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Jean Wright Kilpatrick isn’t surprised Joan Margaret Howes left a generous million-dollar gift in her Will to support Sunnybrook’s Holland Bone & Joint Program.

The program was a focus of her dear friend’s life.

Jean’s late husband Dr. Charles S. Wright co-founded the 14-bed Orthopaedic and Arthritic Hospital in 1955, which would later merge with Sunnybrook and become one of the finest programs of its kind in North America.

“I do remember when Miss Joan Tweddle was recruited to develop the first physiotherapy clinic at our newly formed hospital,” says Jean, now 95 years old.

Joan trained as a physiotherapist during the Blitz in London before coming to Canada. Jean, a dedicated volunteer who eventually opened the hospital’s first gift shop, became fast friends with Joan.

“As the hospital grew, it was necessary to invite another orthopaedic surgeon,” recalls Jean. “This is when Dr. Edwin Howes joined the merry band.”

Jean will never forget “the twinkle” she saw when Joan met Ed. “I can still remember the look of affection that was obvious in the two sets of eyes.” Soon they married, with the reception hosted at Wright family home.

Joan Howes
Joan Margaret Howes.
It makes perfect sense Joan would honour the place she remembered so fondly with a gift in her Will.

Dr. Charles Wright’s son, Dr. Stewart Wright, who himself recently retired from the Holland Centre, also remembers Joan and Edwin fondly. “When Joan and Ed married, my brother Paul, also a retired orthopaedic surgeon, tied cans to the bumper of their car,” says Dr. Stewart Wright.

He also recalls being delighted to have Joan as a patient. “She had several surgeries that gave her extra years of mobility,” says Dr. Stewart Wright. “She was a great patient who always did what the doctor ordered and never forgot to do her exercises.”

With the close connections between the Wright and Howes families, it’s no surprise to hear Jean refer to her time at the orthopaedic hospital as feeling “part of one big family.”

Jean reminisces about the time after Joan retired when Joan joined her in the gift shop. They shared many Sunday dinners in the cafeteria — “a real treat,” says Jean. Even when they weren’t working side by side, the two families spent summers together in Algonquin Park.

Joan’s interest in the hospital never wavered, even as she moved into a retirement home. “She always kept up with what was going on there,” says Jean. “It makes perfect sense why she would honour the place she remembered so fondly with a gift in her Will.”

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