gus, her wonderful, loving and devoted husband. Together they were married for over 70 years!!! They met when they were only 13 years old, attending different high schools but often getting together with a big group of girls and boys to play baseball, go to the movies and enjoy house parties after the games, like Spin the Bottle; where Gus was sure to make sure that his turn always came to Joan! She was tall and slim, athletic with long flowing wavy red auburn hair.
Joan was a good baseball player. She played in the Toronto Sunnyside Ladies League and was a really good pitcher. She also played shortstop. Joan could hit the ball and loved to run the bases. She was a avid Blue Jays Fan..all her life. Let’s not forget about those Toronto Maple Leafs and her love of Hockey!
Joan and Gus started dating when they were only 15 years old and we’re going steady by 16. They fell in love, we’re inseparable and we’re quite smitten with each other. Gus spent many hours courting her at her home, helping with her parents gardens, playing crib with her Dad, who would remark, “Are you here again?” Her Mom and Dad both loved hockey and supported their later ventures together as Gus played pro. Joan and Gus often enjoyed eating sharing a brick of ice cream on the old front porch!
On one of Gus’s surprise visits one early evening he was throwing stones up to Joan’s bedroom window to get her attention. Next thing he knew a police cruiser was going by and stopped and asked him what he was doing. Apparently a neighbour had seen this going on so she called the police. Gus explained that he knew Joan and was dating her and just passing by to say hi.
The policeman said, “all right Gus, let’s go to the front door and make sure and ring the bell.”
In doing so, Joan‘s mother came to the door, looking a little surprised, and when the police officer asked her, “do you know this man?” She responded by saying, “I’ve never seen him before!”
Amy had a wonderful sense of humour and she and my father had a warm relationship over all the years, as well as Alec.
Gus’s Greek and Polish parents owned a restaurant. And Joan would go to visit him while he was working and he would make her big banana splits. She loved her sweets and their ethnic cooking.
Joan always enjoyed music and dancing. Her parents playing instruments often in their home, in the vestibule where she grew up at 99 Brookdale Avenue in North Toronto. It was a semi detached home on the corner of Jedburg.
Her mother Amy played the piano and her father Alec played the banjo. Joan’s mother was 47 years old when she gave birth to her. So by the time she was a preteen her older sisters Margaret and Aileen were off doing their thing with school and work and later getting married. They were always very close.
She adored her one brother Jack, who was a pilot in World War II and sadly was killed when his plane crashed suddenly in flight but not while he was in action. This was when she was very young and right around her birthday. So she never really enjoyed her birthdays after that.
She did keep up with his wife Helen and their son Michael over the years and when he married his wife Jocelyn and their three boys.
When her second oldest sister Margaret separated after a year of marriage and returned home to live at Brookdale, with her little baby daughter Patsy.
Joan was 15 then and after school would help out by taking Patsy her niece out for walks in her carriage daily and actually helped her mother Amy take care of her when Margie was at work.
Gus and Joan were very close with Patsy in fact, like parents to her as she was growing up.
The one thing that Joan truly loved and had a passion for her whole life, was Dogs!! And she owned quite a few in her lifetime.
Gus lived just up the road on Young Street with his parents. At 16, he was playing junior A Hockey for the Toronto Marlies.
Joan would bring his father to the Maple Leaf Gardens on Sunday afternoons. Amy was a huge hockey fan as well as Alec. Unfortunately Gus’s mother did not come to the games. Joan enjoyed her time with Gus‘s parents and was a blessing to them has his wife and their daughter-in-law over the years.
Joan worked for three years at the Toronto Parliament Buildings. Her father Alexander, was the head postmaster there for 45 years. Marg, her sister was the executive secretary to Premier Robarts.
Joan and Gus were married when they were only 19 years of age.
They had a very small wedding because her sister Aileen had married only a few months before to Charlie who was a united church minister. They were going off to Quebec for their ministry.
So Joan’s parents couldn’t afford another big wedding. This was quite all right for them.
