Joan Wakefield "Joan" Parkes

PARKES, Joan W. (nee Dixon)

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved Joan, on Saturday, February 24, 2018, following complications from her two-year struggle with cancer. She was the wife of Joel Parkes for over 46 years; mother of Alice Helen (Christian Piteau) and Joanna Lesley (Robin Senior);  Granny to Chloe and Annabelle Piteau and to Ella and Henry Senior. She will be remembered for her honesty, hard work, and devotion to her family and community.

Born in Toronto, she graduated from Bishop Strachan School (BSS) in 1959 and received her BSc degree at Trinity College, University of Toronto in 1961. After working for a short time in the Chemistry Department, she obtained her MSc in Biochemistry in 1968, and then pursued a career in laboratory research at U of T and the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute.

Throughout her lifetime, her love of sports and the outdoors led her to a diverse array of interests and activities. She was the Games Captain in her senior year at BSS and while at U of T, she competed in intercollegiate diving and skiing events. Her father nurtured her interest in sailing from an early age and she crewed for him in many RCYC races. This experience allowed her to become Head of Sailing at Glen Bernard Camp. It was there that she met several of her lifelong friends. Both family sailing and competitive races on Chandos Lake were an enduring source of pleasure in the summer months at the cottage. In the cooler months, she kept active playing paddle tennis at the Badminton and Racquet Club. Joan also enjoyed hiking on the Bruce Trail and on trails abroad where, as an avid gardener, she always had a keen interest in discovering the local flora.

Raising our daughters was a major part of Joan’s life. She nourished their healthy and active lifestyle from a young age and she enjoyed watching and taking part in their many school activities. This joy was rekindled in her later years through her grandchildren, spending time with them at every opportunity.

Giving back to the community through volunteer work was also important to Joan, working with the BSS “Old Girls” alumni as a year rep and organizing BSS’s 125th anniversary gala dinner. Through her athletic achievements at U of T, she became a T-holder, which led to her serving as the T-holders’ representative on the Selection Committee for the Sports Hall of Fame. She received the U of T’s Arbor award, recognizing her many years of outstanding contributions to this committee.

The family will receive friends at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville Avenue) on Saturday, March 3rd for a service in the chapel at 11:00 a.m.  

We are grateful to the doctors and staff of the Bridgepoint Active Healthcare and the University Health Network.  In lieu of flowers, donations to the Princess Margaret Hospital in support their important work would be greatly appreciated.  Condolences, photographs and memories may be forwarded through