Joan Sinding

Joan Sinding (Cookson)

Friday, October 29th, 1937 - Monday, February 24th, 2020
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On Monday, February 24th, 2020, Joan Sinding passed away, on her own terms, at home and surrounded by family, at age 82.

Joan was born on 29 October, 1937, in Farnworth, Lancaster, England, to Margaret Cookson (Seery) and John Cookson. She graduated from Bolton Municipal Technical College, and immigrated to Canada in 1959 . She worked as a legal secretary in Washington DC, Toronto and Hamilton, and in Burlington she created her own business, an arts and crafts shop named Greenbriar, which thrived from the 1980s to the 1990s.

She married Boje (Bill) Sinding in 1965, and raised three children, Chris (1967) and twins Rob and Mike (1970). Joan was a highly talented folk artist, and teacher of folk arts, at her shop and at the RBG and elsewhere. She loved to travel with Bill and her children, and to visit them in far-flung places. They loved working with their hands on all manner of imaginative projects. They loved to garden, and they created superb expansive gardens from scratch. They loved to cook, and they prepared wonderful feasts together. They loved to read, and devoured newspapers and magazines daily, and much of the library. They loved to dance, and learned the waltzes and polkas of the time, and got dressed up and went dancing to live bands at the local halls, into the morning hours. Some of these were “immigrants clubs”, as mom said (mom and dad met at one of them), but “the music united us all.”

Joan passed on her loves and her talents to her kids. She was a gentle, vital and caring and inspiring presence in all of our lives, always, the kindest person we have ever known.

Joan’s husband Bill and her sister Margaret passed away a few years ago.

Joan is survived and deeply missed by her children, her grand-daughter Abby, her daughters-in-law Melissa, Cheryl and Amy, and by extended family and good friends .

Joan and her family deeply thank Dr. Kate Prangley for her extraordinary, unfailing, warm and humane personal care in the past months and years. Kate is what doctors are meant to be. And in the background, over years, much gratitude also to Jennifer Wiernikowski, Jonathan Sussman, and Pat Smith.

Joan is very grateful to have been able to gather at home with family at the end, spending time looking over the old photos and sharing wonderful memories and meals and tea.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Cancer Assistance Program (CAP).

Mom told us to have a lunch together, to scatter her and Dad’s ashes in the garden (the Japanese maple, the lilac, the lavender), and to look after one another. And so we shall. A small private memorial has been arranged.

Thank you Mom, lots of love, and good-bye.
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Private Condolence

Ann Chisholm

Posted at 06:07pm
Chris, I was so sad to hear about your Mom. I'm Barbara's sister. Your Mom was such a beautiful person, inside and out. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Robert Sinding

Posted at 05:09am
I’m glad I was able to thank Mom and Dad in birthday cards before they passed. We had the best parents anyone could hope for. My childhood was so wonderful so happy. I told them I never truly appreciated all they had done for us until I became a parent. They worked tirelessly to give us every opportunity to succeed, And a better life than they were given, Dad by working his body and skills to the limit and imposing values, mom by raising us and teaching us to love learning and reading and to be kind and respectful and appreciate the beauty in this world. As a teenager I sometimes repaid that tireless thankless devotion with arrogance and selfishness but also with honouring their main teaching - do well in school (despite them never pushing us they encouraged us and we are now a lawyer and two professors). It worked.

But life can be hard and a title doesn’t mean success. It is hard enough as a parent to do what they did and make us feel and be safe and cared for. One must also lead and teach by example. I promised Mom I was going to live a better life and I owe it to her and to my daughter Abigail to try to be half the parent they were. It is exhausting and hard when trying one’s best to teach and be fun and attentive even without a job to come home from. But it is essential to at least be there for them and live a good life so they learn. So I appreciate all Mom has done for me and I am so glad I was able to reiterate that to her in her final days. Mom’s passing has emphasized that us children are now truly the adults and the ones carrying on our family name and traditions. I intend to step up and show the strength and humanity they did. Thank you Mom for showing us the way.

Michael Sinding

Posted at 11:35pm
That last poem that mom wanted remembered, at her memorial:

By Anne Alexander Bingham.

“It is Enough.”

To know that the atoms
of my body
will remain

to think of them rising
through the roots of a great oak
to live in
leaves, branches, twigs

perhaps to feed the
crimson peony
the blue iris
the broccoli

or rest on water
freeze and thaw
with the seasons

some atoms might become a
bit of fluff on the wing
of a chickadee
to feel the breeze
know the support of air

and some might drift
up and up into space
star dust returning from

whence it came
it is enough to know that
as long as there is a universe
I am a part of it.

Robert Sinding Posted at 05:12am

I love that poem because it speaks so well to how I have perceived the limited immortality we can know of.


Posted at 07:52pm
Hi everyone. So sorry to know of the loss of your dear mother and friend. Joan and I only met a few times but shared a special bond as I'm sure such a sincere woman shared with so many others. We kept in touch for years. Dug back into my Mom's photo albums and found a couple of nice memories. Love, Barbara from Sechelt....Janey's daughter.

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