Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 27, 2008
Devout Joan McDaniel served her community
Her open heart and purse funded many programs
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
She will be remembered as a caring mother, a devout Catholic and a woman with a social conscience who made an exceptional contribution to the community.
Joan McDaniel died Oct. 13 with the same grace with which she lived her life — at home with family and loved ones by her side. She was 76.
Her death leaves a tremendous void in the lives of those who knew and loved her.
“She was truly a great lady — classy, gentle, sensitive and spiritual,” said her friend of 20 years Marc Barylo of Catholic Social Services. “She had a great devotion to our Blessed Mother.
“Her spiritual life and her children always came first, but she was always there to help the community. I don’t know how she found the time to do the things she did. She was a very great lady.”
Award of excellence
For her social, philanthropic and humanitarian vision and leadership, Catholic Social Services presented McDaniel with the Msgr. Bill Irwin Award of Excellence in 2007.
McDaniel, along with her late husband Francis, was instrumental in improving the quality of life for disadvantaged people in Edmonton.
Father Mike McCaffery, who presented the award to McDaniel at the time, described her as “an exceptionally generous and humble woman who shuns attention and accolades.”
He also described her as a Catholic of impeccable integrity and steadfast faith, with a gentle and loving spirit.
“She was a woman with a social conscience, always concerned about the little people,” he said Oct. 21. “She was very generous with her time, talent and treasure. She was a good steward.”
Following her husband’s untimely death in 1976, McDaniel raised their 10 children, while continuing to run the construction, residential property management and tourism businesses she and her husband co-founded.
“When she operated her business she gave opportunities for persons who are disabled to work for her,” noted Barylo.
“She had a soft spot for persons who are disabled. That’s why I think she also decided to help fund the McDaniel Manor we named after her about three years ago for seniors who have developmental disabilities. Again, another great generous move on her part.”
Member of many boards
McDaniel actively served the Edmonton Archdiocese in a number of roles, including chairperson of the archdiocese’s financial committee, board member of the Edmonton General and Misericordia hospitals, and a member of the board of governors of St. Joseph’s University College.
In 1997, she formed the McDaniel Family Foundation, which dispersed millions of dollars to charitable organizations.
McDaniel was instrumental in the development and funding of CSS pilot programs for the prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, including CSS’s First Steps, Coaching Families and Step-by-Step programs.
“There is no doubt she had a social conscience,” Barylo said.
A Mass of Christian Burial for McDaniel was celebrated Oct. 18 at St. Agnes Church. About 10 priests, including Archbishop Emeritus Joseph MacNeil, participated in the service.