Joan Holmes

Joan Holmes, 84, passed away peacefully at her home in Victoria, BC on Wednesday November 10, 2021, following a brief battle with cancer. Joan was born in Galt, ON, on March 4, 1937, and was the only child of Reverend Wilfred Norman Charlton and Alice Jane Charlton (Harvey).
Joan will be sadly missed by her long-time loving companion of over 40 years, Don Rea, and his three children Steve (Liz), Greg and Lisa. Joan and Don loved traveling the world and visited Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Spain, Guernsey, and the United Kingdom. Another adventure was driving across Canada and up to Alaska. They loved this country but disliked the Canadian snow and cold temperatures, so they wintered in Florida for 10+ years before they settled in Victoria. She enjoyed playing golf and bridge, teaching Mahjong and participating in Tai Chi. She was well known for her quilling creations.
She loved the ocean and the beach. Her children remember living in Halifax and making two to three trips per week to Grand Lake in her VW Beetle. They’d fight over the front seat or the cubby hole and listened to The Carpenters, Anne Murray, or Roger Whittaker on the 8-track. They looked forward to swimming, building sandcastles and catching guppies while Mom looked forward to the peace and quiet while reading a book in her beach chair.
After moving back to Toronto in 1978, her husband John passed away suddenly the following summer. The family was shattered and at the age of 42, Joan was faced with raising her 4 children between the ages of 10 and 15, going back to work full-time and completing her Early Childhood Education Diploma at Seneca College during the evenings.
Joan was a dedicated teacher throughout her life. She graduated from the Toronto Teacher’s College in 1959 and began her teaching career at Palmerston Public School. She studied piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and taught piano privately in her home from 1965 to 1980. In 1971, following an eight-year sabbatical to raise her four children, she returned to teach at numerous Nursery Schools and Kindergarten programs in Halifax, Montreal, and Toronto. Her final assignment was teaching Junior Kindergarten at Havergal College in Toronto where she retired in 1991.
Joan was predeceased by her husband, John, in 1979. She was also predeceased by her parents, Wildred and Alice Charlton in 1977 and 1984 respectively.
Joan is survived by her sons, Jay (Linda) and Jordan (Angela); her daughters Jori (Pat) and Jillian (Henry); her grandchildren Jarrett, Jenna and Jackson; Johnathan and Mercedez; Mitchell, Connor and Brady; Niki; and her seven great grandchildren. Lastly, she will be remembered and missed by her special friend Jackie.
Her children were raised by a strong and courageous woman. She was tested on more than one occasion including a serious car accident in her youth, the sudden death of her husband and the first bout of cancer she beat in 1988. She was a fun, loving, thoughtful, kind and supportive daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. She was admired and will be deeply missed by all who knew her and loved her.
Philippians 4: 12-13 says…. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Joan will be cremated at Pacific Coast Cremation in Victoria, BC and buried along side her husband John in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Oak Bay Parks, Recreation & Culture, specifically for the Tree Donation Program at the Oak Bay Native Plant Garden. For more information, call (250) 592-7275 or visit

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Condolence Messages

  1. She was a special friend and shall be missed. My sympathy and prayers to the family.
    Jeanne Martin

  2. It is with great shock and sorrow that I just received a call from Jay telling me that Hilary passed away. I will never forget what a special friend she was! I was heartbroken when she moved away from Wellington, but I will always cherish all the hours that we spent dancing together in the many shows we presented. She kept up our friendship via email, so I felt like she was still here! Please accept my heartfelt sympathy and prayers.

  3. I am so sad about Hilary’s passing. She was a wonderful mah jong teacher,and a good friend.We will all miss her so much.

  4. Elizabeth Metcalfe

    Reading about Hilary has made me realize how little I knew about her life, even though we talked to each other quite a lot over the years. She will be missed by everyone who knew her. Condolences to Don, and to Hilary’s many family members.

  5. I am truly sorry to learn of Hilary’s passing. I spent many good times with her but never knew what an brave and accomplished woman she was. Please accept my sincere sympathy to the entire family.

  6. I am so sad about Hilary’s passing. She was a good friend and a great Mah Jong teacher. We will all miss her so much . Condolences to Don and
    her many family members.

  7. Mary Anne Inkster

    What a shock to hear of dear Hilary’s death. She was such a good, thoughtful and kind friend. After I moved from Victoria, I often heard from her and she would tell me when she had been past ‘my’ house and which bushes were in bloom at the time. I shall miss her. My heartfelt condolences to her family.

  8. My condolences to Don and all their families in the passing of such a remarkable women. She will be greatly missed. We kept in touch this past year through emails and so many ‘funnies’. Always so kind and thoughtful. She will be missed.

  9. I am so sad to hear of Hilary’s passing. My condolences to Don and the family. Hilary was such a good friend. We had many good times together especially at our 8 for 8 lunches. She was a talented, kind and thoughtful friend. She will be greatly missed.

  10. Marilyn Robinson

    I am so sad to hear of this. My condolences to Don and the many family members and her many friends. She was the most patient MahJong teacher and made our games very enjoyable. I will miss her.

  11. I am so glad that I met Hilary and I will miss her very much. She gave us such a gift with her Mah Jong classes and games – always so patient and kind. My sincere condolences to Don and all the family at this sad time.

  12. It came as a shock to hear of Hilary’s passing. She was a kind and patient teacher, and will be missed, especially by her Mah Jong group. Sincere condolences to her family. Judy Daly

  13. I am more than sad to hear about Hilary’s passing, what a terrific Lady! She had the patience of a Saint, teaching numerous women the rules and different games of Mah Jong and did it with such thoughtfulness and kindness. I am sure all our Mah Jong members loved and respected her as much as I did. I feel very Blessed to have known her, taken too soon. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Don and her many family members. Thank You For Your Friendship Hilary, I will miss our “jokes”! Love Always. Judy Sorensen

  14. I am deeply saddened by this unfortunate news. Hilary will be remembered as a kind, thoughtful and loyal friend. My sincere condolences to Don and their families. I have fond memories of our walks, car rides (where we would stop at Roger’s outlet store to taste and buy “seconds”), 8 for 8 lunches, Mahjong, etc. She was extremely talented. Her quill work was phenomenal and I was fortunate enough to receive several surprise gifts of her excellent workmanship. She played the piano beautifully and her latest endeavour involved ukulele lessons. I will miss her dearly.

  15. I remember when Don introduced my husband, Allan, and me to Joan and very soon felt as though I had known her forever.
    Joan was a truly lovely person in every sense of the word, and I am happy to have known her. She will be greatly missed.
    I am so sorry to learn of Joan`s passing, Don.
    With much shock and sorrow,

  16. I am so sad to hear about Hilary’s passing. We e mailed on a regular basis this year and got to know each other quite well. It was such a shock to hear the dreadful news as I knew she was so much looking forward to being discharged and back home. Rest In Peace Hilary I will always remember you and your beautiful quilling and loved having you as my mah Jong teacher. With love Jeanne

  17. Hilary, our friend and Mah Jong ‘teacher extraordinaire’ will be always remembered for her dedication, kindness and patience.
    Thank you Hilary for the happiness you brought to me..I miss you already.
    Let’s all treasure her memories!

    With heartfelt sympathy to Don, family members and fellow friends.
    Connie Scheurer

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