In Memoriam

Barbara Ann Crosbie (d. 2019)

Barbara Ann Crosbie passed away on November 16, 2019, in her beloved home province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Barbara was a dedicated member of her community, having served as president and founding member of the Newfoundland Historic Trust, president and treasurer of the Art Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, and on the Board of Directors of the Colony of Avalon Foundation in her beloved Ferryland. She also joined the Board of Directors of the Vanier Institute of the Family in 1976–1977 and received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 in recognition of her work.

Left with fond and loving memories are Barbara’s husband of 57 years, Roger, and her children, Beverley (John Stevenson), Mark (Susan Hynes), Amy (Gary Squires) and Jennifer (Sameer Dhargalkar), as well as her grandchildren, Hannah Stevenson, Sarah and Rebecca Crosbie, Kate and Andrew Squires, Owen and Clara Dhargalkar.

Read Barbara Ann Crosbie’s obituary.

Patricia Elaine Murdoch (d. 2019)

Patricia Elaine Murdoch was a founding member of the Vanier Institute of the Family and a devoted community member who served many years with the Family Service Association in Toronto, the Junior League and in many roles at Christ Church Deer Park.

Mrs. Murdoch was predeceased by her husband, James Young Murdoch, and leaves behind her children Virginia “Ginny” Walker (Peter), Rosemary “Posy” Morton (Nick, deceased), James “Jay” Murdoch and Stephen Murdoch (Karen Corsano) and grandchildren Timothy, Simon and Andrew Walker, William and Duncan Morton, and Dana and Patrick Murdoch.

Nicole Marcil-Gratton (1943–2018)

Nicole Marcil-Gratton was a former Vanier team member, Board member and researcher whose work had a significant impact on families in Canada. She had a distinguished career at the Université de Montréal, where she published many articles and books that made significant contributions to demographic studies and family research in Quebec and Canada.

Nicole was also co-founder and developer of Le Phare Enfants et Familles/The Lighthouse Children and Families, Quebec’s only pediatric palliative care home, where she hosted a Vanier Institute Listening Tour event in 2014.

Among her many recognitions for her contributions to Canadian society, Nicole was appointed a Chevalière of the Ordre national du Québec (2009), and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) and the Annual Order of Merit Medal of Université de Montréal’s Alumni Association (2013).

Nicole was a loving wife, mother and grandmother, and she will be remembered dearly by family, friends and the countless people whose lives she touched.

Read Nicole Marcil-Gratton’s obituary on the Le Phare website. 

Alan Mirabelli (1948–2017)

Alan Mirabelli was a devoted member of the Vanier Institute team for more than 30 years, serving as Executive Director of Administration and Director of Communications. He joined the Institute in 1975 – alongside his “partner-in-crime,” Bob Glossop – and retired in 2007, after many years of dedication to families in Canada.

While Alan is well known for his dedicated and distinguished career of enhancing the national understanding of families in Canada, he was equally remarkable for his artistic talent, which he expressed through photography.

Alan embraced photography as a means of finding peace, exploring and nurturing his creative side, and ultimately to better knowing oneself. To him, photography was a means of “looking outward to see within,” a contemplative and meditative process that was an end in its own right but also a means of self-reflection that became increasingly important to him throughout his life until his death.

Alan was a dear friend, colleague and mentor. He will be greatly missed by many. His contributions and legacy at the Vanier Institute of the Family will live on forever.

  • A Gratitude Letter to Family and Friends by Alan Mirabelli
  • Memorial Speech for Alan Mirabelli by Michel Mirabelli
  • Alan Mirabelli: A Eulogy by a Friend by Nora Spinks
  • Youth (song lyrics) originally performed by Daughter, rewritten by Breanna Shepley
  • Hub Hospice and the Palliative Care Experience by Alan Mirabelli
  • What’s in a Name? Defining Family in a Diverse Society by Alan Mirabelli

Mr. Mirabelli was a gift to this world and our collective hearts. Alan was a dear friend and mentor to me throughout my career. This all around great guy was a brilliant social scientist and, most importantly, one high-calibre human being. He will be greatly missed. My sincere condolences to Alan’s family and friends.
– Reader comment, In Memoriam: Alan Mirabelli

