Jean Clare Sandford MacKinnon Hanlon

August 27, 1939 - January 18, 2024


Obituary For Jean Clare Sandford MacKinnon Hanlon

It is with great sadness that we lost our beloved mother and friend, Jean Clare Sandford MacKinnon Hanlon, a long-time resident of Grande Prairie, AB. She passed away peacefully on Thursday January 18, 2024 at Prairie Lake Hospice, at the age of 84 years.

Jean was born August 27, 1939 in Montreal, QC to Mary Ann Cobb Sandford O’Brien and Robert Henry Sandford.

Jean was a nurse graduate of the Grace Hospital in Ottawa in 1960, and then moved to Montreal where she met her Gerry in 1965. Jean and Gerry were married in December of 1967 and moved to Kemptville, ON before moving to Edmonton, AB in July of 1968. They moved to Grande Prairie in 1973 and Jean stayed home with her three little ones. She worked from home as a medical stenographer for doctors in the area. In 1980 Jean changed careers to be an administrative assistant at Harry Balfour School for 26 ½ years, and semi-retired in the Summer of 2006. The school was an extended family for her. However, nothing slowed her down, she kept busy as a court runner for the SGB law office from 2006-2019.

Jean was a faithful member of Christ Church Anglican. She enjoyed writing letters and maintained her friendships with letters and phone calls. She loved being outdoors and camping, always with a big campfire and a pot of tea to share with those who stopped by for a visit. She also enjoyed traveling to the United Kingdom and Europe. She had many friends near and far who were so meaningful to her and shared many stories and memories. She met James Hanlon from Scotland, and they traveled and courted each other until they were married in September 2012.

Jean leaves the legacy of a loving family and will be sadly missed by: Ian (Sarah) MacKinnon, Heather MacKinnon Brady (Steve) Brady of Vancouver, and Laura (Ron) Brown of Grande Prairie; grandchildren: Emily MacKinnon, Dorothy (Jacob) Calvert, Meagan Brown, Loretta (Steven) Moulton, Katie Brown (Michael Riske), Preston (Amy) Brown, Garett (Jessica) Brown, Travis (Abigail) Brown, and Lisa (Tyrel) Hatch; as well as 17 great-grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She enjoyed spending time traveling and visiting with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her mother Mary Ann Elizabeth Cobb, father Robert Henry Sandford, husband Gerald John MacKinnon in 2002, second husband James Hanlon in 2022, brother Robert Harvey Sandford, sister-in-Law Rita Louise Campeau Sandford, and nephew Richard Andrew Sandford.

Jean would be described by all who knew her as a joyful, chatty friend. She enjoyed being with family and friends. She was loved by all and she will be greatly missed.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 1, 2024, at 11:00am, at Oliver’s Funeral Home in Grande Prairie (10005 107 Ave.).

Memorial Donations may be made to the Post-Polio unit or Children’s Unit of the Glenrose Hospital in Edmonton (, or the EMS Paramedics in Grande Prairie (10710 97 St. T8V 7G6).

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  • June 01, 2024

    What a beautiful Service! Your mom was truly a treat. I loved hearing your stories of her and it brought me to tears and laughter. I looked forward to seeing her daily at SGB and worked with her for years. She talked about you all with love. She always made me feel loved. I loved our chats and our continuing catch ups via messenger when I no longer worked at the firm. I would make pickles and she would comment that she would love to have some. I delivered her and Jim some freshly canned pickles and groceries here and there during covid. I always remember when I told her I was first pregnant at work and she said... "I know, your chest is bigger". We had a good laugh. She was my friend to the very end and I will hold her dearly in my heart. My deepest condolences to you all.

  • June 01, 2024

    Health conditions do not always allow one to attend such functions. My thoughts and prayers go out to you all during this difficult time - Laura, Ian, Heather and families. I so enjoyed the years I spent working with your mother at Harry Balfour School - we shared a lot! Take care and love to all - Joe (Mr. Quinn)

  • May 28, 2024

    I thank God for giving us the gift of Jean Clare Sandford MacKinnon Hanlon. She taught me to pray. She taught me the fruit of the Holy Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness. She reminded me regularly that she loved me through Skype, text and phone calling me. She is strong and made me believe I can be too. I enjoyed her Christmas letter and felt like I was with her even though we were miles apart. My heart grieves because someone so loving is not here but blessed because I was loved.

  • May 22, 2024

    So sorry to hear of your loss. Jean was a wonderful lady, I got to know her when my children attended Harry Balfour, she was always there to help as we navigated the world of school for my autistic son. I'm not sure what I would have done with her guidance and suggestion. Jean will be very missed. Hugs to you all.

  • May 22, 2024

    Many loving memories crowd my mind as I recall dear Jean and you three children with my two, in Avondale and at Sunday School and birthday parties! What happy times! Love and hugs to all of you from "Auntie" Emily Turgeon-Wootten, Salmon Arm.

  • February 10, 2024

    Heather, hope you and your family are coping through this sad time. Sending you a hug and peaceful thoughts.

  • January 29, 2024

    Deepest sympathy on your loss. Jean was a Harry Balfour school treasure!

  • January 27, 2024

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Your mom was a dear friend, I enjoyed our visits. I'm so happy that I got a couple of visits in the last time I was in Alberta in November.

  • January 27, 2024

    Our condolences on your loss. Jeannie was an amazing lady. I have known her for 25 years and always enjoyed running into her or our chats on messenger. She was the secretary extraordinaire at HB! I knew my daughters were watched over! May you rest in peace dear lady. Dianne Doleanu

  • January 26, 2024

    To Ian, Laura & Heather.... Please accept this message of sympathy following the death of your Mom. It was a sad time to hear of her death. I remember her from years ago when I still lived in Grande Prairie, and knew her and your Dad, and you were all just young children. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Janet Jones, Nelson, BC.

  • January 26, 2024

    So so sorry to hear of your loss of such a special lady. Got to know her as my kids attended Harry Balfour school and we remained friends to this day. So enjoyed our talks and messages to keep up with each others families. Will be so missed. I also worked with Gerry at the college all the years he was there. RIP special and treasured lady.


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