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"FOO" 2003 Obituary


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FOOT o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-03-13 published
Christopher (Chris) TAILOR/TAYLOR
By John SAMUEL Thursday, March 13, 2003 - Page A22
Innovative policy wonk, husband, father, son, brother. Born May 27, 1948, in Kitchener, Ontario Died September 1, 2002, in Vancouver, of cancer, aged 54.
The late Chris TAILOR/TAYLOR wrote his own poignant and potent eulogy a few days before his departure due to cancer of the esophagus: he became a lively presence at his own memorial service. He had delivered eulogies before, and had decided, "If the opportunity was ever given to me, I'd write my own. Well -- lucky me -- I got the chance."
Chris was born in Kitchener, Ontario He graduated from Simon Fraser University in 1969 and received his Massachusetts from the University of Toronto. Before joining the federal government, he taught at the University of Toronto.
The eulogy states: "I would like to believe that my main accomplishment as a federal civil servant was [being] an effective team leader so I worked extra hard at devising ways and...techniques to support team culture, team development, and team spirit." He dedicated himself to the task with unbridled energy, unstinting enthusiasm and unquestionable integrity. He was a diplomat par excellence in his single-minded pursuit of policy goals with colleagues, superiors and subordinates: supremely fair-minded and even handed.
After joining Immigration in 1981, his achievements marked a new chapter in Ottawa in policy development based on research, information and consultations with stakeholders -- not merely based on feelings and instincts.
Academics from coast to coast were brought into the consultation circle and were stimulated to respond to challenging policy questions, both theoretical and practical. He was himself an academic in his spare time, publishing policy-related papers with accomplished academics from across Canada.
One of his Friends in academia, the well-known demographer Prof. David FOOT of the University of Toronto, says: "He was a delight to work with -- full of creativity, enthusiasm, integrity, and also realism. He loved policy but understood implementation -- a rare combination. He could be convinced by good research but never by power or influence. We have lost an amazing colleague. The shock of his far-too-early departure is substantial and his legacy reinforces the necessity to live every day to its fullest, as Chris did."
Chris had a special interest in population policy from his days as an Massachusetts student in geography. He was active in the Canadian Population Society and helped it to become more relevant.
His love for policy and strategy did not stop him from having a good work/life balance. He had a tremendous, absorbing interest in music. Those who attended his memorial service each received a Beach Boys Compact Disk to take home. He says in his eulogy: "Not just because it happens to be the best pop Compact Disk of the last century, but because in listening to Brian Wilson and his mystical capacity to communicate via music, it also became part of me."
Once Chris told me with boyish glee of the immense pleasure he experienced in meeting, by chance, in a hotel, B. B. King, whose concert we had attended together in New Orleans in the 1980s. Chris was an avid and ardent record collector with thousands of LPs and 45s collected at garage sales, junk stores and record shops. In his eulogy he recollected: "I remember being at Uncle Phil's funeral and going right after to a junk store to look for records -- I knew he'd understand."
He concluded: "I carry with me 54 years of glorious life -- a speck in the infinity of time -- but a speck that when connected to all others sustains this chain that we are all part of. So I look forward to seeing you again in some different manifestation but for essentially the same purpose -- to love and support all those we know."
John SAMUEL was Chris's colleague.

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