June 1, 1932 – August 7, 2017
Jo (Josephine) Hopkins. Adventurer, grandmother, ace bridge player, dog lover. Born June 1, 1932, in Beccles, England, died August 7, 2017 in Ottawa, Ont., with Medical Assistance in Dying due to advanced cerebellar ataxia, aged 85.
Jo was born the second youngest of five children. Her father was a British army officer who served in Iraq, Pakistan and India. Tragically, Jo’s mother died when she was a child during World War 2 at a time of rations and great uncertainty. This meant that Jo and her younger sister were left without a primary caregiver at that very critical time.
Thankfully she was blessed with strength and resilience and these qualities carried her through her difficult start in life. During a break from boarding school while staying with friends in Wiltshire, she was offered employment for the summer on a local farm. The farm owners, a benevolent family who valued and embraced her, informally adopted her at the age of 15. Aunt Betty, her adoptive mother, said that Jo always put her whole heart into whatever she did and this was one of the things that endeared her to them. Their home became her home base and they supported and guided her until she gained her RN qualification at St. Bartholomew’s hospital in London, of which she was very proud. At the age of 23, Jo set sail for New York City for a one-year nursing assignment, and this was followed by a stay in Montreal, Canada where she met her future husband John at a tennis club. Together they had five children: Mark, William, Amanda, who died in infancy, Edward, Katie.
Years later, Jo and John moved to the Yukon after falling in love with it one summer on holiday. Jo was especially well suited to its lifestyle and was inspired by the landscape, the entrepreneurialism and being close to nature. She was a voracious reader with a great interest in historical fiction and politics and she was active in local and federal politics. She enjoyed cooking for her family and in her later years designed and sewed beautiful quilts. She loved animals, especially dogs and she was a generous volunteer, giving countless hours to many different organizations throughout her life, such as the Yukon Quest, Grandmothers to Grandmothers, the Food Bank etc.
For her last five years, we cherished having Mum live close by to most of us in Ottawa and it was especially wonderful to have her here to see the birth and first years of her latest grandchild. She was incredibly proud of her children and her seven grandchildren and was fiercely protective.
She is much loved & deeply missed. ~ Katie Hopkins