Johanne Marie Louise Flore Emma Charlebois
by Sandy Lindsay
October 20, 2015
There was no doubt that Johanne Charlebois was her own person who lived life to the fullest.
When Joanne Charlebois came to Southampton and began her garden reformation, weeds were the name of the day. Upon purchasing the cottage that had been turned into a home, the beds were filled with sedum and mums interspersed with wild growth that threatened to strangle what beauty there was.
It was then we really got to know each other. We would work in the garden digging and planting after Jo chose what plants would go where. Weeds? No problem.
Not one to give up, Jo and husband, Brian, began to design a yard that would suit their lifestyle. Working in Toronto until their retirement, the couple needed plants that would require little maintenance during those days when they were unable to travel to their Southampton summer residence.
She and Brian married later in life and I remember Johanne showing me all the photos of their wedding and how happy she was.
While many people might prefer the privacy of a back yard, Johanne and Brian enjoyed sitting on their front flagstone patio with its portable fire-pit screened with ornamental grasses that provided some privacy.
Then, came the day after undergoing many tests ... Johanne found she had ovarian cancer. Just like her though, she contacted me and said ... "Sandy, can we get the news out there for other women?" She and I sat down and she talked.
Johanne, died of ovarian cancer at home on Tuesday October 20, 2015 with her family by her side. She remained beautiful, elegant and determined to the end. She died exactly as she lived, with tremendous strength, courage and resilience. Loving wife and soulmate of Brian French. Dear mother of Christianne, Brady and his wife Julia, Simone and her husband Bruce. Proud Grandmama of Nicolas, Thomas, Ethan, Maya and Jordan. Johanne, an always stylish lady, was never far from her hats, scarves or the colour red. She could be trusted to work the room at any gathering. As an accomplished planner and organizer, as well as an avid reader, she was an executive member of CFUW Southport as well as a member of the Circle of Readers and Women's Probus Book Club. Johanne loved the Southampton beach, driving her Volkswagen beetle convertible, gardening, reading, and cooking. But most of all she loved life, family and friends.
"To me, having cancer," she said, "is like being in a foreign country where you don't know the language, the culture or the geography. At the beginning, you just feel lost in the myriad of things that have to be done. Your whole being gets into a totally different mode and you have to learn so many things that you previously knew nothing about. It's almost like an out-of-body experience."
When she started losing her hair during cancer treatments, Johanne didn't sit back and wait. Instead, she went to her hairdresser and had her hair shaved off.
What else do I remember about Johanne?
I remember her deep raucous laugh as she would toss back her head.
I remember a hug EVERY time we saw each other.
I remember she said she loved the colour red.
I remember ... she never gave up.
Miss you already Johanne ...
Before she left us, Johanne asked that I share what she had said during our time together. (To read, Click Here).
Tuesday October 27th 2PM Service 2:00 p.m.
Refreshments 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Kingsway Christian Church
3776 Talbot Rd. (Hwy.3)
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Ovarian Cancer Association on momís behalf would be appreciated. www.ovariancanada.org
books, sports, movies ...
Wednesday, October 21, 2015