Ed enjoyed Kurt Vonnegut’s works, making it appropriate that he found himself in a “Catch 22”. (those of you too young to know what that means, Google it!). We knew Ed was going and we both had time with him in the days before he died. Ed’s sister Shirl and niece Shannon and her family, separated by distance, were also in his thoughts. I was with him when he slipped away in the early hours of April 19th under a soft spring snowfall.
Ed had a full life before we met. As a young teacher, he stepped away from teaching to explore Europe. Coincidentally, we were both on the other side of the Atlantic at the same time, he on the continent, me in the British Isles. Europe profoundly changed him His interest and expertise in photography germinated with that year travelling in a Volkswagen camper van. It also informed his life and career thereafter.
Enrolled at Queen’s, then graduating from U of T, David and Mary Thompson (Legacy Scarborough Board of Ed.) was his first teaching position, but the principal of the newly opened Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate, who knew Ed, hired him and he never left. I joked that they would take the cornerstone out and set him in when he died.
Teaching was more than a job. Ed invested himself in providing an opportunity for his students. He knew geography was not the most exciting subject, but he worked to expand its interest, writing curriculum and designing his own course material long before the subject matter hit the mainstream. In his later teaching years he was invited to set up an in-house photography program complete with darkroom.
Beneath it all, his desire was to create the opportunity for critical thinking and he must have achieved that in some, as former students are still in touch.
We shared a good life and were blissfully unaware of the challenges of parenthood until Cole arrived in 1989. As Cole grew, we skied, sailed and skirted around the winding roads in North America. The camper van beckoned again and we spent three months in Europe with Cole, travelling from the Normandy beaches, war cemeteries and the 90th Commemoration of the Battle Of Vimy Ridge (an experience which led to the writing & publication of “Europe…. To Die For”) to Pompeii and back through Italy, Switzerland and Germany to Amsterdam. Friends in the Loire Valley asked about the camper van, “Is it comfortable?”…. “No”, I said, “but it’s very
convenient”. When South Korea called, Ed joined Cole on a trip the latter had long dreamt of taking.
Political activism was seldom far from Ed’s thoughts, from the Scarborough Expressway to Rae Days, amalgamation and beyond.
Thoughts often translated into deeds when power was abused and the powerful needed to be checked.
A man of principle, integrity, generosity and courage, he would want us to live as he did,
looking to the future with a grounding in the past.