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"McKN" 2003 Obituary


McKNIGHT o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-05-28 published
Rev. John Francis MADDEN
By Joan Fidler BURROW and Reverend Bob MADDEN Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - Page A20
Son, brother, uncle, Basilian priest, teacher. Born October 30, 1921, in Detroit. Died January 5, in Toronto, of cancer, aged Picture a long stretch of red dirt road in the tropical forest of central Ghana, West Africa, in 1957. A minivan stops and disgorges five young Canadian university students, their Ghanaian guide, and their leader: a slight, youthful-looking priest from Toronto. He discreetly hands out the toilet paper as his companions disappear into the lush growth.
Father Jack MADDEN, C.S.B., was well-suited to be accompanying the students attending a seminar at the University of Accra in Ghana.
Born of Irish heritage, he was the eldest of three children of the late Patrick Henry MADDEN and Mary Agnes McKNIGHT. After graduating from high school, Jack came to Toronto to enter the novitiate of the Basilian Fathers. He was ordained a priest in 1948, pursued graduate studies at Harvard, and spent the rest of his life ministering and teaching in a variety of situations.
Father Jack was a much-beloved English professor at St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, in the 1950s and 1960s. He loved words and helped his students love them. He would recite by memory the etymology, the cognates in sister languages and the story of their development. Students learning Anglo-Saxon today still use his "Frequency Word List of Anglo-Saxon Poetry." He was approachable and never pedantic.
He used the storyteller method, and his enthusiasm for English literature inspired many of his students. Former students often refer to his vibrant presentation of the works of Chaucer; one such student still cherishes the image of "Father MADDEN sitting cross-legged on his desk, chuckling as he read aloud from The Canterbury Tales!" Many have said that he was one of the best teachers they ever had; all benefited from his zeal, intelligence, knowledge and compassion.
In 1969, he was assigned to Houston, Texas, where he combined ministry with teaching at the University of Saint Thomas. He also served successfully and effectively as chaplain to the parish grade-school. At that time, one colleague noted, "Saint Anne's must have the only grade-school in the world whose chaplain has a PhD from Harvard!"
In 1980, he went to St. Joseph's College, University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he was involved in campus ministry and taught theology. Other parish assignments were in Owen Sound, Ontario, and in Calgary.
Wherever he taught or worked in campus ministry, Father Jack combined the sacramental and education roles of his priestly calling as a Basilian. Along with his teaching and parochial duties, he gave retreats to priests, religious and laity in the United States and Canada. In almost every diocese and Basilian Institution in which he served, he was consulted by bishops, confrères, diocesan priests and religious on matters educational, spiritual, theological and liturgical.
Father Jack began to experience physical health difficulties early in 1980. In 1990, he fell victim to neuropathy, which increasingly affected his walking. At his request, he was appointed to Anglin House, the Basilian infirmary facility in Toronto on the St. Michael's College campus, taking up residence there in 1998. In 2002 he was diagnosed with cancer, which eventually confined him to bed until his death.
He finished his life's journey on a road paved with loving concern for others, a dynamic personality, a sense of humour, and a deep and joyous faith in God. He leaves his brother, Reverend Bob MADDEN, C.S.B.; his sister Patricia SYRING of Toledo, Ohio; six nieces and nephews and seven grand-nieces and nephews.
Joan Fidler BURROWS is a former student of John MADDEN; Father Bob, his brother.

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McKNIGHT o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-10-30 published
Dorothy Jean McKNIGHT
By Scott EDMONDS, Thursday, October 30, 2003 - Page A24
Social worker, academic, mother, grandmother, friend. Born October 12, 1930, in Burford Ontario Died September 8, in Kitchener, Ontario, of pneumonia, aged 72.
Dorothy McKNIGHT lived two lives. Her first a simple one, as a mother, a wife, a Girl Guide leader and a camp volunteer. The second, more complex, and for her and the people she touched, much more rewarding: as a social worker, an advocate for the disadvantaged, a friend and community volunteer, but still at heart, a mother, and later, even more to her liking, a grandmother.
In her late thirties, finding herself in an unhappy marriage, and working as an hourly retail worker, Dorothy decided there must be more, and she was determined to find out what it was. She started with night school and weekend classes at what was then Waterloo Lutheran University, commuting the 30 miles from Woodstock, Ontario, to take classes and eventually earn her high-school equivalency diploma. Armed with this, and a renewed self-confidence, she left her husband and moved herself and her four children to Waterloo, where, in her words, "My kids will get a better education than I did." But Dorothy didn't stop there, earning first a bachelor's degree in psychology, and later a master's degree in social work, both from Waterloo Lutheran University. All the while, she was raising her children virtually on her own and, true to her plan, ensuring they each ended up graduating not just from high-school but going on to finish college or university.
After completing her master's and working as a professional social worker, she took on some of the toughest cases: she counselled abused children and spouses, she worked with troubled teens, and shut-ins, and she helped police officers and other emergency workers suffering from exposure to trauma. Despite the demands of work and family, she kept up her volunteer work with her church, the John Howard Society and the Ontario Association of Social Workers. She ran seminars on retirement and transition planning for seniors, she wrote articles for publication, she attended a creative writing course at University of British Columbia, where she fell in love with the mountains and the ocean. She completed pre-doctorate courses at Smith College in Boston, legally changed her family name back to McKNIGHT, and, never one to shirk from a cause she believed in, once caused a furor that reached the Ontario Legislature with her research on the over-medication of the elderly.
No matter what else she had on the go, Dorothy remained dedicated to her family, never missing or failing to make an occasion out of a birthday, and travelling as far as Singapore to see each one of her nine grandchildren when they arrived.
As spirited as she was determined, Dorothy went out of her way to make the most of her life, and the freedom she had worked so hard to earn. She travelled and partied; she loved to host elaborate dinner parties where the wine flowed freely. She made Friends everywhere she went, with people of all backgrounds. She was as comfortable with the young as she was with her contemporaries, in many cases befriending the Friends of her children. Through her book club and dinner club, she made new Friends right up until the end. She also remained independent, declining a gratuitously offered hug with an emphatic "No" on one of her last clear and lucid days.
In the end, it wasn't really pneumonia that killed Dorothy, it was a conspiracy of the body against the spirit. Suffering complications after determinedly making an initial recovery from a stroke she suffered in 2002, Dorothy's body simply couldn't keep up with the demands placed on it. She died peacefully, attended by her children.
Scott EDMONDS is Dorothy's son.

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