Alan brought lively presentations, concepts and proposals to the table during my time as a board member with the Vanier Institute. I recall one of our Vanier dinners, at which Alan sat at “our” table of six or so board members. He shared lively stories regarding his life, travels and adventures. Lots of laughter. Soon we (board members who met twice a year) shared our stories about our lives and the goings on in Winnipeg, Halifax, Vancouver, Saskatoon, including others from across this vast country. Farewell, Alan.
– Dr. Judith Martin, Board Member, 2000–2008

Alan was a complex combination of many things to those who knew him: friend, colleague, mentor, author, lecturer, advocate, administrator, teacher, storyteller, craftsman, artist, father, grandfather, community builder, inspirer, the conscience of a nation in regard to families and a dignified man during his life, especially so in the manner of his leaving it.
– Al MacKay (former Board member, President and interim Executive Director of the Vanier Institute), Remembering Alan Mirabelli

Marthe Chabot Laliberté (1918–2015)

It is with great sadness that we announce the recent passing of Marthe Chabot Laliberté on January 29, 2015, six months shy of her 97th birthday.

Marthe was a founding member of the Vanier Institute of the Family and until recently, a devoted member of the Vanier Alumni Network.

Marthe was predeceased by her husband, Claude Laliberté, and leaves behind her children: Michel (Patricia Cousins), Henri (Camille Lessard), Marie (Paul McGuigan), Anne, François (Carole Forest); and her grandchildren: Jsun and Geneviève Laliberté, Benoît, Catherine and Guillaume Laliberté, Claire McGuigan, and Laurent Despins.

Carol Matusicky (1941–2014)

One of the most dedicated and authoritative Canadians ever to speak on behalf of families in this country passed away on Friday, December 5, 2014, in the arms of her own family.

While Carol’s voice is no longer with us, it will continue to be heard in her many accomplishments, achieved over an outstanding career of service to families, which will ripple through her community for many years to come. Those whom she has mentored and coached will carry on her professional legacy by asking themselves “What would Carol do, or how would Carol handle this?” when faced with difficult issues and decisions. Her personal legacy will endure in the family she has left behind in B.C., and her friends and colleagues across the country.

The Vanier Institute of the Family has lost someone who for years has been the embodiment of our mission and values. Carol was involved with the Institute for over three decades, joining as a member while a student at university, and then later serving as a member of the Board for 12 years and presiding as President from 2001 to 2003. The insight she brought to the Institute was grounded on her stellar work in her home province of British Columbia, where she served as Executive Director of the B.C. Council for Families for 25 years.

Her advocacy for children and youth was framed in the context of the supports needed for families, both internal and external. Her view, reiterated regularly in B.C. and supported by the Institute, was that government and community resources need to be placed at the “front end” of the system, so that more supports are there to “build” families and not just to “fix” them. This mirrored the Institute’s own approach to families, which is that the support each member of a family provides to each other, abetted by the supports provided by the broader community is what helps build strong, resilient families and fosters their essential societal and nurturing functions.

At Board meetings, Carol regularly reminded colleagues that the Vanier Institute was one of the very few national tables left where people from all regions met regularly to talk about family issues from a cross-country perspective, which was so valuable in fostering the richness of the discussions and debates. She often said that the country had a national treasure with the Vanier Institute and that as Board members, we all had to work hard as its stewards, to ensure it remained financially sound and issue-relevant.

For Carol, every conversation – even if it involved differing views around an issue or question –  took place with respect, courtesy and encouragement, gentle humour and a positive outlook. She treated every one of us who had the privilege of knowing her like family, and as such was deeply admired by her colleagues and adored by Institute staff.

I shall very much miss her counsel and friendship.

Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you

God bless, Carol, and Godspeed.

Al MacKay

Comments from colleagues and friends

Carol was just one of those people who always restored my faith in goodness. She was unfailing in her generosity, positive outlook and advocacy for families. My life was enriched by her influence.
– K. D.

I remember Carol, not only for her work for families, but also for her warmth, her sincerity and respect for others. She was a source of inspiration, guidance and support. She was a person with a depth of knowledge, strong convictions and significant accomplishments and it was an honour to know her.
– L. N.

Carol’s life was a testament of generosity and an ethic of integrity. Most of all I will miss her welcoming smile.
– A. M.

