ELIZABETH COMPER

Obituary
22 entries | 1 photo
  • "my deepest condolences for your loss. the world is less..."
    - shoshana lev
  • "Tony,we just heard about Elizabeth and wanted you to know..."
  • "Dear Tony, I am devastated to learn of Elizabeth's..."
    - Judith Thompson
  • "Tony, Just found out from Leonard McHardy. I am so sorry. ..."
    - Tim Chapman
  • "Tony, our deepest condolences to you. Her spirit lives on..."
    - Joe & Elham Farah
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ELIZABETH COMPER, C.M., DPhil 1945 - 2014 After a life well-lived, Elizabeth Comper passed away peacefully on June 22, 2014. She will be deeply missed by Tony, her husband and best friend for 48 years. Daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Webster (deceased) and sister of Ruth Wilson (deceased), Elizabeth was born in Etobicoke, Ontario, on November 29, 1945. Educated at Richview Collegiate and Toronto Teachers College, Elizabeth taught Grade One for five years in Etobicoke before marrying Tony in 1971 and moving with him the next day to Montreal where he was a rising young executive at Bank of Montreal. Elizabeth's first job in Montreal was teaching Grade Four English at the Beth Rivkah Academy for Girls. Elizabeth then taught for five years at the Montreal Protestant School Board, during which time she did double duty by attending evening classes to earn a Bachelor of Arts (with distinction) from Concordia University, as well as a Master's in Library Science from McGill University. After several moves including time living in London, England, Tony's work took him back to Toronto permanently, where Elizabeth began to focus her personal passion on the community at large. In 1989 Elizabeth raised $700,000 to establish the first Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, now a group of five ethnically sensitive retirement communities. The first annual Dragon Ball fundraiser attracted 100 contributors, a number that has since grown to 1,600. In return for her efforts, Elizabeth was honoured at the Dragon Ball in 2000 and 2001. The arts community also benefited from her lively presence and indefatigable energy. Elizabeth served for ten years as a member of the board of directors of the award-winning Tarragon Theatre, two of those years as Chair. Elizabeth was also a director of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Conservatory of Music. Shocked by a series of antisemitic events in Toronto and Montreal that included the April, 2004 firebombing of the library at the United Talmud Torah Jewish Day School, Elizabeth decided to fight the resurgence of antisemitism. "This is Canada," she said, "that shouldn't happen." As a teacher and mature student, Elizabeth knew the best way to change the future was by educating young people today. The result was Fighting Antisemitism Together (FAST) a coalition of non-Jewish business leaders and corporate citizens that has distributed free educational material to more than two million students in Grades Six through Eight at 19,000 schools across Canada. In 2015 the program will be extended to high schools with a curriculum broadened beyond antisemitism to include the internment of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War and the decades of abuse suffered by First Nations children in residential schools. Her beneficial outreach to provide equal opportunity knew no bounds. Elizabeth personally funded financial aid for aboriginal single mothers entering university. Elizabeth also established, in her parents' honour, the Charles and Betty Webster International Study Scholarships at her father's alma mater, the University of Guelph. Her skilled advocacy and fundraising talents nurtured the Reach for the Skye Program for child cancer research, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, The March of Remembrance and Hope, Smile Theatre Company, and The Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Dora Award for theatre, opera and dance administrators. As a result of her generous gifts of time and leadership, Elizabeth received the University of Toronto Arbor Award, the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews Human Relations Award, the Canadian Centre for Diversity Human Relations Award and the Scopus Award from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For her lifetime of social activism, volunteerism, philanthropy and dedication to others, Elizabeth holds the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) conferred by both the University of Haifa in 2006 and by Concordia in 2009. In 2011, Elizabeth and Tony were named to the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honour, only the third couple to receive the distinction together since the award's founding in 1967. In 2012, Elizabeth was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a rare disease of the blood for which there is no known cure. In gratitude for the compassionate and conscientious care of Dr. Vikas Gupta at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Elizabeth and Tony are establishing a program to support the group of diseases, which included the one Elizabeth suffered, and to discover new strategies. If desired, donations in Elizabeth's memory may be made to the Elizabeth and Tony Comper MPN Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, 610 University Avenue, Toronto, M5T 2M9. A celebration of her life will be held at THE YORK CLUB, 135 St. George Street, Toronto, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. A private cremation service has already taken place. Condolences and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com
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Published in the Toronto Star on June 25, 2014