Old friends are hard to come by. This month, Port Stanley lost an enthusiastic supporter
and long-time witness to the passing parade of events in this community. Joan Tibbs
Tanner passed away on June 9th, 2017 in London in her 87th year. She was the daughter
of Alf and Jean Tibbs. Her father was the leader of one of the most celebrated big
bands of the 1930s and 1940s. He set a record for the number of free concerts he
performed for service personnel during World War Two.
Joan was a dedicated fan of her father's orchestra and she seldom missed a performance,
acting as ticket taker, chauffer and booking agent. When the Alf Tibbs orchestra
was the house band at the Port Stanley Ball Room (later the Stork Club), she slept
on a couch at the Kanagio Yacht club house on the beach. Nothing could keep her
from the excitement of the big band era in Port Stanley.
Joan was also Rosy the Riverter, making bombs at Kelvinator during the Second World
War. She was an avid equestrian and an accomplished fencer but most people remember
her for her sense of humour and her infectious laughter.
Joan was a collector of all things musical, particularly items relating to the local
music scene and she was widely recognized for her knowledge of the musicians who
entertained at various venues in Southwestern Ontario. Many researchers beat a path
to her door to review her scrap books and share her memories.
Now there is one less expert, one less person to turn to for first hand information
on one of the most important eras in our history. Joan never lost her affection
for our village. We would do well to remember her.