Joan Munton Wright Donaldson

Posted by on Jul 15, 2015 in Tributes |


A Community Project to honour women who have enriched our lives

The Ban Righ Centre supports mature women who are starting or returning to education at Queen’s University. In taking this significant step, these women found role models, advocates and inspiration in other women. Then, as they engage in their studies and in their activities beyond Queen’s with friends, family, peers and colleagues, these students effect continual and positive change, extending the reach of their mentors and the Ban Righ Centre. Through “Who Is She?” we honour women who make a difference.

Joan Munton Wright Donaldson

Honoured by: Mary Lou Finlay

Joan Donaldson is a careful and meticulous researcher and writer; a loving daughter, sister, wife and mother; an amazing, attentive friend; a great mentor and teacher whose example I have spent a lifetime trying to emulate.

When we first met at CBC TV, she had two teen-agers and her husband had returned to school for a teaching certificate. They were financially strained, but not poor. Joan believed being poor was first and foremost a state of mind. While they might not have had money, they had their skills, interests, work, friends—and each other. They got on just fine.

Joan wasn’t one to wallow in self-pity anyway. On bad days at work or in our lives, when we might be inclined to feel sorry for ourselves, she might say, “It could be worse; you could be bald.” Not that she lacks sympathy. Joan is careful and considerate with the people in her life. It’s just that she’s never seen much use in complaining.

Besides, friendship brings with it responsibilities as well as rewards. As a good friend Joan doesn’t shy away from offering a little guidance. When my son was small and acting up, Joan would remind me gently, “Perhaps he doesn’t see it that way.” In other words, “You’re the grown-up; try to see things from his point of view. He’s too young to see things from yours”—although she would never put it so bluntly.

How not to be poor; how to avoid self-pity; how to see things from a child’s point of view; how real charity is comprised of love and respect as well as giving; how to look after your family and friends—these are just some of the gifts my friend Joan Donaldson has given me, on top of love and laughter and companionship. She is a tower of a woman and a blessing. Salud, Joan.