HERON, Joan Elizabeth Helenor
(nee Whitehead)
September 6, 1924 - December 9, 2012
Joan passed away peacefully at her home, Villa Carital, Vancouver with her daughter Valerie by her side. Joan was the dearest mother to Valerie and a supportive wife to her late husband, James (Jim) Mackie Heron; a strong support to her late sister Babs (Lillian Lewis) and a grand source of pride to her late parents, George and Lillian Whitehead, all of Ruislip Middlesex England. Joan grew up in Ruislip a small town 20 miles from the center of London, England. As a young girl amongst the bombs and blitzkrieg of WW II, Joan and Sister Babs helped their parents run and manage their pub, The Plough.
Joan and her sister were left orphans by the age of 16 and were taken care of by their Uncle Phil. Mom finished grammar school and went to work as a book keeper for B.O.A.C. and then a few years later, Victoria Saw Mills where she met long-time friend Valerie Ormerod. In 1942 Joan joined the Land Army to "do her bit for Brit". In 1943 she met her husband Jim Heron at an RAF dance and they were wed in Uxbridge, England in January, 1944.
Joan continued to work for Victoria Saw Mills in charge of all book keeping while Jim was immersed in working with the War Damage Commission branch of the British government. In 1956 Joan and Jim immigrated to Canada to settle in the Toronto area where they purchased their first home and raised their daughter Valerie. Joan had many fond memories and stories of the years she and Jim spent in their new Canadian home. Wonderful memories of fun times entertaining friends and family alike including the Robinsons and Bourdons who had lived near Joan and Jim in England and immigrated to Canada around the same time. Joan and Jim moved back to England in 1969 to run their own business.
Years later they returned to Canada and settled in London, Ontario again as entrepreneurs. Daughter Valerie moved to BC in 1996 and 1 year later, Joan and Jim followed and set up home in Parksville on Vancouver Island where they enjoyed 5+ years of "island time". After Jim's passing in 2001, Joan moved to the mainland to be closer to her daughter where Joan continued her passion of volunteer work for the Arthritis Society and S.O.S. Society. In 2003, Joan was awarded Volunteer of the Year award by the Arthritis Society of BC. Joan will be dearly missed by her daughter Valerie and close family friend Andrew Robertson along with family, Peggy and Neil Hibbert, Christine and John Fisher and, Ron and Milly Collet of Ruislip Middlesex, Jean and Jimmy Johstone Ayr, Scotland and close friends the Bourdons of Oshawa Ontario, Langbeen and Cairns Australia, Robinsons of Guelph Ontario and the Lees of Calgary, Alberta.
We would like to especially thank the staff and nurses at Villa Carital Senior Care Residence for their wonderful care, friendship and support to Joan over the past 3 years. Thank you to Drs. Murphy and Hay for their ongoing support for Joan. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Joan's memory to either the Parkinson's Society of Canada ( or Villa Cartial Residence ( Condolences can be left at
My dearest mom; please rest well and be at peace. I will sadly miss your lovely smile, caring soul and funny wit. You will forever be in my heart and in my memories; until we meet again.


Funeral Home

Mount Pleasant Universal Funeral Home
306 East 11th Ave Vancouver, BC V5T2C6
(604) 876-2161

Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Dec. 17, 2012