Carol was a gentle person, with a gentle humour and a gentle way of being. And yet, she was a person of great compassion, great knowledge, great conviction and great accomplishment.
– S. H.

Roberto Gualtieri (1936–2014)

Former Board member, Executive Committee member and Nominations Committee member (1979–1985) of the Vanier Institute, Roberto Gualtieri passed away at home, at age 77. He leaves Margot, his wife of 50 years, his children Eric (Linzi), Inger and Dominic (Dasha), and grandchildren Anders, Miranda, Imogen, Luciano and Marcello. Also, his brother Antonio, his sister Teresa and their families.

A Celebration of his Life was held at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa on June 5, 2014 at 3:00 p.m., followed by a reception at home.

Ottawa Citizen, April 22, 2014

Daurene Lewis (1943–2013)

Dear Friends,

It is always shocking to lose a colleague, friend or family member. Thus it is with great sadness that we inform you of Daurene Lewis’ sudden passing Saturday, January 26, 2013. The team at the Vanier Institute of the Family was honoured to count Daurene as an active Board Member and member of the Vanier Institute Alumni, and will miss her greatly.

Daurene was appointed to the Vanier Board in 2005 by the then Prime Minster, the Right Honourable Paul Martin. Her accomplishments were many and varied, but you never heard about them from her. She was always humble and quiet about her many contributions to community, academia and her country. Daurene set the pace for those around her, no matter what she was involved with at the time, and that included the Vanier Institute of the Family. We, her Board colleagues, were the better for her participation around the Board table, as she offered sharp insight, asked pertinent questions and provided valuable opinions on the issues facing the organization and Canadian families, all laced with graciousness and a fine sense of humour. One of her many legacies is the complete revision of the Institute’s Human Resources Policy Manual, which she shepherded in her last year on the Board.

Board member Aileen Reid, a colleague and friend of Daurene’s, attended the memorial being held in Halifax this week and brought condolences from the Institute.

Al MacKay and Carol Matusicky
Co-chairs, Alumni Network

Media articles

Canada has indeed lost a great citizen and we at the Vanier have lost a valued friend of the Institute.
– Rob Shea (Newfoundland and Labrador)

There is a song up for a Canadian Music award: “What shall I do with these healthy hands of mine?” Some people go through life never asking themselves that question. Daurene went through her life never having to ask the question.
– Aileen Reid (Nova Scotia)

Quiet dignity. Certainly.
Generous with her wisdom. Always.
A source of sage advice. Without question.
I would add that Daurene was a person of great compassion.
– Scott Hannant (Ontario)

Truly sad news to lose a friend of Vanier and a personal friend. Sad to hear this news but thank you, Daurene, for your commitment to the Canadian community and the work of the Vanier Institute of the Family.
– David Northcott (Manitoba)

I was always impressed with her contributions at the Board table. She reflected such a quiet dignified determination and depth of knowledge on issues she spoke on. I wanted to know her better.
– Judith Martin (Saskatchewan)

She was able to see connections between past and future activities and between the Vanier and our potential partners. We will miss her quiet guidance and sage advice.
– Hillel Goelman (British Columbia)

Raymond Doyle (1936–2012)

Raymond Doyle, founding member and former Board Member of the Vanier Institute passed away at the Élisabeth Bruyère Centre on February 9, 2012, at the age of 75, after a brief illness. He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Marie-Paule (Roy), their children Michel, Philippe (Louise Lalande) and Vincent as well as his siblings: Robert (Clarisse Lamoureux), Monica (Raynald Perron), Patricia (Donald Quenneville) and Louise (Anthony Chezzi). He is predeceased by his parents, Emmett and Simone, brother Rev. Alban and sister Beatrice. He will be sadly missed by his granddaughters: Ashley, Sara, Nicole, Miriam and Laura, by his brother-in- law Onil Roy (Huguette Nantel) and his many nephews, nieces and friends.

Throughout his life, Raymond remained actively involved in the volunteer sector where he gave unselfishly both from a professional and personal standpoint. A funeral mass was held at Saint-François d’Assise Parish (Ottawa) on Saturday, March 10.

