It is with profound sadness that I report to you the passing of Joanie Sagriff (Besselink) after a long, and very courageous battle with cancer. Joanie leaves behind her husband Rick, her sons Paul and Ben, her brothers Rob , Gerry and John, and her sister Mary Jane. Also left to mourn her loss are the extended family she had with both the Besselinks and the Sagriffs, as well as her basketball and soccer families in Kingston as well.
Joanie was a pioneer in our program. Along with her good friend Mary O’Neil ,she lobbied tirelessly to have a Girls Division added to the league offering, and although she was only able to play one season, what Joanie and Mary did has grown in to the Girls and Little Gals Divisions many of you reading this have enjoyed since that first season. Joanie coached with us, and when her boys played she was a frequent visitor back to the gym. She was also very actively involved with Kingston minor soccer.
In the last few years, as she battled this terrible disease, Joanie showed the strength of character that kept her and her family moving forward, and earned her the respect of those around her.
On behalf of everyone involved in our program , I offer my sincere condolences to Joanie’s family and to her friends. May your memories of this very special woman be a blessing and a comfort to you all in the days, and weeks ahead. RB
Comment from Charlie Mignault received January 4, 2022
Rollie, a fitting tribute to Joanie! . What a basketball legacy Joanie left us with. I cant think of anyone else who could have convinced Pete to open the league to girls! With Mary, Joanie demonstrated all the virtues that Pete loved and respected. She had integrity and perseverance and follow through on promises. In short – she was trustworthy. As a basketball player, Joanie was a great teammate and led by example. Anyone who watched basketball in the 1980s in Kingston knows what a fierce competitor she was – never relenting till the final buzzer – and did it with a high degree of skill and athleticism. She put the team first and cared about her teammates as friends. Later, she coached for many years – she loved her players and they loved her – and her spirit. As a friend, she gathered all those attributes and was loyal, generous and compassionate. She shared with everyone she crossed, that most important human characteristic – a kind heart. Our league is grateful for your unique and special contributions Joanie and we are all blessed by your wonderful example to us all. Rest in Peace my friend
Comment from Carla Miller received January 5, 2022
My sincere condolences to the family. My family was very endeared with both Mary Jane and Joanie. You ladies were a great protofile for the future of your students. Love and best wishes to all.
Comment from Ihor Dejneha received January 5, 2022
I had the honour of teaching both Rick and Joanie at Regiopolis – Notre Dame. Both were an asset to the classroom and the community. Joanie played on the senior girls volleyball team and I remember a weekend tournament at Cairine Wilson High School in Ottawa where she was voted “Most Sportsmanlike”. A fitting tribute then and now!
My most sincere condolences to both the Sagriff and Besselink families.