Joan Elizabeth Heron

September 6, 1924December 9, 2012
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Heron, Joan Elizabeth Helenor (nee Whitehead). September 6, 1924 – December 9, 2012 Joan passed away peacefully at her home, Villa Carital, Vancouver with her daughter Valerie by her side. Joan was the dearest mother to Valerie and a supportive wife to her late husband, James (Jim) Mackie Heron; a strong support to her late sister Babs (Lillian Lewis) and a grand source of pride to her late parents, George and Lillian Whitehead, all of Ruislip Middlesex England. Joan grew up in Ruislip a small town 20 miles from the center of London, England. As a young girl amongst the bombs and blitzkrieg of WW II, Joan and Sister Babs helped their parents run and manage their pub, The Plough. Joan and her sister were left orphans by the age of 16 and were taken care of by their Uncle Phil. Mom finished grammar school and went to work as a book keeper for B.O.A.C. and then a few years later, Victoria Saw Mills where she met long-time friend Valerie Ormerod. In 1942 Joan joined the Land Army to “do her bit for Brit”. In 1943 she met her husband Jim Heron at an RAF dance and they were wed in Uxbridge, England in January, 1944. Joan continued to work for Victoria Saw Mills in charge of all book keeping while Jim was immersed in working with the War Damage Commission branch of the British government. In 1956 Joan and Jim immigrated to Canada to settle in the Toronto area where they purchased their first home and raised their daughter Valerie. Joan had many fond memories and stories of the years she and Jim spent in their new Canadian home. Wonderful memories of fun times entertaining friends and family alike including the Robinsons and Bourdons who had lived near Joan and Jim in England and immigrated to Canada around the same time. Joan and Jim moved back to England in 1969 to run their own business. Years later they returned to Canada and settled in London, Ontario again as entrepreneurs. Daughter Valerie moved to B.C in 1996 and 1 year later, Joan and Jim followed and set up home in Parksville on Vancouver Island where they enjoyed 5+ years of “island time”. After Jim’s passing in 2001, Joan moved to the mainland to be closer to her daughter where Joan continued her passion of volunteer work for the Arthritis Society and S.O.S. Society. In 2003, Joan was awarded Volunteer of the Year award by the Arthritis Society of B.C. Joan will be dearly missed by her daughter Valerie and close family friend Andrew Robertson along with family, Peggy and Neil Hibbert, Christine and John Fisher and, Ron and Milly Collet of Ruislip Middlesex, Jean and Jimmy Johstone Ayr, Scotland and close friends the Bourdons of Oshawa Ontario, Langbeen and Cairns Australia, Robinsons of Guelph Ontario and the Lees of Calgary Alberta. We would like to especially thank the staff and nurses at Villa Carital Senior Care Residence for their wonderful care, friendship and support to Joan over the past 3 ½ years. Thank you to Drs. Murphy and Hay for their ongoing support for Joan. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Joan’s memory to either the Parkinson’s Society of Canada ( or Villa Cartial Residence ( Condolences can be left at My dearest mom; please rest well and be at peace. I will sadly miss your lovely smile, caring soul and funny wit. You will forever be in my heart and in my memories; until we meet again.


  • Celebration of Life Thursday, January 3, 2013

Joan Elizabeth Heron

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Pam Bourdon

January 15, 2013

I have to think in terms of "us" as over the years it has always been about Len and Pam and Joan and Jim, right from when we were all "new Canadian' and, brand new parents! In retrospect it is amazing the confidence we had and, that it would all work out. Canada was wonderful for us all; how lucky we were.

It is wonderful to know, in the absence of family, you have friends who were always there for you. We had lots of fun in those years, silly happy parties, real camping weekends under canvas with all the attendant discomforts - hot, sticky yelling kids, weird one pot meals and toasting marshmallows over the camp fire.
Then they all grew up... Len and I went travelling in our trailer. One April we were returning to Ontario, driving ahead of one of those scary late winter storms. Realized we couldn't make it to Toronto so, of course "phoned Joan and Jim" seeking refuge in London, Ontario. It was the blizzard to end all blizzards and we were marooned for three days - in great comfort I might add.