Published in the Ottawa Citizen on February 25, 2012

Hilde Houlding (1932–2012)

Hilde Houlding, Honorary Life Member of the Vanier Institute as well as a former Board and Program Committee member (1999–2005) died of cancer at her home in Calgary in the early hours of January 1, 2012 at the age of 79. She is survived by her only daughter Tracy Houlding (Bruce Wilson) of Fredericton, N.B., and her two grandchildren, Evan and Megan Houlding. She was predeceased by her parents, Cornelius and Katharina (Hildebrand) Bergen; two brothers, Carl and Henry, and six sisters, Mary, Catherine, Anne, Sally, Susan and Elizabeth. Left to mourn her passing are four brothers, Peter, Cornelius, William and Elvin; two sisters, Helen and Trudy, and numerous in- laws, nieces and nephews. She will be missed by a wide circle of friends and colleagues.

A funeral service was held at Foster’s Garden Chapel on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 10 a.m. Although Hilde was an avid gardener who loved flowers, in lieu of flowers the family suggested that donations in Hilde’s memory be made to Calgary Family Services.

Published in the Calgary Herald, January 3, 2011

Fred Elkin (d. 2011)

Dr. Fred Elkin passed away peacefully at the Palliative Care Unit in the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre on Thursday, September 1, 2011, at the age of 93. Beloved husband of Sylvia, predeceased by former wife Madge. Dear father and father-in-law of Mark and Lee Elkin, Lisa and Kevin Powell, and Delia and Bill Barkley. Loving grandfather of Kylie and Rebecca Elkin, Taylor, Lauren and Matthew Powell, and Solomon, Liam and Denzil Barkley.

Dr. Elkin was a distinguished Professor Emeritus, Professor of Sociology at McGill University, University of Montreal and York University. Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. A veteran of World War II, he served as a member of the Signal Intelligence Division in the U.S. Army. Cremation has already taken place.

Dr. Elkin’s family received friends at the Morley Bedford Funeral Home, 159 Eglinton Ave. W. on Wednesday, September 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. As expressions of sympathy, donations were directed to the Vanier Institute of the Family.

Dr. Elkin is, and will continue to be, an important part of the history of the Vanier Institute of the Family. Prior to its inception in 1965, Dr. Elkin wrote a memorable piece entitled The Family in Canada. His publication included various facts and figures on family roles and relationships and family life in Canada in the 1960s.

In the words of Dr. Elkin:

The family has never remained constant. Even when life was most traditional and stable, children were never exact replicas of their parents. Now change is a key concept for any family analyst. The family, with its crucial functions, does not expire, it changes. In varying ways, it adapts and bends and, of course, in turn, it influences.

The Family in Canada, 1964

Doris Badir (1924–2011)

Doris passed away on June 7, 2011, after a long illness. Doris will be dearly missed by her devoted husband and loving caretaker, Magdy; her daughter, Patricia, son-in-law Erik and granddaughter, Lucie; her brothers Jack and Gordon and sisters-in-law Bette and Laura; her nieces and nephews, Wendy, Shelley, David, Marjorie, Michael, Kristiane, Mickey, Alice, Magdy and Mira; the Kierens and the Morras as well as her many friends and colleagues.

Doris became Professor at the Macdonald Institute of Home Economics at Guelph University in 1953, after having completed a B.Sc. (HEc) at the University of Manitoba (1945) and an M.S. Ed. at Syracuse University (1953). She also earned a M.Sc. (Econ) at the London School of Economics in 1963. In 1965, Doris began teaching at the University of Waterloo. Two years later, Doris moved to Edmonton, where she served as Professor and then Dean of Home Economics at the University of Alberta until 1986, when she became special assistant to the president on employment equity until her retirement in 1990. Doris was the President of the Canadian Home Economics Association from 1976 to 1978 and President of the International Federation for Home Economics from 1988 to 1992. In this position, she helped to influence the United Nations to declare 1994 the International Year of the Family. In addition, Doris also served on the Board of Directors of the Vanier Institute of the Family from 1980 to 1986.

Doris was a wise, noble woman who will be remembered, not only in Canada but in many countries in the developing world, as a tireless feminist and an articulate advocate for children – particularly those living in poverty. She will be remembered at home as loving and committed sister, wife, mother, grandmother and friend.


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