Sydney River

It is with shattered hearts and profound sadness that we, the family of Dr. Joanne ‘Jo’ Lynn (Evely) Pyke announce her peaceful passing at home, surrounded by her loving family on Friday, June 7, 2024.

Born on July 21, 1958, in Whitney Pier, Joanne was the youngest of eight children and proud daughter of the late Ruth and Lloyd Evely, both of whom she idolized. Jo is survived and will be tremendously missed by her loving husband of 41 years,  best friend and number one fan, David Pyke; two special daughters, Erin (James) Forsey, and Sarah (Matthew) Foston; precious grandchildren, Callum, Clare and Christopher; siblings, Ruth Sando, Sandra Evely, Ron (Joanne) Evely, George (Rhonda) Evely, Valerie Evely and Gary Evely; brothers-in-law, Chris Tamm, and Blenos (Gena) Pyke; sisters-in-law, Valerie (Donald) Penny, and Marsha (Gordie) Walker, many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews; as well as her kindred spirit and childhood best friend, Holly Mombourquette.

Besides her parents, Jo is predeceased by her father-in-law, Alvin Pyke; mother-in-law, Sarah Pyke; sister-in-law, Darlene MacDonald; sister, Beverly Tamm, and brother-in-law, Barry Sando.

A dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend, there was truly nothing Jo couldn’t do. She was a brilliant, classy, beautiful, elegant, graceful, humble, caring and kind woman, with a quick wit, who left a lasting impact on everyone who came into her presence. She was a natural leader, a high achiever, an inspiration and a role model. She was proof that you can do anything if you work hard and never give up.

Jo attended Whitney School where she met her sweetheart, David. Together, they graduated with many friends from Sydney Academy in 1976. Number 21, Jo played basketball and graduated from the College of Cape Breton with a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies in 1979, the first class to have a graduation ceremony on the now Cape Breton University (CBU) campus. Shortly after, she began her career working at the Royal Bank, eventually joining the Whitney Pier branch. A life-long learner, she went on to complete a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University College of Cape Breton (UCCB) in 1993, while working full-time and raising two young children alongside her husband. In 1997, she started working as a payroll clerk in the Business Office at UCCB and worked her way up to an Associate Professor of Marketing in the Shannon School of Business at CBU. She completed a Master of Business Administration Degree from City University in Renton, Washington in 2001 and at the age of 53 earned a PhD in Marketing from Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom in 2013. Dr. Pyke retired from CBU in 2019 after being connected to the university for over 30 years as a student, athlete, administrator and professor. She was described by her students as authentic – a coach, mentor and friend, who often hosted end of semester gatherings at her home. Nominated and voted on by the students, Jo was recognized with the Alumni Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2012. She would often joke with her students that she had another year of eligibility left on the basketball court and her students always complimented her fashionable wardrobe. She incorporated real-world case studies into the classroom as much as possible, providing a hands-on learning experience which benefited both her students and local businesses. She was published in top-tier journals and even co-authored a paper and book chapter with her daughter, Dr. Sarah Foston. She taught for a period of time in Eskasoni, which helped foster her research interests in aboriginal cultural tourism. For that, she is forever indebted to many local Indigenous communities for supporting her studies.

As a proud homegrown gal, she was an advocate for Cape Breton, and was involved in many community initiatives. Most recently Jo sat on the Committee for the SPCA fundraising golf tournament, Putts for Pets, and at one time served as President of the Whitney Pier Youth Club.

First and foremost, Jo was a family person. ‘Jo’ and ‘Davie’ were a powerful team, and when they took on a task together you knew it would be completed with top notch quality. They loved to travel all over the world – Florida, Boston, Vegas, New York, Phoenix, and across the Caribbean and Europe. Their fondest memories include traveling to see Erin complete the Boston Marathon and their many trips across the pond to visit Sarah in England with stops in Ireland, Scotland and France. Many memories were made during family vacations to Ruth & Barry’s house in Markham, Ontario and Holly & Rick’s place in Phoenix, Arizona.

