Jean Quirk

Obituary of Jean Thelma Quirk

It is with sadness that we announce that our beloved Jean Thelma Quirk passed away peacefully with family members at her side on January 16, 2024 in the RK MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish. Jean was 94. She lived her entire life with elegance and grace until her final day.


Born on June 23, 1929 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Jean was the daughter of the late John Archibald and Anne Ceceilia (MacDonald) MacDougall. Jean had especially fond memories of growing up with her loving parents and her eleven siblings, spending summers together at the family’s country home in Fairmont.


As a girl, Jean’s athleticism stood out. She excelled at highland dancing, frequently winning medals at dance competitions. In 1947, the Canadian Geographical Journal published an article on Nova Scotia that included a photo of highland dancing in Antigonish. Jean was featured in the photo. She remained active all her life through avid walking, water aerobics and strength training.


After graduating from Morrison School, Jean entered the nursing program at the Halifax Infirmary and became a registered nurse in 1953. When she graduated, the caption beside Jean’s yearbook photo read – “Jeannie’s unchanging good nature, and her ability as a nurse, has made her an outstanding member of the class.” As a young nurse Jean had offers to work in Boston and New York City. She chose to work in Boston before returning to Nova Scotia to marry John Quirk. They were married in August 1956 at Saint Ninian Cathedral, Antigonish.


After they were married, Jean and John travelled together in a Volkswagen beetle across Canada, living in various locations including Lethbridge, Alberta, St. Catharines, Ontario and Pointe-Claire, Quebec before settling back in Antigonish to raise their young family. Jean returned to nursing work once her children were in school and took a position as a nurse at the RK MacDonald Nursing Home.


Jean’s dedication to nursing reflected her genuine interest in people and great empathy for all. Her bright light left a lasting impression on her patients and those who worked with her. Throughout her life Jean was known for her positive outlook, selflessness and flare for celebrating special occasions. Always a lady, Jean was beautiful inside and out. 


Jean was predeceased by her husband, John William Quirk. Jean is survived by her daughter Clare Ann (Paul) and her sons Patrick (Barbara) and Shaun; her granddaughters Jill (Owen), Bridget, Norah, Abigail, Clare, Rebecca and Mary Margaret; her great granddaughter Ailey Jean; her sisters Frances MacDougall, Anne (Charlie) MacKenzie and her brothers Jackie (late Jane), and Colin (Colleen). She was predeceased by her sisters, Mary Ruth (late Fred) Lovett, Christine (late Lewis) Stringer, Della (late Armand) LeBlanc, Florence Ann (Kenneth) Pellerin and her brothers William (late Helen), Dougald (late Shirley), and Carroll (Agatha).


Jean’s family would like to express sincere thanks to all those who cared for Jean. In particular, the RK MacDonald Nursing Home staff in Martha’s who provided kindness, dignity and exceptional care; Dr. Elizabeth Cooper; Rose Tobin and Miles Tompkins with whom she shared a special connection; and Mary MacInnis who's loving dedication brought quality to Jean’s life in her final years.


There will be no visitation. A private funeral service will be held for family members. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the RK MacDonald Nursing Home Foundation.

A Memorial Tree was planted for Jean
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at MacIsaac Funeral Home LTD
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