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Friday May 6, 2016


Joan died at home in Ottawa, on May 3, 2016, in her 90th year. Daughter of the late Dr. Almon Fletcher and Helen Mowat; Joan is survived by her sister, Margaret Evans of Toronto and predeceased by her sisters, Laura Martin (Tim) and Edith Watson (Donald). She enjoyed 55 years of marriage and adventure with her late husband, Dr. Donald C. Harrison and was the proud mother of Michael (Sarah), Christopher (Deb), David (Cathy) and Helen (John); and fond granny to Erika, Nathaniel (Michelle), Hamish, Nicholas, Noah, Andrew, Shannon and Laura. Joan will be remembered by her many nieces and nephews, as well as her friends and neighbours in Toronto, Ottawa and Go Home Bay.

Joan was born in Toronto and attended Bishop Strachan School. She studied medicine at the University of Toronto graduating in the class of 1951. From 1952-61, Joan and Don lived in Deep River, Ontario, where Joan worked in the Medical Research Division of Atomic Energy of Canada. After returning to Toronto, Joan joined the Dept. of Medicine at UofT, rising through the ranks to full Professor of Medicine in 1987. She received her FRCP(C) in 1984 as career scientist.
Joan pioneered research into osteoporosis. Working in collaboration with Prof. Kenneth McNeill and a dedicated research team, she applied nuclear physics to the investigation of metabolic bone disease resulting in a revolutionary technique for measuring bone mass which was critical to the diagnosis and eventual treatment of osteoporosis. Over the course of her career, Joan co-authored over 100 publications, was the Director of the Medical Physics Laboratory at Toronto Hospital and a founder of the Bone and Mineral Research Group at the UofT. She established the osteoporosis rehabilitation program at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and helped to form the Osteoporosis Society of Canada. Joan mentored numerous students and was exceptionally proud of their accomplishments. She retired from the University of Toronto in 1992, after which she devoted herself to church and volunteer activities. Joan was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1996.

Joan had an inquiring and expansive mind, was an avid reader and loved to debate ideas ranging from science to theology, politics to philosophy. She was a world traveller, an enthusiastic bridge player, a Scottish country dancer, a skilled skier and most of all she was absolutely nutty about sailing.
The family is grateful for the excellent care provided by Dr. Bridget Thompson, Shari Anderson, Laurie Meers, Theresa Pin and the rest of the palliative care team.
A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m., on Monday, May 9, 2016, at St. Matthew's Anglican Church, 217 First Ave, Ottawa. A reception will be held in Toronto at a later date.

If desired, donations to the Georgian Bay Land Trust or to a charity of your choice would be most welcome.

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