So happy that Joan and I spent time together one last time in Vancouver - even if, in late March, we had a week of wind, rain and sleet and - being in transit from sunny Australia, she rigged me out in woollies and wet weather gear so I could experience beautiful Vancouver city to the max! All my love Joan, Pam xx

January 7, 2013

Dear Aunt Joan. I remember you as always cheerful and caring, always interested in what was happening in our lives. You will be sadly missed.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, loves leaves a memory no one can steal. (Anon)
Love Christine Bourdon/Eade and family xxxx

January 4, 2013

I have many fond memories of Joan. Her quick witt and effervescent, charming personality were always present when you spent time with her. She loved to have a cup of tea and just chat. Conversations with Joan were easy and always interesting. Over the years that I knew Joan she battled several health issues but always demonstrated amazing resilience, fortitude and sheer determination to get better. I always believed that it was her devotion to her daughter Jo that helped her battle adversity.
Jo, although your Mom is no longer physically here she will be with you for the rest of your life. You will treasure memories of good and challenging times. New and old acquaintances will remind you of things that your Mom may have done, said or appreciated. The fact is that your Mom is very much a part of who you are. Take time to greive, then move forward with her resilience and determination.
I love you very much.

Cindy Novak

Julie Wood

January 1, 2013

Most of the wonderful things that I knew about your elegant mother were through the many stories that you told me over the years. A certainly learned from your words what this woman meant to you and what space she occupied in your entire life. My words today are to try to console my friend whose loss is so great. Jo, you not only a great person but a friend that I will always cherish. In observing you through the years I have seen a person that takes care of everyone and the affection that you have shown my children is second to none and profoundly appreciated. But I must admit, that I always marvelled at your loyalty and affection for your mom. My only lesson here, is that I hope that I will have to courage and strength to follow in your footsteps and be the good person that you always are. You are truly the sister that I never had.

December 18, 2012

You will be missed Aunty Joan! I have fond memories of our times together over the years in Ontario and British Columbia. Love Susan Lee xoxoxox

Andrew Robertson

December 18, 2012

Joan was a lovely lady with so much life and sparkle. She was a wonderful mother, as the daughter she raised in Val is the most caring and beautiful person I know. Joan will be missed. I knew her for the last 5 years and she was a delight to be with. God Bless you, Joan.
'We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when,
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day'.
God Speed and Bon Voyage Joan,

Andrew Robertson

Eva Roberts

December 17, 2012

I knew Joan from when she was about four and lived next door at The Plough in Ruislip. About two years later I remember when she had chicken pox and was looking out of the window, when the horses and carts were setting out from The Plough for Northwood Carnival.
We used to play at the pub or at my house at Bury Street Farm. She loved to read. I used to call on her in the morning so we could walk to school together (the Church School). Sometimes her Mother would still be drying her socks over the gas stove!
We remained friends for the rest of our lives and I went to Canada to visit her.

Eva Roberts (nee Collins) England. I will be 92 in two weeks time

Valerie (Jo) Heron

December 12, 2012

My dearest mom;
I know the last few months were a struggle and I take comfort in the fact you are at peace now. Your passing has left a hole in my life, one that was filled with your love, compassion, friendship and beautiful signing voice. A child could not have asked for a more caring, supportive and, loving mother and friend.

I have many, many fond and loving memories of you mom that I will cherrish for the rest of my life. Recent memories of attending the Barbra Streisand Concert in October where you sang to many of her familiar and famous songs. Your beautiful voice still strong after all these years. Memories of lovely holidays in the U.S. N.E., Florida and England. Memories of learning to cook from the best and how important it was to learn how to peel a potato without taking the whole potatoe with the skin! Memories of gardening and learning to grow my own vegetables. Memories of just sitting and chatting over a lovely cup of tea!

I thank you for my life and making me the person I am today. I know your life at times was hard and challenging but your tenacity and passion always helped you overcome what ever hurdle was put in front of you. Your family in England loved you dearly and I know today they are very saddened at your passing. You may have been all cousins to one another, but you loved each other as sisters.

My dearest mom, you will forever be in my heart and in my memories and I know one day we will be together again.

Rest well and at peace my dearest mom... I love you very much.

All my love always

Val xxxxx