Joan Gravelle

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Joan Gravelle

Joan Constance Gravelle (nee Shepard) (4 September 1919 - 21 February 2014) was a British war bride, housewife and Canadian immigrant.

Early life

Joan Constance Shepard was born to Norman and Constance Shepard in the UK. She had one sibling: her sister Betty.

Life in Thunder Bay

Joan met Canadian Eddie Gravelle during WWII and moved with him to Thunder Bay after the way. Her sister, who married and became Betty Goodings, also moved to Thunder Bay, and became a ballet teacher.

Her children Michael Gravelle and Susan Gravelle (later Susan Houtin) were friends with Ron Currie growing up (they attended high school together), and so it was through that relationship that Gravelle and her husband in the 1980s were occasional babysitters for young Michael Currie. Currie's strongest recollection is of the bowl of glass eggs that was kept on the table in their living room on McKibbin Street in Thunder Bay.


It is with great sadness that the family of Joan Constance Gravelle (nee Shepard) announce her passing on February 21 at the age of 94. Born on September 4, 1919 in Margate, Kent, England, Joan moved to Hove, on the south coast of England, where she happily spent her formative years.

During World War Two, she met Eddie Gravelle, the great love of her life, who was serving Canada as a soldier with the Lake Superior Regiment.

On October 12, 1946 Joan and Eddie were married in Port Arthur, raising seven children and sharing a wonderful life together until Eddie passed away in 1999.

Joan (or 'Joanie', as she was known by so many of her friends) was a truly remarkable person. Well known for her strong, independent spirit, as well as her utterly engaging and humourous personal style, she enjoyed life to the fullest, exploring the world with Eddie, while raising her children with love and devotion. A petite, youthful and very pretty woman, Joan's sense of 'style' was legendary. But, it was her intellect (she read voluminously) and her sense of culture that truly defined her. All those qualities had a strong and positive impact on her children and grandchildren.

Sadly, the last seven years of Joan's life were more difficult. In 2006, she moved into Pioneer Ridge Long Term Care, as dementia began to take hold of her. Still, she remained 'Joanie' until the end, with a feisty yet sweetly charming nature that endeared her to both staff and residents. In that regard, our family is enormously grateful to the kind and caring staff at Pioneer Ridge, who cared for Mum in a most loving and compassionate manner. Their love for our mother made the last part of Joan's journey one of great dignity.

Joan was pre-deceased by her parents, Norman and Constance Shepard, her sister Betty Goodings and her adoring husband Eddie. She is survived by her seven children Susan (Roy), Michael, Elizabeth (Paul), Sarah (Howard), Peter (Shelley), Charles (Brenda) and Mark), 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She is also survived by sister-in-law Myrna Gravelle and numerous loving nieces and nephews. Joan leaves a proud and loving legacy. She will be deeply missed by all of us.

A memorial service will be held for Joan on Saturday, March 15 at 11:00 am in Sargent & Son Funeral Chapel, 21 North Court Street, with visitation in the chapel on Friday evening, March 14th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Community Living Thunder Bay. On-line condolences may be made at


The Chronicle-Journal [1]