Jean Mary Puusa
6 February, 1935 – 21 March, 2021
Born February 6, 1935 in Chesterfield, England; Died March 21, 2021 in Scarborough, Ontario. Jean Mary Hill was born in the midst of the Great Depression in inter-war Britain. The eldest child of agricultural labourers cum dairy farmers, Jean and her parents lived for a time in Thulston, Derbyshire. She went through the education system successfully. The death of King George VI cast a pall over her 17th birthday. Jean’s childhood in the Derbyshire countryside contributed to her lifelong love of animals and nature.
Jean was able to secure employment with the railways but she and her friend Janet Burgess discovered a thirst for adventure which led them to immigrate to Canada in June 1957. Jean settled in Toronto, Ontario. She was unable find a job with a railway company in Canada but did get a job with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). Through a work connection, Jean was introduced to Raimo (Ray) Eino Heimo Puusa (who came to Canada from Finland in December 1951), and the two were married on August 5, 1958.
Ray and Jean were able to visit England in 1959-1960 so that Ray could meet Jean’s parents Bill and Mary Hill and Jean’s younger brother John. Ray, a qualified carpenter, found himself out of work, and went to Toronto Teachers’ College to become a technical trades teacher specializing in carpentry. A teaching position came up in Windsor, Ontario so Jean and Ray moved there in 1962. A son named John was born in October 1963. In 1966, Jean, Ray, and John moved to Scarborough as Ray secured a job with the Scarborough Board of Education.
In January 1968, Jean, Ray, and John moved into a new house on Cockburn Drive where Ray and Jean would reside for over 49 years, before downsizing and moving into McCowan Retirement Residence in 2017. One of Jean’s important connections with the local community was her volunteer work in the library at Charlottetown Junior Public School, working with various teacher-librarians over the years.
Jean and Ray were voracious readers and for many years, they borrowed library materials through the local library branch, Port Union. Jean and Ray did many crossword puzzles together over the years. Jean liked to collect reference books and enjoyed looking up facts and information.
Jean was a kind, caring, and loyal friend who would pitch in to help, whenever needed. Jean loved music and her musical tastes were wide and varied – including classical music, musicals, Neil Diamond, and Willie Nelson. Jean enjoyed attending Andre Rieu concerts with her late sister-in-law Leila Puusa. Jean had many enjoyable musical outings with long-time friend, the late Vilma Gasperi.
Animals and nature were important to Jean. She loved birdwatching, and feeding birds, squirrels, and chipmunks – not just at home but also at the family cottages on Clarendon Lake and Kawagama Lake respectively. Animals were also welcomed in the family home – first, Charlie the white miniature poodle, then Whiskey the black and white cat, and finally, Charlie the golden brown and white tabby cat.
Jean had a good memory and recall but this changed with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Selling their home, Ray and Jean moved to McCowan Retirement Residence where Jean received additional care on account of her dementia.
Ray’s love and devotion to Jean never dimmed, even when her memories receded more into the past. This love story took an unexpected turn when Ray fell and seriously injured his kidney which led to Ray’s demise in hospital on February 28, 2021. Jean was also in the same hospital when Ray passed away, on account of dehydration and not eating nor drinking. Hospital care helped Jean to rally so she returned to the retirement residence. However, the rally was short-lived, and Jean passed away on March 21, 2021, three weeks after her husband of over 62 years had died.
In addition to Ray, Jean was pre-deceased by: her father Charles William Hill (1912-1990); her mother Sybil Mary (Litchfield) Hill (1915-2008); and, numerous aunts and uncles. Jean is survived by her son John Puusa (Sheila); her brother John Hill (Louise); her nephews David Hill and Matthew Hill and their families; and, numerous cousins.
Due to the COVID-19 challenges, there will NOT be a service at this time. When it is safe to do so, a celebration of life will be held for family and friends to share their memories of Jean. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer Society Toronto, Ontario SPCA, Toronto Humane Society, and/or the Scarborough Health Network Foundation are welcome.
Jean will be forever loved and missed by family and friends. Rest in peace.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Jean Mary Puusa
have a memory or condolence to add?ADD A MEMORY
15 April 2021
Dear John, my deepest condolences to you, Sheila and your family on the passing of your mother. The tribute to her was absolutely lovely. Please take care during this difficult time.
3 April 2021
Our thoughts and love to John and Sheila. Very fond memories of Aunt Jean and Uncle Ray. Eric & Joanne
31 March 2021
Jean was a lovely lady and kind neighbour on Cockburn Drive. We are sorry for your loss, John and Sheila.
Ron and Karen Heino
John and Louise Hill
27 March 2021
We are heartbroken to have lost Jean, she was John’s only sister and Louise’s only sister in law, so she occupied a huge place in our hearts and we loved her very much.
She was so full of knowledge, loved books, children and cats and she was our place to go if John wanted to remember something from their early years.
We will miss her terribly and our love and thoughts go to John and Sheila at this impossibly difficult time. Xxx
26 March 2021
I can't imagine your grief John and Sheila. Our deepest condolences. Aunt Jean was a wonderful woman, who somehow managed to put up with the rest of us. Our thoughts are with you.
Peter, Maura, Hayden, Jackson
26 March 2021
Jean was a kind loving neighbor. She was a volunteer in the community She spent many years helping a neighbor and good friend Marlene watching over daycare children which 2 of them were my children. She loved children Ever so thankful to her helping hands She loved cats and always had a smile. Sadly missed on Cockburn drive .
25 March 2021
John (and Sheila),
I was so sorry to hear of your mother's passing. Aunt Jean was a lovely woman.
And, although this is a very difficult time for you, know that you are not alone.
I am sure that your mother and your father are happy to be together once again and are smiling down on you.
Love your cousin,
Teresa (Puusa) Ziskos
25 March 2021
Am saddened to hear of your Mum’s passing but we know she is now once again safe with your Dad. It has been a very challenging time for you John but you know you have the strength and support of family behind you as you go forward. Sending you both much love from my family to yours.
Parris Sander (nee Puusa)
25 March 2021
I’m so sorry for your loss, your mother was a lovely woman. I’m sending love to you both and to the family x
24 March 2021
John and Sheila
Our deepest condolences in the loss of your mom our heart goes out to you and your family. Tom and I wish you our sincere prayers at this sad time . Hugs
Miriam Earley (Puusa)
24 March 2021
Sheila and John,
We are sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. Thinking of you during this difficult time.
Love, Miriam, Bill and family