In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar


Joan Cogdon


Lieutenant, WRCNS


Born: 29 Nov 1918, Sunderland, England


Died: 03 May 2021


Obituary:November 29, 1918 – May 3, 2021. Through tears and gratitude for a life very well lived, the family of Joan Cogdon is sad to announce that she left this earth on May 3, 2021 at the age of 102. Born on November 29, 1918 in Sunderland, England, Joan and her mother boarded the SS Mauretania bound for New York City when she was just two years old. Her father had gone before them to find work and had sent word for them to come and settle in Canada because it was a “very welcoming place”. Most of Joan’s life was spent in London, Ontario. She studied the romance languages at Western University and then worked with London Life Insurance until she joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1943. She stayed with the Navy until the end of WWII, studying communications and rising in rank as an Officer to Sub-Lieutenant. After the war, Joan spent two years in Montreal translating Spanish for an investment firm and a few years as the Secretary to the President of Western University before deciding to go back to school to embark on a career in Nursing. Joan graduated from Nursing with a focus in Public Health in 1952. She held many roles in this field until her retirement in 1980 – including 15 years as a school nurse and a number of years as the liaison between Public Health and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. After more than 80 years in London, Joan decided to move to Halifax in 2005 to live out the rest of her life by the ocean. Joan was known for her crazy socks and love of art. In 2018, she generously donated her original Maud Lewis, complete with a handwritten note from Maud herself, to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Those who knew Joan would describe her as adventurous, spunky, natural, creative, spiritual, determined and caring. From scuba diving to piano to tai chi, field hockey, flute, meditation and dance, if something piqued her interest, she tried it. Joan was passionate about nature and wildlife. Her great nieces and nephews looked forward to the acres of land in the rainforest she would protect in each of their names every Christmas. She also loved to travel and experience new cultures – visiting many countries including Japan, Venezuela, Hong Kong and Columbia throughout her life. Joan’s last major solo trip was to Brazil at age 90. To her family and friends, Joan was an inspiration. She lived her life to the fullest and will be used as an example of carpe diem, seizing the day, for many generations to come. There’s no doubt that the most important person in Joan’s life was her brother Noel. After losing their parents in 1956 and 1958, Joan and Noel looked out for one another and remained close until his death in 2000. Joan is survived by her niece, Ann Cogdon, her nephew-in-law Reed Wilson, her eight great nieces and nephews (David, Sunshine, Benjamin, Nora, Adam and Rachel Wilson; Deanna, Michael Cogdon) and their families which includes 10 great-great nieces and nephews as well as Deanna and Michael’s mom Anne who helped care for Joan in her last few years. She was pre-deceased by her parents, George Barnes and Olive Cogdon, her brother and sister-in-law Noel and Marion (Redfern) Cogdon as well as her nephew David Cogdon, niece Donella Wilson and great-great nephew Louie Barnes Cogdon. In recognition of her career in health care, Joan gave one final gift by donating herself to the Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine. Please consider a donation in her memory to one of her favourite charities: the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Canadian Wildlife Federation or the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. “The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Robert Wyland (Saltwire Network 07 May 20210



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