Joan van Zant

December 23, 2019 8 Condolences Print Obituary Send Flowers

VAN ZANT, Joan passed away surrounded by family on Monday, December 16, 2019. Survived by her beloved husband of 39 years, Norm Bourbonnais. Loving mother of daughter Amelia (Greg) and cherished grandmother to Alice and Jane. Joan will be dearly missed by brothers Ed and Frank, and sister Annie.Predeceased by parents Victor and Margaret, and siblings Elaine and Terry.

Born in Gatineau, Quebec, Joan went on to become one of the first-ever female patent agents in Canada. She was a role model for many women in her field, as well as a great mentor and friend. Dedicated to her profession, she served as president of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC) from 1997-1998 and was named as a Member of Distinction of IPIC in 2015. Joan's career brought her all around the world, having lived in England, Switzerland, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

Retiring in Edmonton, Joan adored her family and loved her granddaughters beyond measure. She spent time sewing, knitting, and making "grandma's special pasta" for her girls.

Memorial Donations
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her name to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

  1. My condolences to Norm and the family. I was a friend and colleague and with Joan for more than 50 years. We were partners in Ogilvy Renault between 1999 and 2005, when I retired. She was an outstanding patent agent and mentor to younger generations. I worked with her on many committees in the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), especially on the privilege and self-regulation committee, where she was co-chair, for 20 + years. She was also active in FICPI Canada (Fédération internationale des conseils en propriété intéllectuelle) where she chaired the claim drafting committee for many years. I considered her a good friend and I will miss her.

  2. My deepest sympathy to Norm, Amelia, Greg and family. Joan & I met doing sciences back in the ’60’s at Carleton University. Joan was a bright, hard-working student, always open to laughs & a few high-jinks in the labs. Deeply committed to family, both hers & Norm’s, she was also an incredibly generous & loyal friend. Memories include visiting her when she lived in London, U.K. & taking in Pete Seeger performing solo at the Royal Albert Hall: an astounding unforgettable evening. There was the non-stop sight-seeing trip to New York City with Joan, Norm, Jen & Steve; & over the years, too many excellent gourmet meals thanks to JVZ’s passion for cooking. Joan’s interests were eclectic, always tacked with exuberance & her immense joie-de-vivre – even included a stint at bee-keeping & honey production. Her friendship has been one of the true blessings of my life.

  3. My heartfelt condolences to Norm and all of Joan’s family.

    Joan was a colleague at Ogilvy Renault in the early 2000s.
    Her dedication to our profession, through the high quality of her work, her outspokenness and her tireless (and ultimately successful) efforts for privilege and self regulation of our profession have always been an inspiration to me. Joan will be missed.

  4. Dear Norm,

    Please accept my sincere condolences on Joan’s death.

    Joan was a force of nature and a big help to my professional development. I have particularly fond memories of her instructing us at the FICPI claims drafting clinic in Kingston, Ontario.

    I wish you strength at this sad time.

    May Joan’s Memory be Eternal!


  5. I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear that Joan has passed away. We had lunch just a couple of years earlier and recalled old times. We worked together for many years in my early professional life and we had some great times together too! My heart goes out to Norm and Amelia and family.

  6. Another Cousin gone to be with the Angels.
    Wishing all her Family strength at this time!

  7. I’m Ayako from Japan. do you remember? I’ve been looking for you, believing that I’ll see you again. I finally found you, but it was too late. I’m so sad that I can’t put it into words

    Many of the memories you gave me are still shining in me.

    I mıss you. I miss Amelia and Norm too. I hope I can find your family and meet again in Canada.

    Thank you for all the wonderful experiences.

  8. I’m so sorry to have found you too late Joan. Thank you for all you taught me during my time spent with you and your family in 1982 as nanny to dear Amelia. My sincere condolences to you Norm and Amelia. Many happy memories spent with you all.

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