SUSAN AILEEN KENT DAVIDSON

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SUSAN AILEEN KENT DAVIDSON October 22, 1945 - September 19, 2014 Exuberant Writer, Patient Revolutionary While scoring top marks in English at Calgary's Viscount Bennett High, Susan rocked the Kent household, spinning LPs on the family hi-fi and nurturing what would become a lifelong passion for political activism. To a backbeat from the Beatles and Trotsky, she earned her BA with Honours at the University of Alberta (Calgary) in 1967. Susan's keen intellect enlivened a bungalow brimming with challenging offspring. Mom Aileen patiently kept her brood in line as Dad Parker clacked at the old Underwood, at times framing his Calgary Herald editorials more firmly to the right in response to his eldest daughter's views. Her career as an editor began a year later at Mel Hurtig's fledgling Edmonton publishing firm, where she helped give the enterprise a national profile with a string of nonfiction bestsellers. She then moved to London, England, landing a job at the prestigious literary publisher André Deutsch and working with legendary editor Diana Athill. In letters to friends, she vividly described glamourous parties attended by the most celebrated international authors of the day, also the trials of living in a cold-water flat. Upon returning to Canada, she worked briefly at Maclean's under Peter C. Newman's editorship before rejoining the book world as an on-staff editor at the University of Toronto Press and, later, as a freelancer for various Canadian publishers, including McGill- Queen's University Press. Amidst all of this, Susan took a sojourn at the University of Sheffield, where she read German Comparative Literature. Ever the family authority on grammar, syntax and style, it was a chastened Kent sibling who dared ask Susan's advice on a written text: nothing less than perfection would be the goal. When Internet communication and advocacy beckoned, Susan became a spirited blogger for the Pogge (Peace, Order and Good Government, eh?) website, expressing the ideals she held as a committed member of the New Democratic Party. Susan was devoted to her husband Rik Davidson, a much-respected editor at UTP, whom she married in 1988. Their Annex home was the site of many memorable parties, Robbie Burns fetes and Christmas dinners featuring the traditional goose. It was also a haven for numerous cats in need of rescue. Susan cared tirelessly for Rik through a debilitating illness until his death in 2006. In recent years, Susan lived in Oshawa; she passed peacefully there on September 19th at Lakeridge Health from complications resulting from cancer. The family thanks the caring physicians, nurses and caregivers at Lakeridge for providing such compassionate support, also Lorna and Gus in Oshawa who helped Susan in countless ways over the past few years. Susan was predeceased by her father Parker Kent and her mother Aileen Kent. She is survived by members of her loving family: eldest brother Peter Kent and his wife Cilla; sisters Adele Kent and Norma Kent; brother Arthur Kent; Susan's lovely niece Trilby Kent and her husband Daniel Webb and their beautiful daughter Clea Webb; Rik Davidson's children Laurence and Sacha Davidson; and extended members of the Davidson family. Susan will be much missed by a host of admiring friends and colleagues. A celebration of Susan's life will be held in Toronto at a later date in Toronto. Please visit Armstrong Funeral Homes' website armstrongfuneralhome.net for further details and updates. Susan was an unconditional cat lover. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the cause of animal rescue and in particular to the Humane Society of Durham Region (Whitby, ON, 905-665-7430) would be appreciated. You may also visit humanedurham.com to make an online donation.

Published in the Toronto Star on Sept. 23, 2014