The passing of Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew sent a shock wave to those who knew and loved her. A woman of many accomplishments, victories, she was known for her dedication to the community.
In addition to her position as the Director of the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC), Jo-Ann served on many boards, including the University of Regina Press Publications Board.
The U of R Press remembers Jo-Ann for her role and contributions to the press:
“Jo-Ann asked the toughest questions. “Ok, I’ll say it,” she would pronounce during board meetings when it became clear to her that no one else would. Although one of the more junior scholars around the table, she was in many ways the most formidable.
Then she would move forward, lift slightly out of her chair, and in the most generous of ways, address the white elephant in the room. Her courage opened the door to frank discussions. Her kindness set a tone of respect. It happened time and again and made us a sharper, smarter press. When news that she had died made its way to our office, we cried.
Although her loss is profound, she continues to inform our work, so it remains part of her legacy.”
-Bruce Walsh, U of R Press Director and Publisher
“I’ve known Jo-Ann for nearly two years. I worked under her wing at the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC) as a Research Assistant specializing in communications. When I first started at IPHRC, Jo-Ann made me feel very welcomed, much like being a part of a family. She was very passionate about the work she did; she led a great team of researchers. When I told her I successfully got the U of R Press intern position, she was happy yet sad that my time with IPHRC came to an end. She continued to encourage me to set the bar higher. With her inspiration and faith in me, I will be starting the Journalism Master’s Program in the Fall which I’m sure she would be proud of. I will miss her very much but I will savour the memories of her, the amazing legacy she left behind, and the teachings she passed onto me. Although she is gone, she is definitely not forgotten.”
– Jeanelle Mandes, U of R Press intern
“I first met Jo-Ann in grad school. We were both “mature” students, juggling school and family. I loved her writing “voice” – it was so genuine, down-to-earth, smart. I had the privilege of sitting in on her defence of her master’s thesis – she generously, and courageously, allowed two of us, her fellow students, to attend just to see what the process might look like for us. In the intervening years, we have connected in various ways, both on- and off-campus. Whatever the context, I was always grateful for Jo-Ann’s presence, because she never failed to bring incredible honesty, humour, passion, and wisdom to the table. Jo-Ann truly made a difference in this world. I am just one of the many, many people who will miss her dearly.”
– Donna Grant, Managing Editorial & Production
“I met Jo-Ann in the initial weeks of starting at the Press at a Publications Board meeting. I had just arrived and I was nervous. Jo-Ann sat down right next to me, introduced herself, and told me she would help me in whatever way she could. By the day’s end, I had an email from her: she was already recommending potential scholars to me. This is who Jo-Ann was immediately to me: someone who wanted to be helpful and supportive. And the more I’ve heard about her from others, the more I’m certain that this was absolutely who she was: a person who lifted others, empowered them, and who did so with a frank and intelligent — but always kind and even loving — manner.”
– Karen Clark, Acquisitions Editor