RITCHIE, Joan July 13, 1921 - July 10, 2013 When it comes to kindness, positive thinking and strength of character, our mother Joan had all of those, and then some. She was an intrepid traveler, a joyful adventurer, and an amazing wife, mother to three, and grandmother to six. Joan was born in London in 1921 and trained to be a nurse. During the bombing of London she refused to go to an air raid shelter, saying that if her time was up, so be it. This was difficult for the young Canadian airman, Hugh, who she had met at a dance in Covent Garden. He was more inclined to safety, but couldn't be shown up by this spunky young lady. They married at the end of the war, Hugh was sent back to Canada, and many months later Joan bravely boarded the Aquitania to start her new life. Joan and Hugh lived in Port Alberni, North Vancouver, and in 1982, they moved to the Comox Valley, where they had a retirement which was the envy of many. They traveled the world, going on an African safari before it came into vogue, visited England many times to see relatives and relive old memories, and saw the sights the rest of us enjoyed in National Geographic magazines. Joan loved her garden, boating, and using her pottery wheel and kiln. At the age of sixty she even took up the flute and proudly marched in the July 1st parade. Joan was inventive in the kitchen and loved to cook big family dinners for her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed fishing and swimming in equal measure; at the age of 89, on a sunny but chilly day in September at Mabel Lake in B.C.'s interior, she landed a 25 pound salmon at 5:00 a.m. and went for a swim in the frigid water at 3:00 p.m. All the younger people declined her invitation to join. After losing her beloved "Hughie" in 2011, she carried on, remaining positive and always finding things to enjoy and treasure. She moved to Cummings Home and made great friends there, and met every day with a smile. She was a great role model for her children and grandchildren and for many others, and she will never be forgotten. On the last day of her remarkable life, her doctor of over thirty years, Dr. Gino Tancon, called her a "warrior." We couldn't agree more. Joan was predeceased by her husband Hugh and her son Steve, and is survived by her daughter Susan Jackson (Ron), son John (Maureen) and daughter-in-law Bonnie, as well as her grandchildren Cara, Leanne (Jim Vassallo), Sharleen Balogh (Dennis), Mark Jackson (Jenny), Kyle and Megan.
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Published in Comox Valley Echo from July 23 to July 24, 2013