John Tupper Saywell

5 entries
  • "To the Saywell family. Sylvia, Laura and I were saddened to..."
    - Cathryn Hoffman
  • "To my friend Graham and to his family. You have been..."
    - Anne Paul
  • "Hello Graham, This is just a short note to express my..."
    - Jim Goessinger
  • "Shelia, thank you. You must have had the hardest job of..."
    - Graham Saywell
  • "My sincere sympathies to all Dr. Saywell's family. I was..."
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JOHN TUPPER (JACK) SAYWELL B.A. and M.A. (UBC); Ph.D. (Harvard); University Professor Emeritus (York). On April 20, 2011, in his 83rd year. Predeceased by his parents, John Ferdinand Tupper Saywell and Vera Marguerite Saywell and by 'Tupper'. John will be fondly remembered by friends and colleagues and forever missed by the family whose lives he shaped as patriarch: wife Suzanne Firth and 'Mist'; children (mother Patricia Cambrey): Lynne Carson (Chuck dec.) and children Stephan Carson (Sandra), Julia Carson and Ben Carson; John (Guylaine Cormier) and children Naomi Trépanier-Saywell (mother Claire Trépanier) (Farouk Zaba), Étienne Cormier-Blouin (Laurence Coulombe), Rosie Cormier-Saywell; Graham Saywell (Shelley Fraser) and children (mother Janet Saywell) Adrian Saywell (Ashley), Eric Saywell (Sarah Watson); and John MacIntosh (Anna Verdi) and children Fiona, Christina, Caroline and Phoebe. He leaves behind his brother, William Saywell (Jane) and their children Shelley Saywell (Daniel Peterson), Jim Saywell, Trish Saywell (James Irwin) and their children Mackenzie and Thomas. 'The kid from Cowichan Lake, BC' arrived at the University of Toronto in 1954. Throughout his long and distinguished career, he took 'many roads less travelled.' In the process, he deepened Canada's knowledge and understanding of itself, from the constitution and federalism to the offices of the Lieutenant-Governor and the Governor-General. He also chronicled Canadian history, economics, politics, culture and society as Editor of the Canadian Historical Review (1957 - 1963), and as Editor of the Canadian Annual Review (1960 - 1979), reviving and revitalizing these two journals. John's ground-breaking scholarship was recognized through a number of major awards. His 1957 book, The Office of Lieutenant-Governor: A Study in Canadian Government and Politics, won the Delancey K. Jay Prize at Harvard University. Another, the 1991 'Just Call Me Mitch': The Life of Mitchell F. Hepburn, won the Floyd Chalmers Award for the best book on Ontario history. His 2002 study of the Supreme Court of Canada, entitled The Lawmakers: Judicial Power and the Shaping of Canadian Federalism, won the John W. Dafoe Prize for 'distinguished writing on Canada and/or Canada's place in the world.' He also interpreted Canadian, British and European history for thousands of Ontario high school students through close to a dozen textbooks written between 1959 and 1969 with friend and colleague John Ricker. John was York University's Founding Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science (1964 - 1973). As well, his thoughts and direction helped found York's Faculties of Fine Arts and of Education. In 1980, York conferred on him its inaugural University Professorship for both service and scholarly achievement. The citation read: 'Your imprint was present in every major undertaking pursued by the University during its crucial, formative years... few people have ever so shaped any institution.' It concluded by saying that 'The Faculty of Arts, and to a great extent, York University, remains 'the house that Jack built.' As a teacher of undergraduate and graduate history and political science, John excelled. His lectures and seminars were known across the University for their engagement and rigour. From 1987 to 1998, he was Director of the Graduate Program in History. He was especially proud of his role in helping to shape a generation of scholars. York Ph.D. graduates from this period now staff history departments in virtually every major Canadian university. In 2009, two of these graduates edited Framing Canadian Federalism: Historical Essays in Honour of John T. Saywell (a Festschrift). His work in the media included roles as actor, narrator and consultant in a series of CBC TV historical dramas; as host of the CBC TV newsmagazine 'The Way It Is'; as host of 'Options' for TVO; and as Tokyo correspondent for CTV National News. John consulted for USAID, the World Bank, UNDP, HIID, and the Governments of Ontario and Canada, among others. From 1974 to 1980, he was Director of the York University Kenya Project in Nairobi. From 1979 to 1981, he was Visiting Professor at the Universities of Tokyo, Keio and Tskuba in Japan. A private family cremation under the direction of R.S. Kane Funeral Home was held on April 23rd. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation in John's memory be made to the John T. Saywell Prize for Canadian Legal History (c/o the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History (, to the Toronto East General Hospital (, or to a charity of choice. Friends and colleagues are invited to 'The Way It Was: Remembering Jack', a celebration of his life, to be held on Father's Day, Sunday, June 19th, from 11:30 a.m. at the Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre, 6 Garamond Court (off Wynford Drive, west of the Don Valley Parkway), in North York, 416-441-2345. Condolences -

Published in the Toronto Star from Apr. 26 to Apr. 30, 2011
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