Whitney Pier

It is with deep sadness that we, the family of Joan Marie Gillis, announce her passing on Sunday May 6, 2018 at the An Cala Palliative Care unit of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Sydney after a brief, courageous battle with cancer. 

Born on May 24, 1940 in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Joan was the eldest daughter of the late John A and Mary (MacKenzie) Gillis.

Joan is survived by her three brothers, Greg (Jeannie) Alliston,ON, Gerald, Sydney and Phonse (Angela) Antigonish; two sisters, Ann Doreen (Bailey) McCrea, Bramalea, ON, Lexie (John) Martin, Miramichi; and by numerous nieces, nephew, grandnieces and grandnephews. Joan has two surviving aunts, Sarah Catherine (Neil) MacKenzie and Amelia (Aloysius) MacKenzie.

Besides her parents, Joan was predeceased by her niece, Cheryl Ann McCrea.

For many years Joan worked as dental hygienist for Dr. Epstein. This was followed by giving private care to the elderly with beautiful dignity and compassion.

The most important element of Joan’s life was the love of her family and especially, her dear brother, Gerald who walked beside her every step of the way. This partnership, coupled with her strong faith and positive outlook helped carry her through this difficult time. Also, a most sincere thank you to Joan’s cherished friend, Marilyn, for her love and friendship these past sixty years. She will be remembered by her friends for being caring, loving and helping those in need.

Joan was an avid and talented artist who loved to sew, knit, quilt and crochet. She also had a deep love for Cape Breton music. Through these wonderful gifts Joan acquired many lifetime friends.

Visitation for the late Joan Marie Gillis will be held at the Pier Community Funeral Home, 1092 Victoria Rd. (entrance on Church Street) on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 from 2-4 and 7-9 pm. 

Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 10 a.m. at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church with officiate, Rev. Paul Murphy.

Interment will take place in Resurrection Cemetery, Sydney Forks.

Please join the family for a reception at the Pier Community Funeral Home after the Funeral Mass. 

In lieu of flowers donations in memory of Joan may be made to either the Canadian Cancer Society or the Holy Redeemer Building Fund.

The Gillis Family would like to thank the wonderful cousins, neighbours and friends who have supported the family during this time. As well, our sincere appreciation is extended to the staff of the Oncology and Palliative Care Departments for the outstanding care provided to Joan during her cancer journey.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care and direction of Pier Community Funeral Home. 

Send an online condolence.


                              Online Condolences

We were very sad to hear that Joan lost her battle with cancer at such a young age. We send our thoughts and prayers to all the Family, Ann, Bailey, Lexie,John,Greg, Jeannie, Gerald, Phonse, Angela and all their children.
With heartfelt condolences,
From: The Borsato Family

On behalf of Eleanor, Norm, Arlene Epstein (family of the late Dr. Buddy Epstein), I would like to extend our condolences to the whole Gillis family on Joan's passing. Joan worked for my father for close to 30 years. She and my father worked very well together. My father appreciated the important role that she had in his dental practice – and her commitment and dedication in ensuring that excellent care was provided to all patients. She was well liked by patients; she was friendly and caring to them. For me, I have very good memories of how kind that she was to me, when I was growing up in Sydney. She was very considerate and thoughtful. My mother and I were happy to reconnect with her when she was in Ontario a couple of years ago. All of us would like to extend are sympathies and warm thoughts to all of you.
From: Brian Epstein

My sincere sympathy to you all on the loss of Joan! She was a very wonderful person, and a very wonderful cousin. Joan was so very talented! May all the very wonderful memories that you all have, help you all in the difficult days ahead. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. God love and bless you all and keep you all, always in His care. Your loving 49er cousin
From: Valerie Ann MacKenzie

Dear Gerald and family, So sorry to learn of your sister's passing. Deepest condolences.
From:  Dianne Colford MacAskill

Very sorry to hear of Joan's passing. We were out of town at the time. I would see Joan once in a while over the years and she was always pleasant to meet.Iwould liked to have had the chance to see the family at the funeral as this seem to be our way of seeing each other as we age. Hello to all The Gilles family and I am sorry for your loss. Rosalie Doyle Lionais
From:  David J. Lionais