Joanne Alison Gabriel, Fredericton, passed away at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital on February 5 after a long, courageous struggle with pulmonary disease. She was born in Streetsville, ON, in 1961, a daughter of the late John Porteous and the late June Colwell.
The family moved to Fredericton in 1974. Joanne enrolled at St. Thomas University as a mature student with small children and thrived in the university setting, graduating in 1986 with honours in sociology, with distinction, and went on to complete a Master’s in Sociology at the University of Guelph. She worked for the Welfare Department of the City of Toronto, a job she truly enjoyed. She returned to New Brunswick with her children and settled in Fredericton, where she taught sociology courses on contract at STU before retiring due to ill health.
Joanne was an accomplished pianist and a gifted writer, a movie buff and a lover of old TV series. Throughout her life she was a tireless defender of social justice issues, advocating for better conditions for people living in poverty. She showed kindness to others whenever she could. She had a marvelous sense of humour and a smile that lit up her face.
Besides her parents, Joanne was predeceased by a sister, Francine. She is survived by her children, Alison, Joseph, and Katlyn; four grandchildren, Myles, Jonathan, Kaylee, and Tyler; brothers, James Porteous and Alex Reid; sister, Sandra Porteous; several nieces and nephews; special cousin, Charlotte; friend and former mother-in-law, Christine Gabriel; and her beloved cat Jazzy.
Joanne cherished true friends. She was grateful for the lifelong support and friendship of Dr. Sylvia Hale, who had first mentored her when she was a young student at STU; Anne Mitton, a nurturing teacher who brought Joanne into a writing group and helped her develop her skills; Lisa Ross, who engaged Joanne’s musical talent in some of her wonderful drama productions; faithful friends K Brookland and Sandra MacBean; Frederick Fisher and others in a vibrant network of Facebook Friends with whom Joanne had lively discussions about social issues and who were, though far away, loyal friends.
In celebration of Joanne’s life, please say a kind word to one of the people that serve the public every day during the pandemic, or offer to help someone who is struggling with life in these difficult times. Condolences may be sent through www.yorkfh.com.