On July 14, 1951, they were married at Fairlawn United Church. Joan’s parents, her sister Maggie and her daughter Patsy, with Gus‘s brother Theo were in attendance. They enjoyed a lovely get away to the five finger Lakes in the United States for their honeymoon. A well-known spot for honeymooners.
They enjoyed an eight year career of travelling for hockey and Gus playing professional hockey for five years, with the Cleveland Barons. The team won two back to back Calder Cup Championships and almost a third. Gus was a stay at home defenseman.
Joan was there to support him always, cheer for him and worry when he got injured. They both enjoyed the hockey parties and the booster club, their wonderful new friends, like family, and of course all the adoring fans.
Joan was never jealous because she knew how much her husband truly loved her and had eyes for no one else. Despite all the fan fair!
Of course when they went to Cleveland, they had to have a dog.
Joan would take him out walking alone late at night, in the neighbourhoods but never worried or felt afraid.
After five years playing Pro hockey they bought their first house on Dunblaine Avenue in North Toronto. They wanted to have four children and after two miscarriages decided to adopt.
Along came there darling curly haired Greek daughter, Susie Lynn at the age of 4 1/2 months...while Joan was at work, for Smythe in the cement ready mix concrete business, where Gus also worked. He went on to have a 32 year run with CBM, Canada building materials.
On a Friday in early February Joan got a call that TheThe children’s aid society had a baby girl for them.
Ecstatic she just up and quit work and prepared for her new baby to come over the weekend with Gus and guess who arrived on the Monday.
And has the story often goes, 9 months later they were blessed again with having a beautiful handsome son, a baby boy to complete their family. Scott Alexander was born. She was wheeled over on the stretcher to call Gus and tell him the news because back then husbands weren’t allowed in the delivery room!
Joan would always say that, she didn’t know what was more thrilling, adopting, or giving birth. She felt truly very fortunate to have experienced both. And and to do so with the love of her life, her husband Gus.
The next few years would be busy indeed raising two little ones.
They moved and bought a beautiful home that they built side-by-side their dear friends Fran and Bill Ford and their 3 children In Etobicoke. Meeting and knowing them through work and hockey. Wonderful times!
And always with 2 yellow Labrador Retrievers her favourite breed! Sandy and Missy x2. Two orange tabby cats Tiger and Skippy.
Later Tara and Ginger, their only non lab bejan poo who was thoroughly spoiled.
Later in Life highlights for Joan would be learning to play the guitar and sing her country and western songs. Taking lessons at a music country ranch in London, Ontario where the family moved to after living five years in Etobicoke. Acoustic guitar as well as electric. Dancing, jiving and Rock and Roll. Country and western, hank Williams, “you’re cheatin heart will tell on you!”
Her children took lessons as well on the guitar and they would sing and have duets together.
Wonderful music, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong and Engelbert Humperdinck. Patsy Cline. She also enjoyed Gospel Music very much. Harmony. She and Gus often would have a dance or two in the kitchens of their homes over the years! Joan loved the big band sound of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. She and Bill could jive up a storm!
In 1967, the Centennial year, Joan and Gus and Margie came together to build a beautiful four bedroom cedar strip pan abode cottage in Muskoka, on Muskadasa Island on Lake Muskoka near Bala, Ontario. Off Acton Island road. Approximately two hours from Toronto and four hours from London.
There good friends Rex and Carol Bailey who they knew from growing up, in the neighborhoods, school snd hockey; Had purchased the island with two other couples one was Bill Sloan who went to school with Joan and they were severing off the lots. Rex told Gus he better get up here and take a look. After spending weekends with them and our families. they fell in love with a 2 acre property with 300 feet of shoreline.
Despite Scott kicking a beach ball off the Bailey’s sundeck into the lake with his rubber boots on, Susie yelling and running to get help as he was almost drowning!
So both the kids went to Pioneer camp and learned how to swim! The next Summer!
The cottage was a place where families and friends enjoyed the next 35 years of cottage life and memories. With Joan and Gus and Margie.
The Island cottage owners, 12 over the years, were like family and each new generation established traditions that were enjoyed by all. One facet was the Muskadasa Island tennis club which was built and established For the families, and a private membership to those round Lake Muskoka. Several competitive tournaments and tennis games with lessons were enjoyed by many.
