Skip to content

COTTRELL, Dorothy Joan



(1925  -2020)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
She didn’t want to go, but on Friday February 21, well-loved Orillia resident Joan Cottrell fell into her final sleep. Beloved wife of Bob (predeceased) and partner and friend to Tom Barnett (predeceased). Loving mother of Barry (Janice Hewitt) and Valerie (Jamie Powell), Joan was a supportive fun-loving nana to her four grandchildren, Jody Armstrong and Brent Cottrell and Gray and Elizabeth Powell. Her joy of life continued with her great grandchildren Lily, Liam, Hunter, Holden and Tennyson. Born Dorothy Joan Barton in Liverpool England to Florence (Westhead), a pianist and Joseph, a railroad and bus worker, she grew up with younger brother Norman, extended family close by, music in the parlour on Sundays and an active life of swimming and field hockey. Just 14 when WW2 broke out, Joan and family were bombed out of three houses and then evacuated to the country. Separated from her mum and brother, she ironically lived with a German family on an apple orchard. Called to war work, she returned to Liverpool, its sirens, bomb shelters, blackouts and being strafed by German planes while getting to the factory where she worked a large centre lathe. Here she reconnected with her old school mate Bob. They married in 1944 and while Bob was away at war, she gave birth to Barry on Christmas Day 1945. Valerie was born 5 years later and in a post war Liverpool they looked for a better life. They immigrated to Canada in 1954, first to Toronto and then to Orillia in 1960, where, on a small budget, Joan painted and sewed and decorated and finally had a lovely home, friends and community again. Joan spent many years working at Bradley’s in downtown Orillia, happily using her banking and retail experience. She loved to work and moved on to Precision Rubber then back to retail for Tammy Ann Fashions and for Valerie at the Children’s General Store. Bob and Joan had an active social life throughout the 60s and 70’s and enjoyed a cottage and boating. They were both part of the Legion’s theatrical troupe and Joan sewed costumes for Mariposa Arts Theatre.  Eastern Star was another important part of her life.  No matter how busy, Joan always had time for family, and was a fun and devoted Nana. In 1982, Joan’s life changed when Bob died suddenly at 56. Heartbroken but independent, she learned to drive, bought a new car, and eventually formed a relationship with old friend Tom Barnett who was recently widowed. A new chapter started with humour, travel and winters in Florida With the loss of Tom in 2000, Joan started her last chapter. Legally blind, she moved into Orillia, found companionship with Gord Phillips and continued her social life and travelling. She loved visiting Texas to see her great-grand children, Lily, Liam and Hunter, and made regular visits to Niagara on the Lake -to see Gray and Molly at the Shaw, with the real attraction being their boys Holden and Tennyson. She had a strong desire to stay connected to family and friends and for the past few years was determined not to succumb to her symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. Joan was loving, vital, happy and very attuned to life, fashion and theatre.  We will all miss her amazing strength. The funeral will be at 2pm on Sunday March 8th, followed by a reception, at Mundell Funeral Home, 79 West Street North, Orillia. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer’s Society of Simcoe County would be greatly appreciated. 

Memories and Condolences