Skip navigation

Wednesday November 21, 2012

Janet Wilson

Mother, volunteer, teacher, sailor, golfer. Born Oct. 15, 1947, in Toronto, died July 21, 2012, in Halifax from colon cancer, aged 64

Janet was full of life, laughter and passion. Born in Toronto, she spent her childhood in Ottawa and raised her children in Halifax.

She was her kids' biggest fan, and whatever activity they wanted to do she found a way to make it happen.

She once made a six-hour return trip in one afternoon to deliver a pair of cleats to her daughter, who had forgotten to bring them to an out-of-town soccer game.

But Janet wasn't content to just sit on the sidelines. Not only did she spend cold mornings at ice rinks and hot afternoons on sports fields as a fan, she jumped in on the action, playing in local baseball, ringette, broomball and curling leagues.

Janet went to teacher's college after high school, and taught in Ottawa for many years. She married Brian Wilson and they had three children together - Jeff, Jennifer and Stephanie. The family moved to Halifax in 1982 and Janet fell in love with her new home.

She spent the next decades raising her kids, working various jobs and making the most of each and every day.

She spent countless hours volunteering her time to help support all of her children's activities, including being a Girl Guide leader, managing minor sports teams and acting as a chaperone for field trips.

She also volunteered with the Canadian Ski Patrol and at a local women's shelter.

After the children left home, Janet developed two new passions: golf and sailing. For the last two decades, Janet divided her summers between the golf course and the water.

She explored the coves and hamlets of Nova Scotia with her partner, Brian Smith, and their many friends, and volunteered teaching new sailors.

She also loved bridge, and belonged to the same club for 30 years, making lifelong friends among the other members.

When Janet was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in June, 2010, she faced down her diagnosis with grace, dignity and a courage that left her family in awe.

She made it easy for them to forget she even had cancer. She outfitted herself with a fanny pack so she could continue receiving chemotherapy while playing golf or bridge, or playing at the beach with her grandchildren. She refused to slow down.

Only one month after having liver surgery, she travelled to Ottawa to visit her brother and sister and her eight grandchildren, and went out on the sledding hill with them.

Her walls were covered with pictures of her grandchildren, and she spent hours regaling friends with stories of their antics and activities.

Through two operations, radiation treatment and two years of chemotherapy, Janet kept her spirits high with her never-give-up attitude.

Although she left us too early, she taught us how to face adversity and gave us a lifetime of memories.

Stephanie Borden is Janet Wilson's daughter.

To submit a Lives Lived:

Back to top