After 7 1/2 years of living in London, the family transferred back to Toronto, living in Agincourt, in Scarbrough where they could be closer to ageing parents.
In 1992 Joan and Gus built a 1200 square-foot Belvedere addition onto the panabode cottage. They had done some Reno’s over the years. It would be their one home For the next 10 years. They would arrive when the ice was out at the end of April or early May and stay up there until November.
When the cottage was closed Joan and Gus would spend 2 to 3 months with their daughter Susie and her former husband Brent, their children Kyle Kevin and Natalie.
For the next 8 years.. they were drive and travel to California, for the winters, where they would stay with their dear friends Pat and Barry Saper at their beautiful home in Los Altos while they went off to their home in Palm Springs. Of course they went to visit them there and live the lives of movie stars.
Joan always made sure she was bringing back something special for her grandchildren. When they returned. She also enjoyed Christmas time with family gathering for a lovely meal, homemade desserts and some special gifts under the tree. Decorating in a festive way as her father had done.
Gus had been able to take an early retirement at 58 years of age so they enjoyed many new adventures together because if it.
They enjoyed driving all over the United States, to visit friends in Florida, over the years as well and enjoyed a wonderful trip to Arizona with their dog Tara and dear friends Verna and Alex.
In 2002 the cottage in which the legacy still remains, in our hearts was sold to accommodate a New lifestyle for Joan and Gus which involves staying home in the winters! After attending an Italian old-timers annual hockey dinner together, they were driving and saw a sign advertising about the senior adult living community in Briarhill in Alliston, Ontario. Also near the famous Nottawasaga Inn and surrounded by 45 holes of beautiful golf courses..
As you can guess what happened, this is where Joan and Gus ended up living and enjoying the community and meeting very wonderful neighbours who have become very dear friends for the last 17 years. Golf, dinners, parties, trips to see a show or visit the casino. Coffee and cocktails on the deck or the front porch, with biscuits for Ginger.
Joan and Gus did enjoy travelling by car to Adrian, Michigan on a monthly basis with their daughter Susie and granddaughter Natalie, to see their grandson Kyle play NCAA hockey, in Adrian Michigan. Following the Adrian Bulldogs for 4 years was a joy for she and Gus. Grandson Kevin, also came along a few times.
Joan even went once with stitches in her knee from a fall on her neighbour’s Linda’s doorstep. She wouldn’t miss a Home hockey game! Joan and Gus travelled by car to Minneapolis, in March 2011 to meet Susie who flew in for the Frozen Four to meet the families and players and support the Team. The following year driving to Augusta, Georgia to I see Kyle play his first year of pro hockey. In March 2012. Susie flew to join them abs afterwards Gus and Joan continued on to Florida to visit friends, Bruce and Barb from Alliston.
Joan enjoyed supporting all her grandchildren in their adventures at home or abroad. Academic achievements, sports and hobbies.
A special thanks to Bruce and Barb, Linda, Sue and Chuck, Keith and Wendy and Barry and Joyce in Alliston.
Your help and support and friendship meant the world. As Gus was caring for Joan with her balance and falls and her short term memory issues that we’re gradually getting worse these last six years of ten..most challenging indeed. You came to his rescue and some of you even helped pack boxes the day before the big move!
Orchestrating to come to live with their daughter Susie, in Stittsville in Ottawa, on December 28, 2019, Gus’s 88th birthday! Where they have been happily residing for the last 22 months.
A big shout out to Bayshore PSW care for the help with Joan, during her first year of home care in her new home.. Josephine and Theresa we’re extra special.
Grateful thanks to Navita, the Champlain Lynn case coordinator, for Joan who chose her as 1 of 8 to take part in her Pilot Project, The HISH Program, a new High Intensity Support At Home Care Program which began in January 2021.
Working through the Covid Pandemic and health troubles for Joan and Gus in 2020, this program would benefit them both. 13 hours of care with experienced PSW’s, for Joan and housekeeping and laundry to help Gus.
