Ursula M. FRANKLIN
September 16, 1921 – July 22, 2016
Dr. Ursula Martius Franklin died peacefully on Friday, July 22nd, surrounded by family and friends, at Christie Gardens in Toronto. She is lovingly remembered by her husband Fred, her children Martin and Monica Franklin, their spouses Carole Angus and Raul Mejia, and her four grandsons Alejandro, Camilo, Nicolas and Andre.
Ursula was born in Germany and came to Canada in 1949 as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto with a PhD in experimental physics. She enjoyed a marriage of over 60 years and an outstanding life as an academic. She joined the faculty of University of Toronto Department of Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials Science in 1967 and became a full professor in 1973. After her retirement at age 65, she found a U of T home at Massey College. She was a scientist, a feminist, a Quaker, a pacifist, an activist, and a treasured mentor to many. She was active in many areas and forums, among them Voice of Women, Science Council of Canada (the Conserver Society Report of 1977), NSERC and Ideas (the Massey Lectures in 1989). She was involved in an early class action case: it resulted in 2002 with about 60 retired women faculty receiving pay equity settlements acknowledging long-standing gender barriers and pay discrimination. She was a Companion of the Order of Canada, Fellow of the Royal Society and awarded the Order of Ontario. She received the Pearson Peace Medal, the City of Toronto award of merit, and numerous honorary degrees from Canadian universities along with various other awards and recognitions.
The family would like to thank the many people who relayed their ongoing thoughts and best wishes, and those involved in Ursula's care, particularly in the last month. The family is extremely grateful to Linda R., Trudy C., James O., Aileen B.M., Eleanor P., Vanda V., Erika W., Rosemary M., and Bruna N. Special thanks must also be given to all the staff at Christie Gardens where she received outstanding care.
If you wish, please consider donations to the Ursula Franklin Academy, Toronto Monthly Meeting (Quakers), Christie Gardens, Massey College of the University of Toronto, or Doctors Without Borders (M.S.F.) in her name.
In Ursula's honour, consider small acts that will make the world and our society a better place. Ursula was a proponent of "the earthworm theory"- it is the little acts that prepare the soil and nurture the seedlings so that bigger actions can follow and flourish.
Details of a celebration of Ursula's life will be announced at a later date.
Published in Toronto Star from Jul. 24 to Jul. 25, 2016.