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Tuesday February 19, 2013

Edna Joan McKinnell October 9, 1931 - February 11, 2013
Joan was born in Hamilton, Ont., the youngest daughter of an Irish linen merchant. Intelligent and studious, Joan distinguished herself in elementary school by skipping two grades and entering high school at the young age of 11. At McMaster University, she studied French and German, and fell in love with her future husband Ashton McKinnell. The couple married on April 20, 1957. Their first child James Ashton was born in 1960, followed by Ian Bruce in 1962, and Julia Joan in 1964. Joan's love of learning led her to a career in teaching. She obtained a Masters degree in Education and worked full-time for the Etobicoke Board of Education. Her hobbies, at which she excelled, included calligraphy, quilt-making, needlepoint and sewing, but her great talent was singing and playing piano. In the 1960s, Joan was a chorister in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. For piano, she received the highest academic accreditation from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Tragically, at age 52, when Joan was in seemingly perfect health, she suffered a major hemorrhagic stroke that left her permanently paralyzed on the left side. For months she strove to regain mobility. A year after the stroke, she managed the feat of standing up to dance at her son Jay's wedding. Her motor abilities deteriorated over the years but Ashton was always there to help. Joan's quiet passion and fighting spirit carried her, amazingly, for another 29 years. She is survived by her faithful husband Ashton; Jay and daughter-in-law Lisa; Ian and daughter-in-law Ann; Julia and son-in-law Robert; grandchildren Zöe, Virginia, Lauren, Sean and Andrew. The family wishes to thank Joan's devoted friends Sheila Hambleton, Barb Wright and lifelong friend Kay Burbidge for their eternal kindness. For information on Joan's memorial service, please contact

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