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Edward Thomas SHANNON

SHANNON, Edward Thomas - I came into this world on June 5, 1948 in Picton Ontario, the first child of Harry (d. 1970) and Gwen (nee Ackerman). I was followed by siblings Richard (Jane Mulholland, daughters Brittany and Samantha) and Patricia (d. 1990). A mostly idyllic childhood was followed by tumultuous teen years as befitting the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. I dropped out, spent six months in Vancouver, a few weeks in San Francisco, returned to Ontario and graduated from the University of Windsor in 1972. I moved to Toronto, took a job with the federal government that was notable for two main reasons. First, I met great people, many of whom I remained friends with over the years. Second, in 1973, I met and madly pursued Lyn Cummins who would not only become my lover and wife, but also my rock, my mentor and my co-pilot. After a lengthy courtship we purchased a modest home in mid-town and married in 1985. I eagerly retired in 2003, received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for charitable efforts at work, renewed my relationship with the Catholic Church (gaining a whole new circle of friends) and gratefully settled into a leisurely life of walking, reading, movies, matinee subscriptions to both Canadian Stage and the TSO, and a few late-afternoon pints with friends and neighbours. In 2004, a bump on my chest turned out to be breast cancer and surgery and chemo treatment at Princess Margaret Hospital followed. In 2005, with the support of family, friends and faith I resumed my retirement activities, and also took on volunteer work as one of the original "greeters" in the new Toronto Ambassador Program. It was a truly rewarding and unforgettable experience that allowed me to meet and assist visitors to our city from many countries. In 2006, another lump revealed that the cancer had metastasized and treatment was resumed. With some limitations and the great support of family, friends and faith and the care and compassion of the staff at Princess Margaret, I was able to continue most of my favourite activities while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Over the next few years, the disease progressed slowly but Lyn and I learned to live with it and to accept the inevitable, a finding that came with great clarity and understanding, and gratitude for all I have been given in my life. Lyn's steadfast daily support was invaluable. Over the years, I gave great laughter and caused some tears. I did many good deeds and some thoughtless ones. I kept many promises and broke some. Life is for learning. On 11 February 2013, at peace and under my own terms, I left this life. Cremation has taken place and, in lieu of flowers, I ask that you consider a donation to the Yonge Street Mission or the Scott Mission, organizations dedicated to helping the needy and working poor, or to the Kensington Hospice. I believe I have now gone to another dimension, one in which I will be reunited with family and friends that have gone before me, and perhaps with the many cats with whom I shared companionship on this earth. Ed Shannon


Published in the Toronto Star on Feb. 15, 2013
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