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In Memoriam - Joan Grierson

Joan GRIERSON Obituary

JOAN GRIERSON (Robinson) B.Arch., M.Sc., O.A.A. (November 12, 1924 - December 13, 2019) With great sorrow, the Grierson family announces the death of their Joan. She died peacefully at home in Toronto, surrounded by family. Predeceased by her husband, William (Bill) Grierson, she was beloved mother of Sarah and Campbell; mother-in-law of Dean Waterfield and Carol Gibb; grandmother of Emma and Bea Waterfield, and Alistair and Maggie Grierson. Predeceased by her brother Jack Robinson and his son James, she will be dearly missed by her sister Meredith Saunderson (William Saunderson) and sister-in-law Lyn Robinson. Joan was aunt to Janet, Brian and Pam Saunderson, Elizabeth Touzel, Matthew and Michael Robinson, Bill, Tom and Susan Salter, Wendy Wargalla, and Dave and Steve Grierson. Born to George and Josepha (Spence) Robinson and raised in Toronto, Joan attended Forest Hill Public School, The Bishop Strachan School, and graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.Arch. in 1948. After obtaining an M.Sc. in Product Design at the Chicago Institute of Design in 1950, she returned to Toronto to begin her career, first at Page and Steele, Architects, Toronto, then at Sir Thomas Bennet and Sons, Architects, London, UK; and later at J. & J. Brook Limited, Montreal. From 1960 on, Joan worked independently, mainly on residential projects. She continued to work in her later years, initiating two publishing projects that were particularly close to her heart: in 2008, Dundurn Group published For The Record:The First Women in Architecture, which was edited by Joan and the For The Record Committee. She went on to co-author a second book with Alex Champlin, entitled William Grierson Selected Works, published in 2016. During this busy time, she also designed and project-managed a third-floor addition to her home in Toronto. Joan had an uncanny ability to work with colour, design and innovative construction techniques, as well as a unique professional style that combined skill and friendship. She inspired many young people, and was much admired by her family, friends and neighbours, to whom she imparted many gifts - everything from her wisdom and wit to a good meal and a place to stay. She will forever be in our hearts. The family is deeply grateful to her devoted caregivers, Mona and Gerry Rimando and Angela Balboa; and Dr. Stephen G. Ross. A celebration of Joan's life will be held Friday, January 31, 2020 at 2 p.m. at Rosedale United Church, 159 Roxborough Drive, Toronto, ON M4W 1X7. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following charities: Architectural Conservancy Ontario (, 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 206 Toronto, ON M5V 3A8; or Habitat for Humanity Canada (, 477 Mount Pleasant Road, Suite 403, Toronto, ON M4S 2L9.

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