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Joan FINNIGAN

FINNIGAN, Joan Helen Joan MacKenzie Joan died in the Ottawa Valley among those she loved on Sunday August 12th, 2007, the year of publication of her 31st book, and 12th book of poetry, Looking For A Turnout. Joan Finnigan, daughter of Frank and Maye, was born in Ottawa in 1925. Joan attended Lisgar Collegiate Institute where in her final year she edited the 100th anniversary edition of Vox Lycei and in 1993 the 150th edition, entered Carleton University in 1946, married Grant MacKenzie in 1949, and graduated in 1967 from Queen's University where she earned scholarships and worked on their Journal. To support herself, then to help support her family while her husband was in medical school, then to raise their three children as a parent widowed in 1965, Joan wrote feature articles for the Ottawa Journal, Chatelaine, the Toronto Star Weekly and many other publications, together with radio scripts and teleplays for the CBC. She was gleeful that most feminists did not consider her one of them. Joan received the Centennial Medal for Poetry in 1967 for Entrance to the Greenhouse. In 1969 The Best Damn Fiddler From Calabogie To Kaladar, produced by The National Film Board of Canada, earned Joan the Genie award for best screenplay. The artwork and Joan's original manuscript for Look! The Land Is Growing Giants, published in French and English, were the first purchase by the National Library of Canada for its Children's Collection. In 1984 Joan's Laughing All the Way Home made the short list for the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. Joan's poetry collection, Wintering Over, made the short list for Ontario's Trillium Award in 1992. “I'm glad to be short and honoured to be listed”. The Mayor of Ottawa declared 16 April 2005 JOAN FINNIGAN DAY. Joan was a poet all her life. She always said that the poetry could not be coaxed and that rather “it arose spontaneously”. Woven throughout a lifetime of writing poetry, there have been plays, short story collections and oral histories: among them, Songs from Both Sides of the River which was performed at the National Arts Centre in 1987, Old Scores, New Goals: The Story of the Ottawa Senators published in 1992, Dancing at the Crossroads published in 1995, and six books of oral history beginning in 1981 with Some of the stories I told you were true and finally in 2004, Life Along the Opeongo Line. Joan did not choose between perfection of the life or perfection of the work. She chose both. Joan's three children, Jonathan and Roderick and Martha MacKenzie, and her seven grandchildren made her most proud. They were her gifts. Jonathan and Helen gave her Matthew, Caitlin and Maria; Roderick and Margaret gave her Iain and Maura; and Martha and Louis Vezina gave her Genevieve and Mackenzie. Joan loved each of them. Pre-deceased by her brothers John and Ross, she is survived by her sister Norma Goodfellow and Norma's daughters Ruth, Margaret and Jane and their families. She is also survived by her brother Frank, his wife Marie and their children Michael, Paul, Mary and Todd and their families. Many more loved her and Joan will be missed by all she knew. Friends may call at W. J. HAYES & SONS FUNERAL HOME (819-647-2221), 134 Centre Street, Shawville, Quebec on Friday, August 17 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. A service will be held at Shawville United Church on Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 10:30 a.m. followed by interment in Maple Grove Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations to The Hospice at May Court in Ottawa will be welcome. Today and always, in memory of Joan, hug someone you love. Then listen for the laughter in the Valley. 10782253
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