Gretta CHAMBERS

Obituary
  • "SHe ws a wonderful human being"
    - Andre Gerolymatos
  • "I just heard about Gretta's passing a few days ago and..."
    - Robert Tombs
  • "Geoffrey Chambers and all the members of the Chambers..."
    - Elisabeth Riley
  • "Geoff and family: I'm going to miss your mother. She was a..."
    - Elizabeth Hirst
  • "Our condolences to you all. Death leaves a heartache no..."
    - Pat Macleod

CHAMBERS, Gretta 1927 - 2017 At 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 9, at St Mary's Hospital, in her ninety-first year Gretta died peacefully, surrounded by family. Born in 1927 into a large and accomplished Quebec family, Gretta absorbed at an early age the ethic of family commitment and community service. Her parents, Walter Margrave Taylor and Simone Beaubien were engaged Quebecers at home in both languages and both communities as was Gretta throughout her life. She graduated from McGill with a degree in political science in 1947 and married Egan Chambers in 1951. They had five children in six years. In 1958, when their youngest child, Bill was four months old, Egan was elected to Parliament for the riding of St Lawrence-St George. With five small children at home and the demanding life of a political spouse, Gretta was a steadfast and effective volunteer in the community and began her serious professional life as a translator and a researcher. She quickly evolved from a provider of background material to a prolific journalist, public affairs analyst and commentator. She wrote and presented a weekly radio show, The Province in Print, on the CBC from 1964 to 1978, wrote a weekly column in the Gazette from 1977 to 2002 and hosted weekly television show, The Editors, on CTV from 1977 to 1980. For much of the last half century she was the go-to interpreter of French Canada to English Canada and vice versa. Gretta sat on or chaired committees, commissions and task forces too numerous to mention in the fields of education, health and social services, the arts, judicial review, public security, finance and other areas. She was particularly devoted to her alma mater. She sat on the Board of Governors of McGill from 1978 to 1988 and served as the first woman Chancellor from 1991 to 1999, an honour which she cherished. She has left her mark on McGill through her tireless work on a wide variety of programs, including the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, the Middle East Program, the Faculty of Education in which she was an adjunct professor and many others. During her long and distinguished career, Gretta received many honours, including Member of the Order of Canada in 1994, Companion of the Order of Canada in 2000, Officer of the Ordre National du Quebec in 1993, and Commadeure de l'Ordre de Montreal in 2016. She was predeceased by her beloved husband of 44 years, Egan and by her brother Geoffrey Taylor. She is survived by a large and devoted family including her brother Charles Taylor (Aube Billard), her children, Susan (Glenn Lowry), Geoffrey, Michael (Judy MacIntosh), Simone (Jeffrey Kopstein) and Bill (Rona Waddington) as well as her grandchildren, Nicholas, Alexis and Willy Lowry (Sophie Tremblay), Max and Isaac Kopstein and Egan, Conrad and Frances Chambers. The family thanks Dr. Denyse Normandin at the CHUS Fleurimont and Dr. Sabrina Narbonne at St Mary's Hospital as well as the kind and professional staff at both hospitals for their exceptional care. A funeral service will be held at 11 o'clock on Saturday, September 16 at Saint Léon de Westmount. In lieu of flowers, donations to Centraide would be gratefully appreciated.
Published in Montreal Gazette from Sept. 12 to Sept. 16, 2017
Arrangements under the direction of:
Résidences funéraires Collins Clarke Mac
5610 rue Sherbrooke ouest | Montréal, QC H4A1W5 | (514) 483-1870
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