Joan Lee

Obituary of Joan Ding Lee

Surrounded by her loving family, Joan Lee (nee Lau) passed away peacefully at home on February 27, 2024 at the age of 74 after a long battle with metastatic breast cancer. She will be dearly missed by her husband of 46 years, David, sons Andrew and Lawrence (wife Adrianna), and the lights of her life, grandchildren Karina and Felix, in addition to her many other family members and friends around the world.   Born in Amoy, China, and raised in Hong Kong, Joan achieved academic success at Maryknoll Convent School where she formed deep, lifelong bonds with her classmates. Upon graduation, she won a government scholarship to pursue occupational therapy in Oxford, England, where she met David on Magdalen Bridge on a fateful May Day early morning celebration. After years of early professional practice in Hong Kong and long-distance courtship, the couple set off on another journey to Canada, ultimately settling down and calling London, Ontario, home for the past 38 years.
Joan was a fiercely strong and principled woman who lived to serve others. Her dedication was unparalleled, famously never even taking a sick day from work. Whether it be the many hundreds of patients she helped over more than four decades as an Occupational Therapist, the Chinese-Canadian community for whom she was a pillar of leadership, or her beloved grandchildren who were so blessed to have "Ma-Ma" be so central to their lives, Joan tirelessly put the needs of others ahead of her own. While her passing leaves behind an incredible void, the indelible impact she had on those she touched ensures that her memory will live long in all of us. Joan's family is forever grateful for the diligent, compassionate care she received from the oncology teams at the London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre, as well as the palliative care team from Home and Community Care Support Services. While they fondly nicknamed Joan "Iron Lady" for her strength and perseverance, without their dedication and support, she would not have been able to grace her family with so many years of beloved memories against all odds. Cremation has taken place and, in keeping with her wishes, Joan's family will be honouring her privately. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honour her memory may consider donating to Operation Smile (, her favourite charity which reflects her lifelong commitment to improving the lives of others.