Joan Mainville nee (Copenace) passed away peacefully on March 8, 2022, at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Center. She spent her last night with her youngest granddaughter Joleigh listening to her favourite Elvis songs.

Joan was born in Emo, Ontario, on February 10, 1940. Joan is predeceased by her parents Ed and Flossie Copenace; brother Tony Copenace; son Bobby Mainville; daughter Lana Mainville; granddaughter Sara Joan; in-laws Daniel and Madeline Mainville; brothers-in-law Louis and Roger, Stewart; sisters-in-law Betty, Blanche and Elaine; as well as several nieces and nephews and extended family members.

She is survived by her son Ronald “Blake”; daughter-in-law Leeann (Ted); three granddaughters Jillian (Jeff), Jena and Joleigh; and great-grandson Clark. “Gwechench” will be missed by brothers and sisters: Norman (Anita), Joe, Tom (Sandra), Ed “Oskie” (Lorna), Gus (Pamela), Tim (Sophia), Milton “Otto,” Bob (Marilyn), Mary (Clarence), Jane, Patricia (Jim), Justine (James); brother-in-law Danny (Myra), Lester; and sister-in-Law Marcy; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Joan grew up in the Ojibways of Onigaming. She was a Residential School survivor and a proud breast cancer survivor. Joan attended three Residential Schools, from the age of 7-18; Cecilia Jeffery Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ont., Lebret (Qu’Appelle) Indian Industrial Residential School, Lebret, Sask., and Spanish Girls School (St. Anne’s) in Spanish, Ont.

Joan worked at Northern and Indian Affairs for most of her career. She ended her career working at Chiefs Advisory Services. Joan was the first Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe woman) Chief of Couchiching, First Nations from 1990-1993 and served as a council member for several years. After retirement, Joan took a term position in Ottawa for the Lands and Trust Services Department of INAC. Joan impacted the lives of everyone that she encountered professionally and personally. She took great pride in being an advocate for her community, Couchiching.

Joan had a love for all sports but particularly a passion for hockey. She bonded with her children through their love of hockey and would regularly attend Lakers games, as her son Bobby was an Assistant Coach. Joan loved all types of music, from the blues and Elvis, to AC/DC and Eminem. She loved attending pow wows with her daughter Lana and granddaughter Jena. She loved travelling with her son Blake, brother and sister-in law Norm and Anita to Laughlin, Nevada. Joan loved sight-seeing and gambling with her friends all over the United States. Her favourite place to travel to was New Orleans, and she reminisced about the good times she had there with Marie. She loved spending quality time with her granddaughters, having sleepovers at her house, going on road trips to Duluth for shopping trips, and taking the girls to concerts. She was also particularly proud to be a great-grandmother.

Funeral Services were held on Monday, March 14, 2022, at the Multi-Use Facility on Couchiching, First Nations at 11:00 a.m. with lunch following. Honorary pallbearers were Joan’s brothers, as per her request. The family asks that donations be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or Canadian Cancer Society in memory of Joan.

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