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McBurney (nee Watt), Josephine (Jo) Blyth

(May 31st, 2024)

Josephine (Jo) Blyth McBurney (nee Watt), 87 years young, passed away peacefully at Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson, BC on May 31, 2024, with family by her side.

Jo was predeceased by her dear siblings Charles and Melinda. She is survived by her four children, Janet (Mitch), Margot, Andrew (Michelle) and Joel (Réa), and by beloved grandchildren Emma, Aurora, Lucy, Théo and Bodhi.

Jo was born in Ottawa in 1937 to Charles (Chummy) and Aurora Watt. Her childhood was happy and full, with many adventures on Crescent Heights and wonderful times at Grand Lake, Quebec. She treasured her siblings Charles and Melinda, and their children; Heather, Doug, Jennifer, Ian and Peter and Sarah. Jo was an incredibly social person, with a wide circle of friends from Ontario, many of whom she remained close with all her life.

Jo adored her kids and was their protector, advocate and cheerleader. She instilled in them a sense of fun, curiosity and creativity, and in doing so gave them the courage to pursue their own paths, even if (especially if) those paths were unconventional.

After many visits over the years to her sons in Nelson, she made the move out west in 1999.

Here she found her happy place. In caring for her grandkids and many other children, she affectionately became known as “Nana Jo”. Her love of colour and design led her to start her own painting company, Word of Mouth. Happiest when up a ladder, brush dripping with paint, she worked on dozens of homes in Nelson and would often become fast friends with her clients.

Jo was passionate about the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grans to Grans initiative and the dear friends she made there. She volunteered at the Capitol Theatre and was an enthusiastic member of the Second Wind Choir. In her 80’s Mom still loved going to seniors’ centres and “singing for the old folks!’

Jo’s life is an inspiration to us all, in that she perfected living simply and well. There was always a project on the go, something to bake, a friend to laugh with. Endlessly curious and resilient, she was determined to live her life without complaint, regardless of how much suffering she endured in the last few years. Tucked in bed with her watercolours and YouTube instructional videos, she produced hundreds of little paintings of wacky birds and bright florals over the last few years.

Heartfelt thanks to her wonderful palliative and home support teams, whose gentle care allowed mom to stay at home and enjoy the best quality of life possible. To the always patient and professional staff at KLH (3rd floor and ER), BC Ambulance Paramedics, the Renal team at KBRH and the Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacy staff, a huge thank you. As well, the counsel and assistance of Thompson Funeral Home is truly appreciated.

Thanks also to the many, many friends who visited regularly. Your presence gave mom so much joy. Particular gratitude to her ukulele playing fairy godmothers, Lily Mayall, Sandy Joyce and Meg Stewart, for the love, laughter and music (especially Hotel California!).

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, June 29, from 12-3, at mom’s favourite cafe, L&C Bakery, 711 Radio Ave., Nelson BC. All who knew Jo are welcome. Light refreshments will be
served.

In memory of Jo, simply hug a friend, tell a joke, notice the beauty around you, share a cinnamon bun, spread some joy. This is all she ever wanted.

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