Joan Fraser

29 January, 193429 March, 2021


Joan Fraser, 87, passed quietly after a brief illness and short stay in hospital. She will be missed dearly by her children, Peter (Debbie Fitzgerald), Susan (Nick Mosky), Janice (Steve Machat) and by her grandchildren Lindsay, Sasha, Hannah, Dylan, Ella, Sam and Noah, as well as friends, classmates, neighbours, fellow volunteers, colleagues and parishioners. Joan loved people and politics and was deeply committed to serving her community.

Joan grew up in Woodstock, NB where she thrived under the watchful eye of her loving mother, Jennie. She lost her father, Ernest, at the end of the war in 1945 and her brother, who she adored, in a tragic sledding accident in 1940. After high school, Joan left Woodstock for Wolfville, NS to study at Acadia University. Joan was delighted when her daughter Janice and granddaughter Hannah chose to follow her footsteps furthering their education at her alma mater.

Joan graduated from Acadia with a BA (Economics) and moved to Halifax where she worked at Imperial Oil and later, Trans Canada Airlines. It was during her time at Imperial Oil that she met her husband and life partner, David. They married in 1959 and enjoyed over 50 years together before David’s passing in 2014. Their marriage was one of love, family, generosity and good times with friends.

Joan will be remembered for her eagerness to get involved and make her community a better place. She thrived on the human connections she made along the way and was known as a tireless campaigner, advocate, mentor and community organizer her entire life.

In 1982, after years of volunteer work and raising a family, Joan was appointed as Judge in the Court of Canadian Citizenship, a position she held until 1985. Following this, Joan was the Executive Director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia until her retirement in 2002. In this role, Joan helped lead ground-breaking work to prevent disease and increase medical research capacity in Nova Scotia. She became a champion of the health charity sector in building a healthier community.

Joan recognized the positive impact politics could have on people’s lives. She knew that to get things done you needed to organize. Joan had an open mind and held many diverse views, nevertheless, throughout her life, Joan was a fierce and staunch supporter of both provincial and federal Liberal parties. She organized parties and helped to lead campaigns but was just as happy to make phone calls, rally support and knock-on doors. In her actions, Joan showed the importance of building relationships and stepping-up to do the tasks that needed to be done.

Joan served on several volunteer boards and advisory committees throughout her active life. She was a founding member of the Joseph Howe Festival Society and served as a Board Member on the Halifax Transition House. She was a former Nova Scotia representative on the Federal Advisory Committee on the Status of Women and a past member of the Board of Directors of the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre. Joan also served on boards for Acadia University and the Acadia Divinity College. She was a member of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority for over 50 years and always looked forward to weekly meetings, fundraising and social events. In 2013, Joan received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal, which honoured the significant contributions and achievements made by Canadians.

Joan’s hope and passion for a brighter future, her eternal optimism and kindness towards others were deeply rooted in her spirituality and faith. She was a long-time member of First Baptist Church, Halifax serving in many capacities over the years including the First Baptist Church Auxiliary, Chair of the Diaconate and Chair of the Board of Management.

As busy as she was in the community, Joan always found time to relax and travel with friends and family. Joan cherished holiday and social gatherings, always decorated beautifully, and ensured there were special treats for everyone. David’s birthday celebrations were always a summer highlight. No one liked a beach on a sunny day more than Joan whether it was in Hubbards or Port Hood, Port Howe or Kennebunkport, Florida or Vancouver Island.

Joan continued to live independently with the support of dedicated VON and Northwood Homecare staff. The family would like to thank Dr. Andrew Humphrey, the VG 3rd and 6th floor ICU staff and Urology Unit physicians for their compassionate, patient and gentle care of Joan in her final days as well as the countless friends, family and neighbours who ensured Joan was well cared for and supported in her final years.

A funeral service will be held at First Baptist Church, Halifax on Saturday, April 24th at 1:00 pm. Cremation has taken place. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and limited numbers, this service will be by invitation only. The service will be live-streamed for those wishing to participate from home - First Baptist Church Livestream. Interment will follow ceremony at Camphill Cemetery. Words of comfort for the family can be forwarded to: Cruikshank's Halifax Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or Acadia University. Joan was a proud Acadia graduate. She was afforded the opportunity to attend Acadia through scholarships and bursaries. Donations directed to Acadia will be used to offer financial assistance to an undergraduate student pursuing studies during the 2021-2022 academic year through the Joan Fraser Memorial Fund. For anyone wishing to send a cheque, they can note Joan Fraser memorial in the memo and send cheques payable to Acadia University to: Office of Advancement, Acadia University, 15 University Avenue, Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

Interested parties can make donations directly to Joan Fraser’s Memorial Fund online and receive their charitable tax receipts by email at the following URL:


24 April

Funeral Service

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

First Baptist Church Halifax

1300 Oxford Street
Halifax, NS B3H3Y8

24 April

Memorial Service

1:00 pm

First Baptist Church


24 April

Committal Gathering

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Camp Hill Cemetery

1600 Summer St
Halifax, NS B3H3A6


Joan Fraser

have a memory or condolence to add?