Jo’s pride and joy were her kids and grandkids, and we admired her ability to balance a career and family. No matter how demanding life got, she always put family first. She never missed a sporting event, school concert, birthday, graduation, and everything in between. She always instilled the importance of family and continued to teach her grandchildren the same values, and always led by example. ‘Nana Jo’ was a ‘Jill of All Trades’ and was often referred to as our real-life superwoman. Sewing, baking, cooking, knitting, quilting and crafting, she had a knack for decorating and often hosted family dinners, showers, anniversaries and gatherings. She was the rock and glue to our family. She had a sweet tooth like no other and always ‘put the kettle on’ to enjoy a laugh, especially with people who shared the same dry sense of humour. Though she loved to be snuggled up at home in ‘pinky’, she remained active in retirement, taking up golf and was a member of both the Lingan Golf Club and the Bell Bay Golf Club. In addition to golf, Jo also enjoyed playing pickleball with her husband, sisters and many friends. She enjoyed downtime at the trailer in Baddeck and dates with the ‘tea girls’. She was the definition of beauty and brains, and truly was everything that one would aspire to be. Jo, Mom, Maggie, Nana Jo, Dr. Jo – you will be loved always and we are forever grateful to be part of the amazing life you built.

Memorial service to celebrate the remarkable life of Joanne Pyke will be held at Sydney River United Protestant Church on Monday, June 17 at 11 a.m. with a reception to follow from 1–3 p.m. at the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club Room on the second floor of the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion. Private family interment will take place at a later date.

A special thank you to long-time friends Dr. Michel McKeough and Louise McKeough, who went above and beyond to give mom the best care possible over the years. A sincere thank you to Dr. Wissam Saliba, Colleen Turner and the staff at the Cape Breton Cancer Centre, Drs. Keating, Bonnar, McCarville, MacCormick and Ogundipe, the amazing staff of 3B at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital including special nurse Naomi who took excellent care of ‘mama’.

Donations in Joanne’s memory can be made to the Tom MacNeil Cancer Patient Care Fund or the Whitney Pier Youth Club.

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

Online condolences can be forwarded to the family at

Rest easy mom, we know you’re enjoying a caramel square and tea, once again, with Nana. Your tremendous legacy will live on forever and will always be cherished. We Love You Uncountable.

Online Condolences

Joanne’s presence was so kind, shiny and bright. She was beautiful both inside and out. We miss her even from Toronto and value having known her.
To her family, may your remarkable memories ease your way forward.
From:  Jo Ann and Jim Stevenson

Dave & Family, Debbie and I are shocked to hear of Joanne’s passing, we have a lot of fond memories of the old days that will last forever. Please accept deepest condolences from our family, Joanne will be missed by all.
From:  Gary, Debbie, Jeffrey and Jonathan Chew

My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I worked with Joanne at CBU
From:  Mary Neville

So very sad to hear of Joanne’s passing. We shared time together with our young families and her friendship left a lasting impression of memories which always made me smile. To Dave, the girls and your families, my heartfelt sympathy. You will be thought of and prayed for in the coming days.
Sincerely, Norma (O’Brien) Currie

David and family- So sorry to hear of Joanne’s passing. She will be dearly missed. Thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.
From:  Darlene Aucoin

David, Erin, Sarah and Families, so very sorry for your great loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this very difficult time.
From:  Greg Thomas

David, Erin, Sarah and your families, Eddie and I are so sad for your loss. We wish we could be there to give hugs and support. We watched while you did such an incredible job caring for her over the last little while. A wife, mom and nana. A life ended far too soon. Our heartfelt thoughts are with you at this very difficult time. Please know our love surrounds you even from a distance.
Prayers and our deepest condolences Love Lorraine (Hazel’s daughter)and Edison
From:  Lorraine Edison Carrington

There is another ray of sunshine in heaven!
Dear David, Erin, Sarah and family,
We were sorry to see the passing of your precious Joanne today.
Be assured of our love and prayers for each of you.
Joanne was a bright light in many lives, especially those closest to her.
She radiated beauty not just in the physical sense but within, having a heart of kindness for others.
A gentle word, a gentle smile….
She lived life well.
Hope is the light that lifts us, guides us and helps us find our way.
Beyond the valley of sadness lies the comfort of grace, God’s grace as He has given you the gift of so many wonderful memories.
Hold each of them close, may they bring you comfort and strength.
As God walks beside you in this time of great sorrow, may you each experience His healing touch and tender care.
Take care of each other.
God bless you.
Love and prayers,
From:  Janice, Janet and Nancy