Joan MacDonald

Obituary of Joan Margaret MacDonald

It is with broken hearts that we announce the passing of our wife, mother, grandmother, and best friend, Joan Margaret (née DeVenne) MacDonald, 80 years of age, of Hopewell, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, on June 5, 2022, at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax following a lengthy battle with Multiple Myeloma (cancer). Joan was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, the youngest child of Elvyn (Saint John) and Estella (Mills) DeVenne (Joggins/Ragged Reef). Her early years were spent on the family farm in Bloomfield, New Brunswick. The family moved to New Glasgow in the late 1940s where she attended Temperance Street School, then New Glasgow High School also completing her Commercial Secretarial/Business course. Joan served for a number of years as Secretary for the annual Clerk of Synod meeting for the Presbyterian Church for the Atlantic Provinces, and then as Assistant to the Secretary for Grand Lodge for the I.O.O.F. In later years, she worked as bookkeeper for a variety of local businesses, as well as a temporary secretary for the Maritime Odd Fellows Home in Pictou. She was a prior member and secretary with the Pictou County Arts and Crafts Society and worked diligently on many crafts and projects for their annual sales. Outside of raising a large family, Mum’s love of all things ‘crafty’ took much of her time. One of Mum’s favourite pastimes was crocheting, usually with several projects on the go at once including scarves, table cloths, and runners. There are more baby blankets, lap-gans and afghans in cribs and on couches throughout Pictou and Cumberland counties, and in other parts of the world than one can count. Yet her artistic endeavours didn’t stop there: an avid bibliophile, Mum tried to outdo herself from year-to-year in the number of books she would read. She also enjoyed writing and painting with many of her oil landscapes becoming gifts to family on many occasions. Now they’ll grace our walls as memorials. Mum had a traveller’s soul and was able to take flight herself. She and her eldest daughter made a bucket-list trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2015 where she met two pen-pals with whom she’d been corresponding for more than 60 years without meeting. It was a thrill for all with memories made for a lifetime. There were also trips to Ontario for family weddings, celebrations and vacations, along with two recent journeys to Newfoundland (including to the Gold medal Brier). It was a place she dearly loved and had hoped to return to again. Mum was loved so completely and endlessly because she embodied many wonderful traits:  She was kind and gentle but never a pushover  Our friends called her ‘Ma’- She often said when she went to town, she never knew who was calling her until she turned around. And she loved that  She scheduled her baking in the afternoon, so the aroma of molasses cookies and hot biscuits greeted us as we came home from school  She had a great sense of humour; she was witty and sarcastic but never cruel  She laughed at our jokes -most of the time -but the lame ones got ‘the look’.  When something struck her funny, she would throw her head back with a belly laugh. We’ll miss that.  She loved fresh-cut flowers and the smell of new-mown hay in the summer  She loved animals and tending her flowers and rose bushes aligned in an embrace to encircle the house she made into a home  And she provided unconditional love and support of her children and grandchildren. Joan is survived by her husband, Robert, of 56 years, her children Ralph Pearce (Deb), St. Marys, ON; Susan MacDonald, Halifax, NS; Scott MacDonald (Christa), Brooklyn NS; John MacDonald, Alma, NS; Todd MacDonald, Dartmouth NS, and Lorna Murdoch (Robert), Carrolls Corner, NS, and her sister Nita DeVenne, Toronto, ON, grandchildren Meagan, Monica, Justin, Alex, Calan, Lisa, Chris, Lucas, Brad and Ryan; and great grandson, Logan, along with several nieces, nephews, and dear cousins in Joggins. In addition to her parents, Joan was predeceased by her sister Audrey McNutt, Truro, NS; brother Bernie Mills, London, ON; father-in-law John ‘I’ MacDonald, mother-in-law Rose MacDonald (Williams) of Sunnybrae, NS; brothers-in-law Jock MacDonald, Sunnybrae, NS; Earlen MacDonald, Dartmouth, NS, as well as sisters-in-law Madeline Russell, Hopewell, NS, and Jessie Johnson, Pictou, NS. We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the nurses and CTAs on unit 8A at the Centennial Building, Victoria General Hospital, for the care and compassion they showed Mum and our family. We learned very quickly that she was in good hands, and we thank you all for the wonderful work you do. Cremation has taken place at T.J. Tracey Crematorium and Burial Specialists, Halifax. Thanks to the staff for the compassion they showed Mum and our family at this difficult time. A Celebration of Life will be held in Pictou County at a later date. Donations in Joan’s memory can be made to any local chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Hope for Wildlife, or the Canadian Myeloma Research Group (
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