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Ottawa, ON K1V 6P9
(613) 731-1255
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John Murray PALMER

John Murray PALMER Obituary
JOHN MURRAY PALMER Murray John Palmer passed away on May 15, 2020, after a long and difficult struggle with dementia. Predeceased by his parents, Morris and Ethelyn Palmer (nee Rubin); John is survived by his sister, Myra (Donna Broadhead); brother, Mark (Elly Nadorp); his niece, Reina; nephew, Josh (Dee Finn); and close friends, Franco Boni and Robert Swain. John, a significant figure in the Canadian theatre and arts community, was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia but grew up in Ottawa where his equal passion for theatre and 'shaking things up' took root. As a teenager, and throughout his years studying English Literature at Carleton University, John was active in the theatre community, directing and writing plays for the Ottawa Little Theatre, Le Hibou Coffee House, Carleton's Sock and Buskin Drama Club where he met and worked with actor Saul Rubinek and film curator Larry Kardish. While John's career as a playwright, director and filmmaker took him around the globe, Toronto was home base. It was in Toronto where his radical ideas of transforming the country's theatre scene exploded in collaboration with a wave of artists intent on putting Canadian stories on the stage. He was an influential in the formation of many of Toronto's and the country's institutions, including Theatre Passe Muraille, The Factory Theatre, and Playwrights Union of Canada. With Martin Kinch and Tom Hendry, John co-founded Toronto Free Theatre in 1971 (now Canadian Stage Theatre Company at Berkley Street). In his later years, John shared his love of theatre with young people. He taught theatre and playwrighting at the National Theatre School, York University, Ryerson University, Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Juliard School for the Arts to name a few. His students were devoted to him, and many of them became lifelong friends. John was at once hilarious, irascible, obstreperous (a few of his favourite words) and a mensch. He will be deeply missed. John's family would like to express deep appreciation to the staff of the Perley & Rideau Veterans Health Centre for their compassionate care. Special thanks to Dr. Andrea Macdonald and John's long-time devoted care giver Huffy Griffin. To receive an invite, contact Myra, Mark or Franco. Memorial donations to the Dementia Society or Ottawa Little Theatre. Condolences/Tributes/Donations Kelly Funeral Home 613-731-1255
Published in The Globe and Mail from May 23 to May 27, 2020
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