Joanne Francis Baker
On Monday, June 7, 2021, Joanne, 92, died peacefully at home with family by her side. Born in Toronto in 1929, Joanne spent her first 11 years in London, England, before returning to Canada, eventually settling in Westmount, Quebec, with her parents Ernest and Hilda Laidlaw, her brother John and infant sister Marilyn.
After graduating from MacDonald College with a BSc(Agr) in 1950, she and her late husband, Robert (Bob) Baker, operated a 250-acre dairy farm near Huntingdon, southwest of Montreal. It was there they raised their four children: Colin (Deborah), Susan (Don Waters), Jennifer (Jerry Dunlap) and Wendy (Les Christensen). Once the kids were older, Joanne taught biology and science, first at Huntingdon High School and later Chateauguay Valley Regional High School. While busy doing all this, she also obtained her teacher’s certificate and continued to enrich her education.
Following Bob’s death in 1976, she pursued a dream she and Bob had shared – to work overseas. Over the course of 5 years, Joanne embarked on two teaching assignments in southern Africa, first in Lesotho and then Malawi. After extensive travels, she returned to Canada, moving to Brockville, ON. Shortly thereafter Joanne built a lovely home on Sand Lake, on the Rideau system. There she would enjoy all four seasons, tending her beautiful garden, swimming off the dock, reading, painting, canoeing and cross-country skiing. She was an avid naturalist, comfortably sharing her country home with the local wildlife, and her cats Audie and Patches. She also hosted visits with her bridge club, painting colleagues, friends and family, including her 6 grandchildren: Lindsay Baker (Andy Baldwin) – Oxford UK; Allison Baker – Ottawa; Sarah Baker – Paris, France; Erica Dunlap (Josh Aviet) – Ottawa, Rachel Dunlap – Guelph; and Shayne Gradwell – Calgary. In addition to her brother John (Marg) and sister Marilyn White (Cal), Joanne is survived by many nieces and nephews, cousins and her sister-in-law, Shirley Swiston.
At age 85, she moved to Royal Gardens in Peterborough, where she enjoyed independent living in her garden suite, and her many new friends and activities (she continued to garden and swim until recent years). In her own words, she “had a good life, full of interesting times and places”. A private celebration of life will be held at a later date. The family extends warmest thanks to the many doctors, nurses and PSWs who’ve helped with Joanne’s care in recent years, and to the many friendly, caring staff and friends at Royal Gardens. Donations in Joanne’s memory may be made to PRHC or a hospital foundation of your choice. She will be missed by family and friends, but she did indeed live a good life. Condolences to the family can be made through the funeral home online at www.CommunityAlternative.ca.
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Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Joanne Baker Laidlaw Monday June 7th 2021..
Death notice for the town of: Peterborough, Province: Ontario