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Sobkow, Jo-Ann

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SOBKOW, Jo-Ann

1945 - 2019

Jo-Ann (Stephania) Sobkow, of Ottawa, passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 29, 2019.

Born in The Pas, Manitoba, October 18, 1945, Jo-Ann was predeceased by her parents Ann (Nahnybida) and Walter Sobkow, and her brother Sylvester. Survived by her sisters Martha (Lloyd) Harty and Caroline Eberle, all of Medicine Hat, Alberta, and nieces, nephews and grand nieces. 

Jo-Ann attended Notre Dame College (Wilcox, Saskatchewan), St
Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, Nova Scotia), Carleton University (Ottawa) and the University of Ottawa. For several years, she taught elementary school in Wilcox and Gull Lake, Saskatchewan. During those early years of teaching, Jo-Ann lived in Wilcox, spending lots of time with the Carr family, and Jo-Ann and Paula Carr became close and life-long friends.

After several years of teaching, Jo-Ann moved to Ottawa to work
for HRDC (at that time, Employment and Immigration Canada), specializing in occupational analysis and career development. She was one of the leaders in the development and implementation
of  Canada’s National Occupational Classification system; this model is still sought by and used in other countries. Jo-Ann's long and varied career in the federal government included consulting to the World Bank and CIDA, contributing to various projects in Hungary, Malaysia, Cambodia, Turkey and the Republic of Georgia, among other countries.

Jo-Ann's love for international travel extended well into her
personal life, and she happily took vacations to various destinations around the world, with numerous stays in France and Mexico. She leaves behind many friends, particularly in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. Jo-Ann will be remembered as a loyal friend who enjoyed lively conversation, gourmet food and French wine, and she encouraged and mentored many people’s skills in cooking. She loved the visual and performing arts, literature, music, gardening, running, hiking, and decorating. Jo-Ann loved nature, was fascinated by birds,
particularly cardinals, which were attracted to her garden, and had precious pets, Nanook, Lille, Bella and Mikka. 

Jo-Ann was passionate about learning and education, and she
supported many people in their career development.  As a legacy, Jo-Ann requested that a bursary be established to support university education for a student in need.

At Jo-Ann’s request, there will be no funeral. Donations in her
honour can be made to the Ottawa Humane Society or to the charity of your choice.

Thanks to friends, family and neighbours, and to the medical and
personal care teams at the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, Champlain Local Health Integration Team, and the palliative care unit at Elisabeth Bruyère Hospital, for providing care and comfort to Jo-Ann.

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Jo-Ann’s family and friends

We had the great pleasure of having Jo-Ann in our lives through our friends Paula and Carl. Our sister Bonnie also included us in dinners and events with Jo-Ann.
We were always happy to have the opportunity to spend time with Jo-Ann when she was in Vancouver. We have many great memories of gourmet dinners, Vancouver Sun Run brunches and parties with friends. Jo-Ann had a wonderful sense of humour, and always made whomever she was with feel special. She was kind, clever and adventurous and will be missed.

Many blessings on your journey Jo-Ann. With love always. Sandra and Laird

Sandra and Laird in Vancouver, le 4 novembre 2019

Everybody that knew Jo-Ann... and everybody else

Without a doubt, outside of my immediate family, Jo-Ann has had the most influence on my life.
In so many areas she guided and taught me. Be it in improving my grasp of the finer details of the English language, explaining - and eventually make me a fan of - sitcoms such as Seinfeld and Fraser, showing me fine art at the various museums in Ottawa, make me listen to Van Morrison... being with Jo-Ann simply opened my eyes to many things I'm sure I would have missed otherwise.
The long walks with the dogs, hiking in Gatineau park or simply watching movies were activities that were always fun together with her.
Even now, over 20 years later, I still encounter many things I do in my daily life that are positively influenced by her.
A big one is cooking: I sucked it it initially because I had no idea what I was doing.
Initially our plan was that we cook seperately but after she saw how I fried some pork chops and how they turned out, she decided that from then on we would cook together. Many, many meals later I got back home to Germany being an somewhat decent cook.
I clearly remember how confused I was when we did steaks on the BBQ together the first time and she showed up with a stopwatch. I still use a stopwatch for that task.
Some of the recipies she taught me are staples in our household and a big hit with the kids like tuna pasta, pancakes and the one and only "Apples Jo-Ann".
Coming back to watching Seinfeld: that was a must-do and we even planned our schedules around this. Many phrases from that show got constantly re-used in creative ways when we talked about various things. As I type this I can see the complete DVD set of all Seinfeld episodes. Unthinkable I would have bought that would it not be for the hard work Jo-Ann put in to make me appreciate this kind of humor.
She was strong willed in some situations. I remember one night we had Hershel and Mary over for dinner and she casually said to Hershel (who was sitting on a chair) "Hershel, why don't you sit in on the couch?". Hershel immediately got up and sat down on the couch and just said "Jo-Ann asked me to... It's not as if I have a choice.". However Jo-Ann was not stubborn in a negative sense. You could discuss things with her for hours openly.
Jo-Ann was great at giving advise too. Not just for cooking but life. One of the first things she had me do was a test/quiz that she helped develop were the outcome was a recommendation/hint which profession I should pursue. Luckly for me, computer engineering was one of the two recommendations for me. (The other one was special effects coordinator in case you wonder). I saw how satisfied Jo-Ann was with that result - partly because that is exactly the career I chose and partly because that quiz really hit the nail on the head with that recommendation.
Her many friends were often guests or we visited them or met them at a restaurant. Looking back, it still amazes me how all of them accepted me - the young computer science student from Germany.
I'm immensely grateful for the time I could spend with Jo-Ann. She'll live on through my cooking, laughing at Seinfeld, enjoying good music... through my memories.

Ingo Schubert, le 9 novembre 2019

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