Joan Hafeez

Joan Hafeez, 87, of Gabriola Island, passed away on May 27 after a months-long battle with kidney disease.

Joan was born in Powell River in 1937 to Alan and Estelle Crocker. She spent her youth on the West Coast of BC living in the Britannia mining community, Powell River, and Vancouver. Her artistic interests in pottery and watercolour painting were inspired by her love of the natural beauty of the BC coast, as well as her travels to visit her father, who pursued his career as a miner in Britannia and later at United Keno Hill Silver mines in the Yukon.

After graduating from Magee Secondary in Vancouver, Joan studied Liberal Arts at UBC. During her time there, she served as editor of the UBC yearbook, and cultivated interests in photography and sports, including  tennis and competitive badminton.

Joan later moved to Berkeley, California where her husband Hafeez was assistant professor in the Zoology department at the University of California, Berkeley. There, she discovered her passion for pottery, studying with renowned potters in Northern California and later in Lexington, Kentucky. Her artistic skills flourished, extending to photography, drawing, and painting. These talents influenced her two sons, who both pursued studies in the arts.

In 1996, Joan relocated to Gabriola Island, becoming a prominent member of the local artists’ community, volunteering to run the badminton club at the community center, as well as an enthusiastic member of the Gabriola pickle ball gang.

For many years Joan’s pottery was showcased and sold at the Gabriola farmers’ market and local galleries. Her work was celebrated in particular for her use of cobalt to create deep blue glazes. Her works often featured the rugged Gabriola landscape and coastal reliefs using imprints of shells, rocks, and sticks. Over her 40-year career, Joan’s pottery evolved from sculptural abstracts in the 1970s to highly sought-after functional pieces like teapots and vases, which are cherished by friends and family across the continent. Her sons often joked that she became a potter because her last name was Crocker, but it was truly her life’s passion.

Joan was also deeply passionate about animal welfare, and rescuing and caring for many dogs and cats in her later years. She is survived by her sons, Irfan, and Kaamran and her two cats, Darcy and Noelle.

The family requests that donations be made to the BC SPCA in Joan’s memory.