Joan Cavell Kean-Howie

Joan Cavell Kean-Howie, 67, of Halifax, passed away on 26 May 2018 at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.  Born in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, Joan was the daughter of the late Jack and Audrey Kean of Newfoundland.

Joan led an active professional life and was deeply involved in her community and in her church.  Of all her academic and professional achievements, none surpassed Joan’s love of and devotion to her family.

Joan had many roles in her career, including that of a professional diver!  She was inspired as a teenager by Farley Mowat (during his visits to interview her grandfather Kean in Wesleyville), to aim for a career in science.  With great determination (a woman professional, let alone a scientist, was unheard of in Cape Breton when she was young) Joan received her B.Sc. from Mount Allison University in 1972, her MSc in Physical Oceanography in 1982 and her PhD in 1994 from Dalhousie University.  Joan’s thirty-five-year career as a Federal Civil Servant began as a research scientist at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, in several roles with the Canada Coast Guard including Receiver of Wrecks, and as a director of several science programs in Ottawa. Prior to her retirement, Joan was Director General of the National Research Council of Canada, in Halifax.  Joan’s many awards and commendations include special recognition for her role in the Irving Whale Recovery.

Joan was active at Saint Agnes Church, where for more than thirty years she served in various ministries, including Eucharistic Minister, Lector, and member of Parish Council.  She was also a devoted member of Halifax’s Carmelite Community.

Joan will be greatly missed by her family and many friends, especially her longtime friend, Kim Schmidt of Reedville, Virginia.  Kim flew in at short notice to be by Joan’s side at critical times during her illness.  Joan and her family are also grateful to Dr. Maria Migas for her professional care and delightful manner, which were a constant source of inspiration, and to each of the V.O.N. nurses who always brightened her day. The staff at the Victoria General Hospital Medical Day Clinic made Joan’s bi-weekly visits a pleasure. Joan is also grateful for the wonderful care provided by the staff of VG 8.2 during her lengthy stays. In addition, Parkwood Home Care, and Closing the Gap Healthcare staff enabled Joan to remain at home in her final months, where family and friends were always welcome to visit. Over the course of her illness, Joan’s friends from Saint Agnes Church held many prayer vigils for her, providing spiritual solace in tough times.

Joan is survived by her husband of 32 years, Les Howie, sons Andrew and Adrian, brother John Kean and sister Ruby (Kean) Parson, and niece Kathryn Kean.  She was predeceased by her parents.

Visitation will be held Thursday, June 14th at 7 pm at Saint Agnes Church, 6903 Mumford Rd, Halifax, NS.  Her funeral mass will take place on Friday, June 15th at 10 am, also at Saint Agnes Church.  Interment will be at St. Luke’s Church in Port Caledonia, Cape Breton, on a future date yet to be decided.

Funeral arrangements have been made under  the care of T. J. Tracey Cremation and Burial Specialists, (902-835-4212).

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, or any charity providing support to cancer patients and their caregivers in your community.

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