Mary Gillis

Obituary of Mary Josephine Gillis


Mary Josephine Gillis

née Jeffery



Born on January 10, 1932 in Kirkland Lake, ON to Joseph Royden and Mary Lenore Jeffery, “Mary Jo” died peacefully on April 1, 2023 at her place of residence in Collingwood, ON.


After moving to Toronto in her twenties, Mary Jo met her husband, Michael James Gillis, and they were married on December 30, 1960. During their 36 years of marriage, they raised four children and moved from Toronto to Halifax and back again before she was widowed in 1996. Whilst raising her children, she continued to pursue her education and received a Bachelor of Arts from York University (1976), Bachelor of Education from St. Mary’s University (1980), and Masters of Education from the University of Toronto (1980). Mary Jo worked as an educator for nearly 20 years, teaching Visual Arts, Religion, and Special Education through the Toronto French School, the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the York Catholic School Board until she retired in 2001.


A devout Catholic, Mary Jo was a regular churchgoer. She attended Blessed Sacrament in Lawrence Park, Blessed Trinity when she lived in Thornhill, and St. John’s during her years in The Beaches. A collector of art, Mary Jo could tell the life story of every painting she owned after many of her other memories had begun to fade.


Mary Jo was predeceased by her husband Michael, her parents Joseph and Mary, her brother Martin and her sister Eleanor Vesey (née Jeffery). She is survived by her four children: Roy (Ruth), Anne (Pat), Michael (Jacquie), and Mary Jo (Steve); 11 grandchildren: Meredith (Jordan), Michael, Maureen (Mathias), Kathleen (Julian), Danny, Dylan, Claire, Devlin, Cole, Griffin and Riley; six great-grandchildren: Rebecca, Elizabeth, Christina, Wallace, Edwin, and Rowan; nieces and nephews Kathleen (Hal), Aidan (Kyle), and John (Lori).


The family will receive friends at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville) on Thursday, April 27th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. A funeral mass will be said at Blessed Sacrament Parish, 24 Cheritan Avemue, Toronto, on April 28th at 11:00 a.m. An interment will take place at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, Grand Mira, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.


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