With sadness but with deep gratitude for her long and happy life, we announce the peaceful passing of Pamela Joan Blackmore Thistle, embraced by her cherished and loving daughter Terri, Joan’s lifelong source of unbridled joy, pride, companionship and support.
Joan was born to Captain William Barbour Blackmore and Annie Andrews Blackmore and was blessed to be raised by them in Port Union, along with her treasured siblings Frances, Wilfred, Adeline, Flo and Bill. Her early life was shaped by the closeness of family, the great character and spirit of outport NL, and her belief that life was an adventure to be embraced and explored. She did so intentionally all her life, with her characteristic strong will and optimism. Joan was blessed with a happy life with her wonderful husband Bernard Thistle and their two children, Roy and Terri. She had an indomitable spirit that saw her camping well into her 80s, never allowing residual effects of a stroke to cramp her lifestyle or her outlook. Joan was the very example of an independent woman of substance, open to every experience, embracing nature, wildlife and all animals and showing her unconditional love for her family and friends.
Publicly, Joan will be remembered with distinction as one of Newfoundland’s iconic artists whose paintings, pottery and sculptures represent a unique and compelling narrative of outport life in pre-Confederation Newfoundland; the simple pleasures of family and celebratory community gatherings, working the land and the sea, the agony of waiting for loved ones to return from the fishery and her aching emotional portrayals of when lives were lost at sea. Her work communicated the important roles of both women and men during her childhood in Port Union and elsewhere on the Bonavista Peninsula and it was her artistic message depicting the essential work of women who raised families, tended to the harvest, and lived with uncertain hope and constant worry that became her artistic signature, resonating with Newfoundlanders and those seeking to deepen their understanding of Newfoundland history and culture. In this, her work was singularly impressive and both Joan and her works were acknowledged by numerous honours. Joan was invited to meet Queen Elizabeth II, who viewed and appreciated Joan’s work during the 1997 arrival of The Matthew in Bonavista, she was a recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for her contribution to public life and her numerous exhibitions received praise for their thoughtful, historical and artistic merit. Her childhood thirst for life and her staggering capacity for memory enabled her to capture through her artistic gifts the emotive power of rural Newfoundland life that has shaped our people and culture.
With little regard for the norms of her times, Joan eagerly embraced and embodied the characteristics of modern day women. She was a loving wife and mother, a devoted daughter and sibling and she successfully followed her passions through her artistic gifts, her spirit and curiosity, all of which enabled the independent thought that guided her for her entire life. She was gentle, but firm and determined, and her family will always affectionately remember her warm, selfless and gracious nature. She was noble, humble, dignified and deeply loved.
Joan is predeceased by her parents, her loving husband, Bernard, and her siblings Frances Hill, Wilfred Blackmore, Adeline Talmage, Flo Pike and Bill Blackmore, all of whom Joan loved intensely. Lovingly and forever remembering her are her children, Roy (Bev) and Terri, her grandson Christopher, her sisters-in-law Phyllis Blackmore and June Blackmore as well as the extended Thistle family, her nieces and nephews and their families who adored her, and a wide circle of friends, many from the artistic community. Joan was the last of her generation of Blackmores and her extended family will forever admire her and remember her as a loving, strong, principled, talented, remarkable and humble woman who will continue to guide them.
Terri would like to acknowledge the staff of Chancellor Park where Joan resided in recent years as well as Dr. Patrick O’Shea. Additionally, Terri extends her deep gratitude for the love of her close family and friends, in particular Patti Pike, whose support has been immeasurable. Cremation has been entrusted to Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road. Plans for a celebration of Joan’s life will be shared at a later date, with interment at Mount Pleasant Cemetery Field of Honour. In Joan’s memory, a donation to a charitable organization dear to your heart or an intentional gesture of kindness will be appreciated.