January 20, 1947 – January 2, 2022
With heavy hearts, we announce that Jo-Anne Kartali passed away on January 2, 2022 at Concordia hospital at the age of 74 years.
Jo-Anne came from a large family, made friends easily, and had special connections with so many, that we cannot begin to list all she leaves behind to grieve.
Jo-Anne took care of people. It was her nature to give love, and pour her heart and emotional energy generously on to her family. She was not rich, but she brought so much value, beauty and warmth in to our world. She shared what she had and took on the hard, under-appreciated jobs that create community and connect us together. She was a first call both when tragedy struck, and when celebrations were called. She was the glue and back-bone to our family.
“Grama Jo” was a matriarch; to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild. We will miss her efficient, warm leadership. In another life she must have been a project manager with the number of weddings, showers, funerals and gatherings she planned. Christmas at her house was not just a holiday, it was a production. She made December magical with decorations, cooking, baking, gifts and socializing.
Jo-Anne was patient and loved by children. Teaching us cross-stitching, crocheting, rock-painting and other crafts, playing with puzzles, making blanket forts and putting kids to work in the garden. She was a natural mother-figure when we wanted to escape from our own parents, even as angsty teenagers. Nothing a talk over tea and toast can’t help.
“Grama Jo” lived in West Broadway for 28 years, making many friends and becoming entwined with the fabric and resurgence of the neighbourhood. Her family has been quoted as “West Broadway Royalty” in the publication “West Broadway’s Story of Hope, Challenge and Resiliency”. Her very presence engaging with neighbours and beautifying the family home exterior made the community better.
Jo-Anne loved her dogs with all of her being and spoke to them like people, as if one day they might start verbally responding to her. She was also caregiver to a grumpy, mean cat, and at times a loud, maniacal bird. Kindness to animals is innately connected to goodness of character. She had it in spades.
“Grama Jo” was a chef. Cooking, baking and pickling with her children, mother and sisters was an exhausting, all-day affair. She kept family meals and old recipes alive and passed-on. Making good food and enjoying it together was fundamental. Those coming to her house often left with a week’s worth of leftovers and groceries.
Her garden represented strong, adaptable and beautiful perennial flowers, well-chosen to brighten and maximize their space. She was happy to share her grapes, flowers and seeds with those who asked. She was a cultivator.
Jo-Anne was zesty. She religiously read saucy, bodice-ripping romance novels. She loved Elvis and Anderson Cooper.
“Grama” had a lot of “feedback” for news announcers, for Donald Trump, for her brothers and sister when she thought they cheated at cards. This trait was clearly not passed down to her children and grandchildren, who are all mild and subdued wallflowers.
We are relieved that Jo-Anne is not in pain any more, but crushed to not have had more time to reciprocate the love she put in to all of us. Hold your loved ones close, resolve conflict and put in the work, because time is both precious and limited. If you have a “grama Jo” in your life, count your many, many blessings. Tell them often and show your appreciation with both words and actions. Call and visit often.
Take my hand
Take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you…
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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