In memory of

Marcia Hampton Rioux

May 16, 1947 -  September 20, 2021


A virtual gathering of friends, colleagues and family in celebration and appreciation of Dr. Marcia Rioux's career of Five and Life of Seven Decades will take place on November 6, 2021 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). The Zoom portal will open 15 minutes before the service begins.

Marcia asked that during the service people drink white wine (her favourite was Sancerre) and eat popcorn (her favourite was either buttered or with white cheddar cheese).

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Meeting ID: 980 6875 8551
Passcode: 376615

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Passcode: 376615

Marcia Hampton Rioux (née Gautschi) was born on May 16, 1947 in Trail, British Columbia. She passed away peacefully in her Toronto home on September 20, 2021, surrounded by love and family.

Marcia was dedicated to the advancement of human rights and equality, both nationally and internationally. Her work was her passion. Marcia began her career at the Royal Commission on the Status of Women and later worked at the Law Reform Commission of Canada. She held a PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. Marcia was a distinguished professor and director at York University’s Institute for Health Research. She was the co-founder and first chair of the School of Health Policy & Management as well as the Critical Disabilities Studies program.

Marcia was a driving force in the promotion of disability rights and the enhancement of opportunities for marginalized people. She played a leadership role in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and published widely in the area of disability and human rights. She was a co-founder of Disability Rights Promotion International, which now monitors rights for people with disabilities in over 62 countries. She was a fellow of the Institutes of Advanced Studies in the UK and Australia. Marcia was recipient of the Lieutenant Governor's Community Volunteer Award in recognition of her contributions to Ontario communities. In 2014, Marcia was invested into the Order of Canada for her scholarship in the field of social justice and for her advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities.

She was the daughter of the late Edouard and Phyllis (née Gray) Gautschi, loving partner of Ezra Zubrow, sister of Jane Underwood (David) of Oakville and Anne George of West Vancouver, and aunt to Kristen Underwood (Ottawa), Kathryn Underwood (Toronto), Marcia George (Ottawa) and Mary George (Vancouver). She had many surrogate family members as well as a rich tapestry of friends throughout the world.

Marcia loved jazz music and art. She was never afraid to face challenges. She survived seven different cancers. She died of congestive heart failure.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Marcia may be made toward The Marcia H. Rioux Award in Critical Disability Studies, Human Rights, and Social Justice at York University


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Kristen Underwood (niece)

Entered September 22, 2021 from Ottawa

To my loving aunt, thank you for all the good times and laughter. You brought joy to my life and set me on a great adventure. I know you had a great adventure too. Rest quietly now. I love you. xox

Rebecca Gewurtz (Colleague)

Entered September 23, 2021 from Oakville

I am so sorry to hear this news. Marcia was a force, a mentor and an amazing human being. I will miss her greatly. I will always remember her energy and be grateful for the opportunity I had to work with her.

Sukaina Dada (Student)

Entered September 23, 2021 from Mississauga

Rest in Peace Marcia. You were a go-getter and a change-maker. I will always be grateful that you believed in my work and you believed in me ... that I was capable, even when I did not believe in myself. Coming into the CDS PhD program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I will never forget the day I came into your office and told you that I had a sixth-month-old baby and was afraid of not being able to do the program and you replied, "join the program, bring your baby and teach your kids that their mom can do anything".

Alexandra Creighton (Student of Marcia)

Entered September 23, 2021 from Toronto

I was a student of Marcia's at York University.
She was a champion of the human rights model of disability and a brilliant and determined academic. She is probably the one professor who had the most impact on my own academic work and thinking about disability.

Hilda Smith (Past Student)

Entered September 23, 2021 from Ontario

Very saddened to hear of your recent loss. Condolences to Dr. Rioux family and friends.

Life Stories 

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Susan Lindell (life long friend)

Entered October 4, 2021 from Toronto

Marcia and I met at Carleton and have been friends ever since. I will miss her, my whole family will miss her. But I promised her our friendship would not end. And so it will not. Love you Marcia


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