Jo AnneThe strife is o’ver, the battle done; the victory of life is won; the song of triumph has begun, hallelujah!

Jo-Anne passed peacefully on Saturday, January 19th, 2013 at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance after a lengthy illness.  She is survived by her devoted partner and best friend George, sons Brett of Windsor, Mark, Michael and Colin (Theresa Gorman), all of Newmarket and loving grandchildren Blythe, Maddie, Anna and Isaac.  She is also survived by her sister Sharron Willock of Sarnia and brother Hugh Gillespie (Sandra) of Calgary.  She is predeceased by her sister Lorraine  (2007), her mother Margaret McPhee (2007) and father Lorne Gillespie (1986).

Jo-Anne began her first career in teaching in 1964 at Chatham Collegiate.  In 1969, her second career as mother began with the arrival of Brett.  In 1981, she taught at Ursuline College, Chatham after a short career in life insurance.  In 1984, she returned to University of Windsor to complete her Bachelor of Social Work degree and spent the next 20 years in Child welfare with the Children’s Aid Society and Children’s Services.  She was active in Victoria Avenue United Church as a council member and Chair.

Jo-Anne was first diagnosed with cancer in 1979 but was determined to live with cancer rather than die from it.  She was an inspiration and a role model to her family and friends.  She always set goals for herself and those around her.  Her final goal was to die peacefully and with dignity and that she did.

Family and friends are invited to the Alexander & Houle Funeral Home, 245 Wellington West, Chatham, 519-352-2710, on Monday January 21st visiting from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., with a Celebration of her life on Tuesday January 22nd at 11 a.m. at the funeral home with Rev. Jim Brown of Victoria Ave. United Church presiding.  Cremation to follow with interment at Maple Leaf Cemetery at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Building Our Future Fund of Victoria Ave. United Church or a charity of your choice would be appreciated.  On-line condolences may be left at

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