Joan Edna ‘Nanny’ Martineau (nee Risley)

March 2, 1927 – November 6, 2018
Our beloved Matriarch has passed on. Nanny was the youngest daughter of twelve, born in Essex, England to George and Daisy Risley. She was predeceased by her parents and her five brothers; George, Fred, Jim, Ben and Sid. And her six sisters; Grace, Olive, Violet, Lily, Kathy and Dorothy. Family was of paramount importance to Nanny, she immigrated from England to Thessalon, Ontario, Canada to be with her sister Olive in 1951. This is where she would meet her husband Douglas Martineau, they would marry in England in 1952 and welcome their firstborn son John in 1954. In 1955 they returned to Canada and settled back in Thessalon where their first daughter Lesley was born in 1957, their second daughter Deena joined the family in 1958, and their second son Terry in 1960. Nanny would spend most of 1963/1964 in England with all four young children visiting her english family. When they returned they would all settle permanently in North Bay.

Nanny knew adversity and hard work. These attributes became foundational for her children and grandchildren. She lived through World War Two in England and supported the war effort by working in a transistor radio factory where she soldered capacitors to mother boards in transistor radios. Later on she would work in a canteen for a bus company. She was a foster parent to countless children over a 37 year period. Alongside her love of family was her love of dogs. Her first canine love was a little dog named Spot and she leaves behind Minnie and Molly. After she had to retire from fostering children, she continued her humanitarian efforts by fostering many litters of puppies and dogs for the BC SPCA. Nanny was also an entrepreneur and ran her own dog boarding kennels both in Ontario and out west in Nelson where she would settle for many years with her daughter Deena.

She loved going to the pictures, riding on the back of her brothers’ motorcycles, and family dinners. She loved to cook and garden; her flowers were always beautiful and her dinners hot. Only she will ever know how many scarves, sweaters, toques and mittens she knitted for her loved ones. She always had a cup of hot tea and a sympathetic ear ready to hear your woes, and she was the first to congratulate you when good news reached her. You could always rely on Nanny to send you a birthday card. Nanny had an incredible sense of humour; if you asked her what’s for dinner she’d be quick to reply “air pie and windy dumplings!”. And if you tried to sneak a peak you would get a good scolding! Christmas was her favourite holiday and Nanny sure could throw a great party, inviting the entire extended family, and all the towns Bachelors and those less fortunate.

She was the beating heart of our family and her legacy lives on her through her children; John (Cate, Linda), Lesley (Dan), Deena (Serge) and Terrance (Caroline). Her grandchildren; Jason (Jaime), Sarah (Scott), Adrian (Hannah), Isis, Ayla (Danny) and Liam. Trevor (Robin) and Jamie (Jaime). Sonya (Larry), Genevieve (Danny), Stephane (Natasha), Colleen (Jamie) and Emilee (Curtis). Tannis (Ian) Mackenzie and Lukas (Rachelle). Her great-grandchildren; Cameron. Liam, Carrick and Isla. Ebin and Iris. Chloe and Bennet. Alexandra, Joey and Katelyn. Brianna and Tyson. Niyah. Vivianna and Lorenzo. Amelie and Andre. Leighton. Ryleigh. And many nieces and nephews both in England and Canada from the Risley, May, Green and Waters families. Nanny talked so fondly of you all, and it’s no surprise at the close connections the cousins share internationally. She of course leaves behind many friends, a woman of Nanny’s calibre made friends wherever she went.

Nanny had an indomitable spirit, an iron will and unimaginable strength of character. She was a woman before her time and an inspiration of what hard work and determination can accomplish. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the SPCA or another animal rescue. May Nanny rest in peace with her husband, siblings, parents, and many canine loves. 

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