Our dearest heartfelt thanks specially to, Lindsay, Yvonne and Brittany. Jen, physio and occupational therapist, Matthew, physiotherapist. Mamy Registered Nurse and Eric, community paramedic and the Paramedic Teams that were called upon 3 times in the late summer and fall of this year, to the house for Joan.
Family Doctors, Olga and Vyacheslav Goulets. Dr. H. Abujrad, Diabetic Endocrinologist.
For the last year and and a half Joan was blessed with “Melody,” Her private companion, singing buddy and partner in crime! They danced, read stories, did puzzles, dressed up, went out to the mall for Walker walking in the wintertime in between covid shutdowns. Melody took Joan to the nail salon to get her nails and feet done, a mani/pedi. They did crosswords and spelling bees. Joan was an excellent speller. She even got her to write letters from her heart to Gus and Susie and Scott. Put her thoughts down in paper. It was a beautiful thing. Melody and Joan enjoyed many moments sitting in the sunshine together, singing, talking and visiting Mel’s Mom Prim, across the street and her sister Roseanne.
Joan will be dearly dearly missed by all her relatives and many adoring friends. Especially her husband Gus. Her daughter Susie and her son Scott. Her five grandchildren and one great grandchild. As well as her nieces and nephews.
She was a very good listener, and an exceptional homemaker. Joan and Gus enjoyed beautiful homes with their kids and pets that they were very proud to share with family and friends. Over the years they built and owned 9 different homes.
Joan was a taskmaster, enjoyed making lists on paper to get the jobs done and then stroking them off with great satisfaction. She was a perfectionist in anything she tackled. Exceptional in gift wrapping presents and ironing, everything even underwear!
She and Gus made a great team in anything they did. And they enjoyed doing it together the best! They were fond of each other’s friends too.
Accepting and Supportive, while teaching their children the benefits of a strong work ethic with chores. Time for play, good food, a routine, card games, music, pet care, laughter and love with discipline and respect.
Both never hesitating to lend a helping hand, to anyone in need.
Joan was happy go lucky and enjoyed the simple things in life. She was a worrier. Sometimes impatient and wanting things done, yesterday. But that’s where her partner Gus came to her rescue.
She was a true friend, and confident. Joan had a wonderful smile despite feeling self conscious as her eye teeth never came in!
Her laughter was joyful and you could coax her to go higher higher with each auctive like a in a song and then those around her would join in with much glee!
She took each day at a time, and enjoyed her peace and quiet. Beloved mother of Daughter, Susie (Carlo) and Son, Scott (Kim)
Cherished Gramma to her five grandchildren, Kyle (Paula) Kevin and Natalie (Mike) Brittany (Nick) and Brianna (Steve)
Lovely Great Grandma to Kalder!
Joan’s spirit is in that of a beautiful BlueJay Bird that has been seen since her passing, flying, swooping, singing and squawking, from a tree or in the hedges of her new home here in Stittsville. She likes to dive over the fish pond that she fell into during the Spring of 2020.
Joan makes sure to get Gus’s attention from his second story office window, or Susie’s, when she is about in all her perennial gardens. Friends have felt her too. Her grandson Kevin in India has very often.
A new creation has been done this Fall with new Gardens using wonderful plants to create a lush Sanctuary with dry riverbed’s of stone and a little wooden bridge. Thank you Scott and Kelsey, for your horticulture, artistic creativity. A fairy garden will be set up in the Spring. Tulips are being planted before the winter. Of course there’s a Victorian birdbath to attract the birds.
An artistic memorial will be made in Joan’s honour and the gardens will be dedicated and named,
“Joan’s Gardens.” We invite you to come by and have a visit.
A Private Ceremony was held at Cole Funeral Services in Ottawa, on Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. Family and friends are invited to join the service virtually using the link: Memorial Service
If friends and family desire, memorial donations may be made to the Alliston Humane Society. In honour of Joan’s lifelong Love of Dogs.
Cole Funeral Services:
2500 Baseline Road,
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 3H9
Telephone: (613) 831-7122