Sally passed away peacefully, age 93, at Caressant Care Nursing Home, Lindsay, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was predeceased by her first husband, Donald Stout (1961), her sister, Muriel Haggerty Heenan (2011), her second husband, Kenneth John Upton (2013), and her son-in-law, Stewart Aziz (2018). She lived life fully and will be sorely missed.
Family was everything to Sally, and she had a large one. She is remembered with much love and fond memories by her children, Karla Stout, Donna Carmichael (Graham), Craig Stout (Suzy), Elaine Stout Aziz, and step-children, Peter Upton (Jo-Anne) and Lucy Sanford (Norman), 11 beloved grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren, her brother-in-law Richard Stout of White Plains, New York, and her nephews and nieces in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She was regarded with great affection by numerous dear friends, many of whom became extended family members. Everyone was included in annual family events – swimming pool parties, John Upton’s annual birthday party, pumpkin cutting days, and Boxing Day gatherings. Her home was always open and inviting for all visitors.
Sally loved music, playing piano, singing in choirs, and participating for many years as a member of the Sweet Adelines York Highlands Chorus. Even after language failed her, she would still hum along with the radio, music CDs, and songs sung to her. Music was an engaging and a calming influence always.
Sally was born in 1925 in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Mabel and Frank Graham, and grew up in Stoneham with her sister Muriel. She excelled at school and became an officer of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls, whose guiding principles included “to be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look at the stars”, a principle she embraced throughout her life.
She graduated from Stoneham High School in 1942 and worked for several years before obtaining her BA from Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky. It was there she met her first husband, Donald Stout. They married in 1949 and both actively supported social justice and anti-discrimination causes as Don studied to become a Unitarian minister. In 1954, shortly after his ordination, Sally and Don emigrated to Canada, leaving behind the turmoil of segregation and McCarthyism, as he accepted the position of minister to the Don Heights Unitarian Congregation in Scarborough, and the fledgling fellowship in Mississauga, Ontario. Together they fostered the establishment and growth of the Unitarian Congregation of South Peel, now known as the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga.
After Don’s death, Sally went to the University of Toronto and earned a Bachelor of Library Science in 1964. She became Head Librarian at Oakville Public Library and was responsible for the building of the new library in 1967. It was an innovative approach to a library, adding the collection of audio materials (tapes and records) to the library resources, incorporating an art gallery that offered the lending of artwork into the building, and connecting the building to a swimming pool, thereby creating a hub for community activities.
In 1970 Sally and John Upton moved to a century farm house in King City, and married in 1975. She left the OPL to work at the Central Ontario Regional Library System which was at the forefront of augmenting library services to include inter-library loans, and integrating computer technology into library systems. She was also an active member of the Ontario Library Association for many years.
On retirement, she and John continued to be lifelong learners, travelling extensively, taking continuing education courses at the University of Toronto, and always enjoying family. When Sally was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2003, she faced the news with the strength and courage that were her hallmark, acknowledging the struggle she faced with grace, and often with humour.
Sally’s family would like to extend deep gratitude to Mary Geisberger for her devoted, loving care of Sally for 20 years, and especially during the last difficult years. Thanks also to the nurses, PSWs and staff, first at Port Perry Villa, and these last years at Caressant Care Nursing Home, for their kindness and care of Sally.
A Celebration of Life for Sally will be held on September 28, 2019, at Elmhirst Resort in Keene, Ontario, from 2 to 5 pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Society of Durham Region.