Joy Macklem, 91, of Lansdowne, Ontario, passed away in Ottawa on Friday, January 21, with family by her side.
Joy was born on August 15, 1930, in Westmount, Quebec, to Wilfred Jean (John) Belcourt and Hope Isabel MacMahon. Joy’s paternal grandparents were Mary Margaret (née Haycock) and Napoléon Belcourt. Napoléon was a constitutional lawyer, Speaker of the House of Commons, and a Liberal Senator for the Government of Canada (who advocated for Franco-Ontarian language rights and the recognition of Louis Riel’s contribution to Canadian politics.) Joy’s paternal Aunt Beatrice was awarded an Order of France for broadcasting French-language short-wave radio communications out of Boston into Occupied France.
Joy married Dr. Peter Macklem (deceased, 2011) in June, 1954. They lived in the Montreal area until the mid-1980s before moving to the beloved 1000 Islands. She is survived by her five children (David, Katherine, Patrick, Jennifer, and Ann); sons- and daughters-in-law (Loretta Caponigro, Robert Parson, Courtney Jung, and Patrick MacLachlan); twelve grandchildren (Philip Macklem; Andrea Parson Kott (Richard Kott), Richard Parson, Emilie-Anne Parson; Riel, Samuel, Miles, and Peter Macklem; Thea (Michael Robinson) and Eric Jones (Shuhiba Mohammad); and Emma and Jesse Macklem; and three great-grandchildren (Lilia and River Kott, and Simone Robinson).
Joy attended the Sacred Heart Convent School, graduated with a Bachelor of Science from McGill University, and worked as a laboratory technician at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and at McGill University.
Joy was a devoted, delighted, and energetic mother to her five children, who were born between 1955 and 1962, and a supportive and caring aunt to Louise and Michael Belcourt. She made sure that her kids were fulfilled and stimulated. She taught them to skate and ski and brought them to endless rounds of music, dance, swimming, and riding lessons, art classes, school events and more, and was always proud of her children’s accomplishments, no matter how minor. She taught her kids how to sew on her classic Singer sewing machine, and enjoyed many other textile crafts, including quilting, needlework, smocking, loom-weaving, upholstering, and knitting. She cultivated circles of friends with similar interests who were sources of emotional sustenance.
Joy was an avid reader of everything from the daily newspaper to biographies, memoirs, and especially fiction, often having several books on the go at any given time. She enjoyed going to the symphony, treasured her visits to art museums and galleries, and was an intrepid shopper. Joy loved baking bread and collected a large repertoire of recipes to feed her family.
After the children were older, Joy travelled the world with her husband Peter in support of his career, with extended stays in France, Italy, Belgium, Greece, China, India, Africa, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and elsewhere. At home on the St. Lawrence River, Joy was a gracious hostess to streams of international guests and colleagues of Peter – open-minded and welcoming to one and all.
Joy maintained a streak of independence; this was expressed by short trips of her own, driving her own vehicle, and maintaining her own condo in Montreal (that she generously shared with her extended family).
Joy was a dog lover and raised four of them. They were her close companions. An avid gardener, one would often see Joy with one of her dogs as company as she puttered in her rose garden.
Always with a sense of fashion and flair, Joy loved fine clothing, original jewelry, and beautiful places. Italy near Lago Maggiore and Bermuda were some of her later, favourite haunts. Much to her children’s delight, during her last decade Joy discovered true love again with Dr. Bill Cooke of Bermuda.
Joy contributed to her community and expressed her love of the St. Lawrence River through TIARA, a grassroots organization that promotes ecological stewardship. Joy could be joyful and radiant, and also blunt, witty, and pragmatic. She didn’t like “small talk” but enjoyed authenticity in her relationships with others. Joy made friends wherever she went, including the staff and residents at Riverpath Retirement home where she spent her final months. Her family is grateful for the compassionate attention she received from the PSWs and nursing staff there as well as from her good friend and caregiver in the 1000 Islands, Kathy Dickson.
Joy expressed agency and self-determination right until her final moments, when she firmly and courageously requested medical assistance in dying. She will be fondly missed by all her children, who count themselves extremely fortunate to have been blessed with such a mom.
A Celebration of Life will be organized within the next weeks, probably over Zoom. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to receive updates about this event.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a charity of your choice or:
Thousand Islands Area Residents Association (TIARA) – http://www.tiaraweb.org/
Kids Help Phone – https://kidshelpphone.ca/
Gananoque & District Humane Society – https://www.ganhumanesociety.ca/