With great sadness, and in celebration of a life well lived, we announce the peaceful passing of Jean Wansbrough on March 28, 2022, in her 95th year.
Born in Lindsay, Ontario, Jean was a lifelong environmentalist and pioneering outdoor educator. In her 25 years teaching at Swansea Public School in Toronto, followed by her tenure as residential outdoor educator for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Jean touched countless lives, gifting a keen appreciation for the natural world to all those she worked with. Through experiential outdoor learning, Jean’s guiding philosophy was to help establish a life foundation of self-esteem for young educators and youth. The positive, formative impact she had on so many is a testament to this.
Jean’s Bachelor of Arts (University of Toronto) and Masters (Michigan State University) studies were done after-hours over a number of years. Among her many public accomplishments, Jean was the recipient of the 1984 Robin Dennis Award for outstanding contribution to outdoor education. In addition, Jean was a founding member of the Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario, and proudly served as Chair of the Girl Guides Future Trends in Camping Committee.
Jean was a truly joyous person, with boundless enthusiasm and an unforgettable laugh. She was an avid skier, cook, canoeist, camper, and gardener. She was an admirable host, her pantry packed with homemade soups and buckets of ice cream. Beloved by all who knew her, Jean cultivated wonderful communities over the years, from Swansea to Claremont, Albion Hills to Geneva Park, Balsam Lake to Parry Sound. Upon her retirement, Jean’s abundant travels took her from Australia to Iceland and Denmark, with new friends and loved ones growing wherever she went, their smiling faces captured in thousands of photographs.
While she may have missed her bountiful vegetable gardens in Markham, Jean’s last years were spent comfortably at Tapestry in Etobicoke. Jean was so grateful to be there, especially these last two pandemic years. Special thanks are due to the Tapestry staff, the care and services they provided helped to make Jean so happy during her time there.
“Funny Aunt Jean”, as she was lovingly known to her family of 20 nieces and nephews, leaves behind her sister Ruth, her treasured friend Norma of 70 years, and is predeceased by her brother, Sandy, and husband, Tim.
Jean’s final passion and legacy is her Jean Wansbrough Leadership Training Fund. Established in 2010, the fund has supported more than 230 youth leaders-in-training at Outdoor Overnight Camps and will continue to do so for many years to come. In lieu of flowers, and in Jean’s honour and tribute, charitable donations can be made at: https://www.jwltf.com/charitable
An outdoor Celebration of Life will be organized in the summer months.