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Eigil Dalsgaard PEDERSEN

Eigil Dalsgaard PEDERSEN Obituary
EIGIL DALSGAARD PEDERSEN Known by many friends as 'Pete,' died in his sleep early Sunday morning November 24, 2019 in Ottawa, Canada. He is survived by his childhood sweetheart, Marge, with whom he had a seventy- eight year relationship, including sixty-seven years of marriage. While pursuing demanding careers, Marge and Eigil raised six children John, Philip (Bessie), David (Glenda), Gordon, Susan (Matthew) and Thomas (Neena). Also, Eigil was the proud grandfather of Jennifer Ann, Vibeke, Abraham, Kyle, Natasha, Henry and Margaret. Eigil was the son of Gudrun and Arne, Danish immigrants who struggled to make ends meet during the Great Depression and throughout the war and post-war years in Little Burgundy, Montreal. A high school drop-out, Eigil initially pursued the trade of silversmith in Montreal. During his five-year apprenticeship completed in 1951, he attended night classes at Sir George Williams Evening High School. Once matriculated, he attended the School for Teachers at Macdonald College of McGill University. His first teaching job was at Royal Arthur School in Montreal, the same elementary school he attended as a boy. While teaching full-time, Eigil continued to pursue night and summer-school classes. In four years, he earned a B. Arts (1956) at Sir George Williams University (a founding part of what was to become Concordia University), then a Master's degree (1961) at McGill University, followed by a doctorate (Ed.D.) in the Sociology of Education (1966) at Harvard University. Concordia University also recognized Eigil with an Honourary Doctorate (LL.D. Honouris Causa) in 1992. In addition to his career, Eigil was an accomplished choral singer and cabinet maker. Eigil accomplished much during his ninety years. He ended his thirty-two year career at McGill University as Professor Emeritus in 1990 after having served in many positions including as a full professor, Dean of Students, Provost and Vice-Principal Academic (1972-1981). As Vice- Principal, he was instrumental in helping to ensure McGill's successful survival during a time of sweeping political change in Quebec and reductions in the provincial funding of English-speaking universities. Though busy as an administrator, Eigil found the time to undertake research and publish. Perhaps his most important research (A New Perspective on the Effects of First-Grade Teachers on Children's Subsequent Adult Status. Harvard Educational Review: April 1978, Vol. 48, No. 1, pp. 1-31.) challenged the prevailing educational paradigm in North America that suggested that teachers didn't have as much influence on the ultimate success of students as did other factors such as students' socio- economic and parental background. While the foregoing factors are undoubtedly important, Eigil and his colleagues demonstrated that the long- term adult success of students was strongly linked to the quality of the teaching they received as children. A speech given by Daniel Fallon in 2003 discussing the importance of this research may be found in the McGill Journal of Education (Persepectives: The Amazing Miss A and Why We Should Care About Her; https:// mje.mcgill.ca/article/view/ 8711). At his request, Eigil received a green burial on Thursday, November 28, 2019. A memorial service will follow next spring.
Published in The Globe and Mail from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7, 2019
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