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Joan Arlene Jilks (Butt) - Online Memorial Website

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Joan Jilks (Butt)
Born in Canada
81 years
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Life story
April 4, 1925
Born in Canada Toronto, ON on April 4, 1925.
May 13, 2006
Passed away on May 13, 2006 at the age of 81.
July 15, 2006

On May 13th, at 9:00 a.m. Joan Arlene Jilks (Butt) passed over in her 81st year. As a loving wife to Raymond Dane Jilks in Bala, she looked after him until the end. Their marriage of 59 years endured ill health and she was ‘just fine, dear,’ until the end. She embraced her last moments on earth in the beauty and the peace of her Bala lakefront home. She visited the hospital several times in the last few weeks of her life, but remained adamant about dying in her beloved home. Her children ensured that this was made so.

As a wise and loving counsel to daughter Jennifer (Brian), formerly of Ottawa, and son Robin, of Campbell River, B.C., she poured her heart and soul into showing her love for her family. As a beloved grandmother to Caitlin, Jesse, Terry and Keegan she took much joy in their long distance phone calls and as many visits as the children could manage. Her loving support bridged the distances between one and all. She thought of them often and was so very proud.

Predeceased by her dear sisters Lillian (Austin Forsyth) and Marion, and by her brother Frederick (Adie), many family mementos reflect a bond that remains eternal. The cottage guest book records many days spent hosting friends and family alike, beginning in 1962. Her brother and sister had cottages in Bala and much time was spent in Muskoka enjoying the company of family members.

Joan faithfully remembered birthdays, anniversaries and ceremonial occasions of friends, family and loved ones. With such a generosity of spirit her kind, caring energy was felt by all whose lives she touched. Her Christmas cards, always finished by October, were hand-written with a message for each recipient. She had a huge correspondence list. Her annual Christmas Open House was filled with such joy and Christmas Spirit. Two trunks, a sack and three boxes of Christmas decorations were donated to the church for their annual bazaar. Her great delight was the Bala United Church Christmas in July celebration, at which time she could again celebrate her most favourite season of the Christian year. She began playing Christmas Carols in late August, upon her return to Toronto.

Joan spent the last 29 years of her working life at the Rotary Club of Toronto. As an Honorary Life Member, commemorated by a plaque dated April 26th, 1991, the club recognized the fact that she embodied the spirit and ideals of the club. She trained many club presidents and executive secretaries. She knew the name and face of every one of the 500 members. She demanded hugs and kisses every Friday on their meeting day. Joan served the members well. In the November, 2003 Rotary Voice, well after her retirement, a column by John Spragg (a past-president) said, “I will also miss Joan Jilks, honorary member and former secretary in our office. ‘Secretary’ What am I saying? – she ran the place.”

Their wedding announcement speaks of a wonderful ceremony, lauded in song by their church choir. Joan’s sister sang at her wedding, her brother gave her away. The choir formed an honour guard as the register was being signed. Their lives remained firmly grounded in music, the church and many other varied interests during their long marriage. Joan volunteered at the CNIB for many years, in addition to her church work. As a young woman she accompanied her sister at the piano, sang many church choir solos. Both Joan and Ray lost their parents at the age of 15. They quit school in order to work and support their families. She took great delight in the educational lives of her children and grandchildren.

In the 1970’s Joan sang with her husband and daughter in the North York Chorus. In 1980’s she and Ray participated in a Gilbert & Sullivan group. Upon her move to Bala, she remained a tireless church worker, she volunteered for the Bala Cranberry Festival and led the Bala United Church choir in the winter. Her life remained focused around her many church activities from the age of sixteen. She met Ray on the steps of her Anglican church. It was one of their strongest bonds, aside from their respect and love for one another, a weekly ritual of choir practices and their lives revolved around the Christian calendar and their spiritual lives.

A celebration of life for Joan Arlene Jilks took place at the Bala United Church July 15th at 1:30.

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