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Rowland McMaster, a distinguished academic and long-time member of the English Department at the University of Alberta, died peacefully on Saturday, July 20 at the Edmonton General hospice.
Born in Australia in 1928, and raised in Port Credit, Ontario, he took his three degrees in English at the University of Toronto before going on to teach at Acadia University. From 1958 until his retirement in the 1990s, he was a formative member of the Department of English, laying the foundation for its graduate program. Beloved and admired by generations of students, he taught Currents of Thought in the Nineteenth Century, Chaucer, and the English novel, as well as the first-year survey course, supervising many theses on Dickens, James, Joyce, Tennyson, Browning, and other major figures of English literature.
His numerous publications include editions of Dickens's Great Expectations and Little Dorrit (in the Macmillan series headed by Northrop Frye), books on Trollope, Thackeray, and the English novel, and dozens of articles in learned journals. He was the editor of English Studies in Canada for a number of years. His academic honours include winning the university's major Research Prize, and election as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
He was a lifetime photographer, and will be remembered especially for his portraits of the celebrated Canadian author Sheila Watson. He was also a gifted dramatic reader, and students have been dazzled by his renderings of the voices of Magwitch, Sergeant Buzfuz and other Dickens characters, as well as Harry Bailey and other Chaucer characters.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Juliet McMaster; his children Geoffrey (named after Chaucer) with Gail, Loren with Matt, Rawdon with Stanis, and Lindsey with Rob; and his grandchildren Liv, William, and Lucas.
The family plan a private ceremony this week, and a public memorial in the fall.
Those who would like to contribute to a bursary in Rowland's name could send cheques to The Development Office of the U of A, made out to "University of Alberta: Bursary in honour of R.D. McMaster."

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Edmonton Journal on Jul. 23, 2013.
Memories & Condolences
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14 entries
November 25, 2013
My condolences to Juliet and the whole family on the loss of Rowland. Rowland`s encouragement helped me a lot as an undergraduate English student, and his joy in Chaucer`s work made me love it, too.
Karen Kebarle
August 25, 2013
Dear Juliet and Family -- My condolences and sympathy. Rowland was the best PhD supervisor anyone could have had: so well-informed, astute, supportive and thoughtful. I have always looked back on those days at the University of Alberta with a warm glow and been grateful to the English Department, where I was so happy, and to Rowland in particular. I'm sitting here now remembering walking over to the Faculty Club for lunch with Juliet and Rowland after the viva in 1974. A great day, spent in great company.
Chris Ringrose
August 17, 2013
Dear Juliet and Family,

As you know, Rowland taught me first year English at the U of A and also supervised my Dickens' MA. From the special weekly tutorials that he set up with 5 or 6 of his best students, he helped to shape my critical thinking. He was soft-spoken but his mind was like a "steel-trap" and we were taught to fiercely champion our points of view and to make our case succinctly! He nurtured this "fierce" intellectuality while also emphasizing civility in what we did. I had the pleasure of seeing you in your English sabbatical when Rawdon was born and periodically over the years. He will be missed by all of those he influenced through his teaching at the U of A. All the best.
Adriana Davies
August 14, 2013
Dearest Rawdon and all the McMaster family - you are in my thoughts and in my heart at this time of deep loss. Rowland was a great man and I am privileged to have been able to spend some wonderful moments with him and your family. If there is anything you need, whether it be a soft shoulder, a sounding board or a listening ear, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Melanie Mandziuk
August 7, 2013
Thinking of you, Juliet, in this
time of loss. Sincerest condolences...
Susan Schwartz
August 3, 2013
What a loss! Such a kind, generous and gifted man... Who can forget his wonderful talk on the Battle of Trafalgar - in costume, complete with sword? I remember what a quick and eager learner he was when I introduced him to a computer application. I wish I'd known him better, but I treasure his memory. I wish I had the words to comfort and console those who knew him the best and will miss him the worst. Dear Juliet, what joy those 45 years together must have been! You two were made for each other.
Beatrice Nearey
July 30, 2013
My warmest condolences to all of you, Juliet. Rowland McMaster was a brilliant reader, a galvanizing teacher, and a model literary critic. He inspired the best in every student lucky enough to encounter him.
Aritha van Herk
July 26, 2013
I am so sorry for your loss Juliet and family. He was a great teacher and a wonderful man.
Barb J. Green
July 25, 2013
My deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved husband, father and grandfather. My thoughts are with you.
Bev Matthiessen
July 25, 2013
The loss of a great teacher and educator is felt far beyond the walls of one university. My condolences to Rowland's family.
Brian Evans
July 24, 2013
My deepest condolences. "What wound did ever heal but by degrees." ~ from "Othello"
Lisa Austin
July 23, 2013
I had long heard his praises as a professor sung by my older sister. I loved my first year university English text, a Rowland McMaster edition of Dickens' Great Expectations. And I deeply value my life time friendship with Prof McMaster's dear daughter, Loren. My love and thoughts are with your family.
Betsy Trumpe
July 23, 2013
Professor McMaster gave an exceptional speech, "Why Read?", at the 1977 U of A Conference on Literacy which I will never forget. His remarkable paper foundationed my high school English teaching for the next 25 years after that. He was so impressive, so wonderfully bright, and so perfectly concise in his reflections about the value of literature and the true meaning of literacy. What a powerful, exciting writer, thinker and speaker! He will be greatly missed by many students and colleagues. My condolences and best to his family.
Richard Davies
July 23, 2013
A great teacher and inspiration, and a lovely man. So sorry for your loss.
Charlene Scharf
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