I just learned today of the death of a friend.
I first met Joanne Krakana shortly after moving to Timmins in 1987. She was receptionist and campaign assistant at the Porcupine United Way. We struck up a friendship by working together on promotions, particularly video presentations. That is also how I got to know my good friend Mark Rogers, and his wife, Cathy.
Jo, Mark and I were sometimes referred to as The Three Mouseketeers. We sometimes got into mischief together (Joanne's favorite story being how we got Vaseline smeared all over her mother's hardwood dining room floor).
Jo had married quite young, had two kids, and suffered through an abusive relationship that she eventually escaped. She made the best of it, getting an education and a decent job. She eventually moved up to the position of executive director at the United Way, until she was felled by serious health problems. I attended her retirement party in April, 2002.
In between times, Jo met Mike Frost. To say he worshipped her would be an understatement. Jo took Mark and me out to supper one night, to see if we could talk her out of marrying Mike. I think she expected us not to put up a good argument, but didn't suspect that we would tell her she would be crazy not to marry Mike, who, as I said above, worshipped her and treated her like a real lady.
A couple of years ago, Mike and Jo left Timmins, as his career took him to Western Canada. Mike works on remote mining and exploration sites, and while he was onsite over the weekend, Joanne died. She was found yesterday, after not having shown up for work. She would have turned 53 this coming Saturday.
Jo: Thanks for the good times, and the caring friendship you provided (such as the thoughtful care package you sent to me, shortly after I moved to Toronto -- and that's just one small example). I will continue to admire your tenacity, for not letting an abusive first marriage get the best of you, and for turning it around to make the best of it; and the courage to try marriage again, when someone who truly loved you entered your life. And Mike, thanks for giving Jo what I know were the happiest years of her life. The pity is that there won't be any more of them -- you deserved a long, happy life together.
One more note: Mike and I have another connection. He was Little Bro Dan's second Big Brother, I am the third. The match ended when Mike's work commitments made it too difficult to continue it.
Finally, if there's a Heaven, Jo is there. Rest well. Even though Earth would be a better place if it were to have you longer, you deserve it.