Josephine "Jo" Clare Wake

September 14, 1938December 16, 2020

Josephine Clare Wake (Duttson), fondly known by all as “Jo”, passed away peacefully on Wednesday December 16 at the age of 82 at Freeport Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario.

Jo is survived by her husband Matthew and Matt’s daughters Melanie Kirk (Kevin) and Tina Woodcock (Michael) and the grandchildren James, Gary, Tom, Ben and Bethany.

Jo led a full and exciting life. Born in Heaton Moore, England on September 14, 1938, she spent part of her youth living on a boat on the Thames River and abroad with her parents who frequently entertained family and cousins onboard. This was the beginning of Jo’s lifelong passion for entertaining and food. Jo loved animals and was passionate about breeding and showing her beloved German Shepherds in her younger years, or as she called them “Alsatians”. Jo spent two years studying abroad in France and in 1972 she married Matt who was her scuba instructor at the time. She was active in community theatre and loved performing.

Matt and Jo emigrated to Cambridge, Ontario, and in the ensuing years they travelled and thoroughly enjoyed life. Matt and Jo spent several years in North Carolina with their boat and made numerous lifelong friends, who all miss her dearly. Jo worked as a Fleet Manager in Cambridge and at Ratz-Bechtel Funeral Home (Later Westmount Funeral Home) until her retirement. She practiced and instructed Tai Chi for a number of years.

Jo was a fan of fantasy fiction and was involved in many author groups and became known as “Mother Dragon”. Her wisdom and skill with an editing pen were well known and she had her hand in editing fantasy novels from authors all around the world. News of her illness came as a shock, and well wishes poured in from all.

Throughout her life, Jo was a consummate Chef, and delighted in bringing friends together over good food and wine. When the internet made its appearance, Jo embraced it wholeheartedly, and joined numerous groups where she became a force in ensuring that internet friendships became real friendships. Over the years she would travel and meet many of these online friends around the world, and all remember her humour, her strength and her powerful personality. Jo went one step further in the online world and launched her own blog, “Jo on Food, Life and the Scent of Chocolate”, which she maintained up until September this year. She gained a faithful following, and her blogging will be sorely missed.

Jo was always an advocate for the preservation and care of domestic animals as well as wildlife and wilderness spaces. If anyone wishes to donate in Jo’s name, she would have appreciated this going to the World Wildlife Federation, or your local animal shelter.

Jo’s life was full of love and laughter. She fought her illness with the fierceness and passion she was known for. Her family and friends will miss her terribly, but she is now flying high with her beloved dragons.

Go well Mother dragon, you are loved.


Josephine "Jo" Clare Wake

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mary Ertel

December 19, 2020

Jo was the one to travel to a local farmer and bring us fresh asparagus and rhubarb. it was so much better than the grocery store produce. Thanks, Jo.

Susan Kelland

December 19, 2020

Dear Jo,
I suppose as well as my cousin you were my step sister, because after my parents died, your parents brought my two sisters and I up too. Even though you had left home to marry by then, I remember you looking so beautiful on your wedding day, with us as your bridesmaids in little blue spotty dresses. I also remember you Matt, teaching us snorkeling just like you taught Jo. Pity we lived in different countries, but we did manage to stay in touch over all those long years.
It sounds like you had a good life Jo, with very many friends and lots of excitement. And now I send you all my love, as you continue your journey onwards into fresh new pastures.
God Bless you dear Jo and my love to all upstairs!!

Karen Jankel

December 19, 2020

Like so many of Jo's friends we were brought together by our shared love of food and recipes. Initially we got to know each other online but then had the pleasure of meeting her when she visited the UK with Matt and we held a gathering in our home. She was an integral part of our friendship group and will be missed by us all and I am quite certain that everyone who was lucky enough to know Jo, either virtually or in the real world, will feel just the same.

Sharon Kaplan

December 18, 2020

I never met Jo F2F; everything was over the Internet or snail mail. I am part of the recipe group where we met but, because of a family member with a chronic illness, never got to travel to Canada to meet. Yet, she was a presence in my life and a dear friend. May your memory, dear Jo, be a blessing for all who knew you. Thanks for your friendship through these twenty plus years.

Elizabeth Seckman

December 18, 2020

There’s a reason we called her dragon. She breathed fire...whether she was pointing out the errors in my manuscripts, kicking my butt into gear, or calling me a philistine for my dislike of asparagus. She minced no words, withheld no love or affection.

Jo was the most supportive, thoughtful, considerate people I know. I never had the pleasure of meeting her face to face, but there was no rough spot in my life that Jo didn’t see me through.

She was the greatest of friends and she will be missed so much. By so many.

suzie hayman

December 18, 2020

I was one of the "Recitopians UK", a group of friends from Britain but also from around the world who met online and shared recipes, cooking tips, a love of all things foodie...and friendship. I did meet Jo face to face at least once, in the home of a fellow Recitopian in London (I live in the north west of the uk) or was it twice? It's significant i can't remember because she was a presence in my life and a dear friend for so many years and the fact the vast majority of our relationship was online was neither here nor there. We gossiped, passed around favourite recipes, asked for support and gave it, just as if we'd been meeting up in our favourite coffee shop. I will miss her. i will remember her.

Denise Hammond

December 17, 2020

I will miss you Jo, more than you know. You were a 'blog buddy' without equal. May you rest in peace.