Linda Moreash

18 April 2021

Sincere condolences to Joan’s family. She will be missed.

Mike and Linda Moreash

Anne Sears

15 April 2021

Joan was a remarkable pillar of kindness, wisdom,caring, commitment and hard work. Adjectives could never do justice to her amazing feats of leadership and accomplishment, while at the same time exhibiting her qualities as a loving wife, mother and grandmother.
A Christmas tradition at our house shall be no more. Each year Joan would load her friend Suzan with a variety of homemade treats.( Joan realizing full well that Suzan's baking skills were nil), but wanting to insure that such an impediment would not hinder the Christmas celebration of the Antigonish MacLean's.
For almost 25 years my children (Suzan's kin) have savoured the deliciousness of "Joan's Goodies ". Countless friends of theirs, while dropping by over the holidays would inquire as to the whereabouts of "Joan's Box". They were more than delicious !!!
Within the past six weeks I had joked with Joan that her Liberal leadership clip might lead to Hollywood. But she told me laughingly, that she would not be able to make it.
A donation has been made to the Antigonish Community Foodbank in Joan's memory.
Treasure the memories !

Anne Sears

Guy Archambault

14 April 2021

I knew Joan when I was working in the Translation Bureau in Halifax in the 1980's. Our offices were close to one another, and I often went to see her to discuss politics. Those moments were always fun and instructive. I have fond memories of that period.

My sincere sympathies go to the family.

Mary and Eric Balkam

12 April 2021

Janice, Susan and Peter

Eric and I were sad to receive the news that your mother had passed away. We enjoyed so many celebrations and good times with Joan (and Dave) over 30+ years. Most memorable were our annual New Year’s Day dinners that Joan hosted, celebrating Robbie Burns, basketball games at the Metro Centre and Joan and Dave’s birthdays. We welcomed them into our home from time to time over the years and shared lots of laughter and great conversation.

Her love for the 3 of you and your families shone through whenever we chatted by phone or were together in person. We join with so many others who will miss Joan’s indomitable spirit and energy. Our hope is that you will feel comforted by the many wonderful memories that you all share.

Mary and Eric

Joan Morrison

11 April 2021

Our lives crossed multiple times over the years :
from Trans-Canada Airlines to First Baptist Church.
Always pleasant, always positive,
Joan left an indelible mark upon her path.
To you, her children and grandchildren, I extend my
sincere condolences upon your loss.
Joan Morrison.

Beth Currie

11 April 2021

Peter, Susan, Janice and family,

Joan was a loving, kind and generous woman. She was always there with support when I needed it the most. There with strength and compassion through the illness and death of both of my parents. There during other trying times in my life.
She never hesitated to put you to work on a cause and you always learned something along the way. Her life was incredibly full and her accomplishments many. The most important thing however was her family.
We were lucky enough to have Joan and David in our lives from the beginning as our parents were very close. There were never four people who could dismantle lobster better. Of course sunny days at the beach were truly the best with deeply ingrained memories of laughter and the waves at our toes.
I dearly hope our parents are all together now on that perpetually sunny beach they all loved so much.
Rest In Peace Joan
You will be missed
Love Beth

George Borgal

8 April 2021

Peter, Susan, Janice and families,

I was so sorry to learn of Joan's passing. I've known Joan only recently through her activism concerning housing development and city planning. Even in this short time. however, I found her to be an amazing, compassionate person who deeply understood the value of family and how well the strength of neighbourhoods form the basis for the communities we all live in and depend upon. She also understood that local government will only be as good as is our capacity to hold it to account for the planning standards we need. She was an incredible grassroots organizer and tireless voice able to deliver clear messages to city planners and to Council on our behalf. She was the kind of friend and neighbour we should all aspire to become, and her voice and energy will be very much missed.

George Borgal

Leo van Dijk

8 April 2021

Dear Janice and family,

So sorry to hear of Joan's passing but what a great Lady and great life to celebrate and give thanks for. I first met Joan through politics and despite our age difference quickly became friends and occasionally partners in crime in various political and community projects and later as a corporate partner with The Heart and Stroke Foundation. Each interaction demonstrated Joan's amazing passion, compassion and spunk and I am grateful to have had the privilege of knowing Joan.

Corinne Corning

6 April 2021

My condolences to all of Joan’s Family for the loss of a wonderful person who meant so much to so many. Joan hired me in 1997 as Education Coordinator at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of NS and enabled my return to my beloved province from Nfld where I held a similar position with the Foundation. I was always grateful for her faith in me, her support and guidance. After her retirement and moving on to other roles we kept in touch and enjoyed a continued friendship. She will be missed, an irreplaceable woman.

Anne Marie Pellerin

5 April 2021

My heartfelt condolences to Joan’s family and friends. I had the privilege of friendship with Joan and David during my years in Halifax, and will treasure the many fond memories of a thoughtful, generous and always hospitable couple.....and oh the chuckles and laughs! The beautiful tributes to Joan say it all....she was indeed a remarkable woman. God Bless!
Anne Marie Pellerin

From the Family