Obituary of Joanne Yvonne Costello
May 27, 1975 - January 13, 2022
Joanne Costello passed away peacefully in her home, with medical assistance in dying (MAID), on Thursday, January 13, 2022, at the age of 46 years, after a long struggle with illness.
Joanne will be missed by her mother Violet, whom she adored, her siblings, Chuck, Violet, Catherine, and Richard, as well as her brothers-in-law, Bob and Hosea. She will be fondly remembered by her nephews, Sean, Anthony, and Timothy whom she loved dearly. She was predeceased by her loving father Charles Gerard Costello. Joanne wanted to help others and began volunteering at a young age. She provided coffee and tea service at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, played with kids at the Alberta Children's Hospital, and worked with children with autism and youth at the Boys and Girls Club.
Joanne became increasingly interested in social justice work and invested her energy in the Women's Centre of Calgary and endeavours such as Take Back the Night. She believed that social justice was not possible without economic justice and strove to understand the root causes of economic inequality within and between nations. In graduate school, Joanne focused on women's rights, unpaid and underpaid care work, and the downloading of essential care work onto undocumented and vulnerable workers. She believed that people needed to organize for change so that our economies could provide for the needs of the many and the protection of the planet.
Many people saw Joanne as someone brave who would always speak out against injustices, but for many years she struggled to remain strong in the face of oppression. She felt that patriarchy, racism, and classism were not only upheld by direct violence but also by the shame and pain related to violence and trauma. Joanne believed there was tremendous power in people's sharing of their stories and readiness to speak in the face of pain and shame.
For many years, Joanne persisted in spite of her illness. She did not let pneumonia stop her from signing out of the hospital to defend her master’s degree. She eventually became more incapacitated but left this world feeling very grateful for the friends and allies who offered her compassion and connection despite her absence. She was also very hopeful about the activism and organizing that she saw happening around the world and the increasingly progressive initiatives in Alberta.
"Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes." – Maggie Kuhn, Founder of the Gray Panthers
A Memorial Service will be held at McInnis & Holloway (Chapel of The Bells, 2720 Centre Street North, Calgary, AB), Friday, January 21, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. Those attending will be asked to provide valid government identification (with name and date of birth) AND confirm one of the following: (A)Provincial vaccine record with QR code (paper or digital); OR (B)negative COVID test (within 72 hours); or (C)valid medical exemption (signed letter); OR (D)under 12 years of age. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed here. In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Calgary Workers Resource Centre at www.helpwrc.org/our-donors/, or to Migrante Alberta at www.migrantealberta.ca/fund-raising.
In living memory of Joanne Costello, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 Centre Street North, Calgary, AB T2E 2V6, Telephone: 403-243-8200.