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1951 - 2020
JOHN DANIEL O'LEARY 1951 - 2020 After a lifetime of service to others, our dear brother, uncle and friend, John Daniel O'Leary, passed away in a tragic accident on April 14, 2020. Born in Toronto in 1951 to the late Alphonse and Dorothy O'Leary, John was a passionate advocate for literacy, considered by many to be the father of the adult literacy movement in Canada. He joined Frontier College in 1976 as a teacher in their prison literacy program, and was appointed president of the College in 1991. He spearheaded a national initiative to organize volunteer literacy programs on every college and university campus in Canada. John also created literacy coalitions within labour, business, non-profit, and NGO's. His relentless pursuit to enrich and make better the lives of others is his legacy. In recent times he was especially dedicated to raising funds for the Anishnawbe Health Foundation. John was passionate about theatre, travel, history and politics, but books were his true love. His standard greeting was 'What are you reading?' His family and friends will remember him through the libraries of books that he bestowed upon them over the years. Each lovingly signed, 'Your book buddy, Uncle John.' John is survived by his devoted sister, Maureen (David Young), who considered John to be her hero; his beloved nieces, Catharine, Colleen, Chirstine, and Erin O'Leary, and Kate and Emma Young. He also leaves behind several great nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; his brother, Michael; and sister-in-law, Mary. John also had a vast chosen family of close friends who loved him and will miss him terribly, including the Berry, Coulter, Farlow, and Jones families; Mike Doyle, Phil Fernandez, Darla Maxwell, Jack Pearpoint, Mike Poce, Neil Webster, Jennifer Coffey, Mary MacDonald; and many others. A longtime resident of the Yonge and St. Clair community, where he resided for over 40 years, he was a parishioner and volunteer at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish, he will be sorely missed by the congregation. Our sincerest thank you go out to the first responders and medical team that risked their lives to help John at this most difficult time. A mass and memorial will be held in the future when we can gather to celebrate John's life with love and laughter. If desired, donations may be sent to Anishnawbe Health Foundation John D. O'Leary Memorial Fund which has been set up to honour John's legacy, https:// johnoleary/. As a family and a community, we are sharing stories and photos of John here https:// oleary.
Published by The Globe and Mail from May 2 to May 6, 2020.
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Just a few days ago, I had sent John an email asking for his advice on a matter, and I'm shocked to learn of his sudden death. John and I met when we served on the founding board of the Daily Bread Food Bank to support Sister Marie Tremblay who started it many years ago. Over the past several years, we would meet every few months for a coffee to share stories and talk about our mutual interests in social justice. I always admired the way John dedicated his life to helping others through the organizations he worked for, such as Anishnawbe Health, Amnesty International, Journalists for Human Rights, and his many years with Frontier College. I will miss you John. David Walsh
David Walsh
May 3, 2020
My name is Sean Dunne, and a respectful Hello to those visiting John on these dedicated pages.I'm a'Power Boy'and knew John within the School Environment.To my own acknowledgement, John was blessed w an Intellectual Instinct that led him to a higher degree of Understanding, and, Involvement into the variius Communities he would enter...."handsome, soft spoken, intelligent, charasmatic, and dedicated to his own direction in life, it was easily seen that he would be the first to step forward into some kind if Societal circumstance."..a born leader of sorts, he didnt wait for a situation, he helped make the situation.To that, i humbly acknowledge the pain and sorrow that Many must now feel, including Anthony Coulter, as well as the Coulter family, *And many many others.May John enjoy God's Glory to the fullest, for he is Home.(note: Michael Bennett informed me of John's Passing to which he, and I, and others from Michael Power roots, are also experiencing the passing of a dear friend. It is with this confirmation, that i offer my most sincere, my most heartfelt condolences...for it is a pain and sorrow, like no other.It is this universal ingredient, that can most deeply, most often, connect us to each other...but Life without pain, is, Not Life.To that, and John's final Ride Home, i say, Amen...Godspeed.
Sean Dunne
May 2, 2020
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