DAVIS, Rae McDonough
Passed away at home on Saturday, June 10, at 5:00 p.m., in the company of her children. She was seventy-eight. Diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer four years ago, she was completely at peace with her courageous decision to forego anything but palliative care, which was managed with compassion and professionalism by the Temmy Latner Center for Palliative Care at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. A graduate of Wellesley College (1949) and Columbia University (MA 1952), she moved to Canada with her husband John in 1957 and became a Canadian citizen in 1979. Rae was an extraordinary person - a student of English and American literature, a great reader (and sometime writer) of contemporary poetry, and a lover of painting, architecture, and gardens. She was a pioneering artist in Canada in several domains, ranging from experimental theater and dance to performance art to film and video to digital media. Her career spanned the late 1950s (she directed Samuel Beckett's 'Act Without Words I' in 1959) to the present. A retrospective of her art and performance work was mounted at the Art Gallery of Windsor in 2001 and a voluminous archive of material relating to her career was accepted by Library and Archives Canada in 2006. Rae was beloved by her brother David McDonough (of Bagni di Lucca, Italy); half-sister Patricia Reed (of New Providence, New Jersey); late husband John Whitney Davis (who died in 1998); son Whitney Matthew Davis (of Berkeley, California) and daughter Martha Moore Davis (partner of Scott Whittington of Toronto, Ontario); granddaughter Molly Moore Davis Whittington (age six); and her many friends and colleagues in Toronto and elsewhere. In lieu of flowers, donations in Rae's name can be made to Harborfront Centre's children's and dance programming, c/o Jolaine Frizzell, 235 Queen's Quay West, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2G8. A memorial service for Rae will be held on Saturday, June 17, at 4 p.m. at the Toronto Necropolis chapel.
Published in The Globe and Mail on Jun. 17, 2006.