In Loving Memory
Joan May Aiken passed away peacefully on the evening of Thursday, August 6, at age 90. Joan was predeceased by her sister Jean Driver (Aiken).
Joan was born in Toronto in 1930. She began her career in accounting while in her teens. Her practice grew to serve a diverse clientele of art galleries, doctors, lawyers and restaurants throughout the Toronto area, and continued well into her eighties. In 1971 she met her life partner, Herbert G. Richter, who owned and operated a garden equipment business in Markham. Later in life, while continuing to serve her accounting clients, she and Herb became owners of commercial property in Markham which she managed until earlier this year.
She joined Alcoholics Anonymous in 1977 when she realized that alcohol had slowly taken a hold of her. She remained a committed member, earning a 40 Year medallion in 2017, a moment of great pride for her. She avidly attended meetings in Toronto and when travelling the world, and she served as chairperson of the Toronto AA Greeter Committee for 12 years. Living life “One Day at a Time” was a guiding motto, one which Joan readily shared with her AA sponsees.
Joan loved adventure, and traveled with Herb to far flung places such as Machu Pichu, the Galapagos, Cuba and Costa Rica. She loved flowers, animals, antiques, and classical music, was a frequent patron of the arts in the Greater Toronto area, and was committed to health and organically grown food. Joan and Herb were almost inseparable in pursuit of their shared interests. Friends still fondly remember the “B 140 BB” birthday bash held in 2010 at the Richter farm in Goodwood to celebrate Joan’s 80th and Herb’s 60th.
Being around Joan was always stimulating. She was never shy to speak her mind, yet the words came from her heart. With passion and intimacy she easily gained one’s trust and often became a mentor ─ particularly to young people with whom she freely shared her hard won street smarts.
Joan will be sadly missed by Herb, her partner of 49 years, by her extended Richter and Caligiuri families ─ especially her sister-in-law, Aku Richter, whom Joan endearingly called “sister”.
Public visitation will be held at Highland Funeral Home, 3280 Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough, on Tuesday August 18 from 2 pm to 4 pm and at 6 pm to 8 pm. A service will be held on Wednesday August 19 at 2 pm, but because of current restrictions, the service is limited to immediate family members and those very close to Joan. However the service will be livestreamed over the internet (details at www.h12.ca).
Special thanks to the caring and attentive staff at Scarborough Grace Hospital, especially in the emergency department and the intensive care unit. Also thanks to Mrs Ho and Sophie who lovingly helped care for Joan at home.
Memorial donations may be made to Doctors Without Borders, 551 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 0N8 (www.doctorswithoutborders.ca). Members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon may instead wish to donate to their respective organizations.