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"YAF" 2008 Obituary


YAFFE o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-06-09 published
CHEDA, Sherrill
Suddenly on June 7, 2008 at the Princess Margaret Hospital at the age of 72 years. Beloved wife of Karl JAFFARY. Loving mother of Marc PERRY and Andrew PERRY. Mourned as well by Karl's children Eric Dennis JAFFARY (Aeylya HUSEIN) and Nora Elizabeth JAFFARY (Edward OSOWSKI.) Grandmother to Kate, Isabella, Desiree and Michael PERRY as well as Luc JAFFARY- OSOWSKI and Adam Stuart JAFFARY. Dear daughter of Abe SCHNEIDER and the late Myrtle STOUT. She is also survived by her sisters Marcia WHISMAN and Kathie JOHNSON and her brother Ralph SCHNEIDER. She will also be remembered by her very dedicated friend Phyllis YAFFE. The family will receive Friends at the Humphrey Funeral Home - A.W. Miles Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Eglinton Avenue East) from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10th. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Canadian Women's Foundation, 133 Richmond St. West, Suite 504, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2L3. Condolences and memories may be forwarded through

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YAFFE o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-06-09 published
Sherrill CHEDA: 72
Feminist Activist Electrified Library Work In Canada
By Sandra MARTIN, Page S10
Sherrill CHEDA, a feminist librarian, arts administrator and cultural activist, died of complications from acute leukemia at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto early Saturday morning. She was 72.
Ms. CHEDA, born in a small town in Indiana, earned her master's in library science at the University of Indiana. Opposed to the Vietnam War, she immigrated to Canada in 1967 with her two sons and her then-partner, Michael CHEDA, a draft dodger.
While working as a librarian in the Toronto area, she joined forces with Phyllis YAFFE and Barbara CLUBB, two like-minded feminist librarians and founded the newsletter, Emergency! Librarian, a compendium of book reviews, news and opinion that electrified the library profession in Canada.
A Canadian cultural nationalist, Ms. CHEDA later worked as an administrator for the Canadian Periodical Publishers Association, the Ontario Arts Council and the Ontario government.
She was a columnist for Chatelaine under editor Doris Anderson and was one of the founders of the New Feminists in the early 1970s.
She leaves her husband, Karl JAFFARY, a lawyer and former Toronto politician, sons Marc and Andrew, two stepchildren, six grandchildren and her extended family. The funeral will be held on Wednesday at 4. p.m. at Humphrey Funeral Home on Bayview Avenue in Toronto.

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YAFFE o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-06-21 published
Activist librarian made a difference in publishing, literature and the arts
'Feminist and peacenik' challenged the status quo, launched the journal Emergency Librarian and helped stabilize Canada's magazine industry. 'Her principles were so much a part of her life'
By Sandra MARTIN, Page S12
'The times they are a-changin,' Bob Dylan sang in 1964 in a song that captured the upsurge of political and social upheaval as a generation of mostly privileged boomers came of age, questioning all manner of establishment authority. Protests against poverty, racism and the Vietnam War grabbed the headlines, but second-wave feminism was also in full throttle in the United States. Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, which argued that housework and childrearing were not the only ways to be fulfilled as a woman, had kick-started the movement after its publication in 1963. In Canada, Doris Anderson (obituary March 3, 2007), who had become editor of Chatelaine in 1956, was offering her readers thoughtful and provocative articles about all sorts of taboo topics, such as abortion and contraception, and was urging women to take off their aprons and run for public office.
Fast forward almost a decade to Winnipeg. Early in 1973, Harry Easton, the city's chief librarian and president of the Canadian Library Association, asked two young librarians, Phyllis YAFFE and Barbara CLUBB, to organize the theme day at the annual Canadian Library Association conference, which was to be held that June in Sackville, New Brunswick They took on the unpaid task, but they gave their own feminist twist to the theme, "Librarians: beginning, middle and end of career." Specifically, they focused on female librarians and why it was that men held virtually all of the executive positions in a profession in which women occupied the vast majority of jobs.
Needing a speaker, they phoned broadcaster Barbara Frum at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, who declined; then Doris Anderson, who also demurred, but who recommended Sherrill CHEDA, an ardent feminist and the chief librarian at Seneca College in Toronto. That is how Ms. CHEDA came to deliver a keynote address entitled That Special Little Mechanism, referring to the appendage that men carry between their legs.
Delivered by a tiny powerhouse of a woman slightly over five feet tall, who was barely visible above a massive podium that tended to skitter across the stage, the speech was a knock out. Studded with anecdotes and statistics, it not only articulated the reality that many female librarians lived, but it acquired a legitimacy because of the forum in which it was delivered - the profession's annual conference.
"It was shocking," Ms. YAFFE, now vice-chairwoman of the board of Ryerson University and former Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Atlantis, said in a telephone interview. "Nobody asked questions like that." Afterwards, the triumvirate of Ms. CHEDA, Ms. YAFFE and Ms. CLUBB (now the chief librarian of the City of Ottawa) sat on the lawn and plotted their next move: The launch of the oddly titled journal Emergency Librarian, a compendium of book reviews, news, and information infused with feminist voices from the alternative press and radical librarians.
Ms. CHEDA and Ms. YAFFE (who moved to Toronto in September, 1973 and was hired by Ms. CHEDA as a reference librarian at Seneca College) organized the editorial in meetings after work at Ms. CHEDA's kitchen table while Ms. CLUBB maintained the subscription lists in Winnipeg. "Getting information to people was so empowering. We had a social purpose," said Ms. YAFFE who became lifelong Friends with Ms. CHEDA. " She was loyal and caring and inspiring because her principles were so much a part of her life. She was a feminist and a peacenik and absolutely against prejudice of any kind."
Sherrill SCHNEIDER was born in the mid-1930s in Osgood, Indiana, a small town in the American Midwest between Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Her father, Abraham (Abe) SCHNEIDER, was a Russian Jew from Kiev who had walked across Ukraine to Hamburg with his mother and two siblings to escape the pogroms following the Russian revolution. His ultimate destination was Indiana, where his father had settled. That's where Abe SCHNEIDER met and married Myrtle STOUT, the descendant of early Protestant settlers on the eastern coast of the United States. Sherrill was the eldest of their four children.
Over the years Abe SCHNEIDER ran both a shoe and a dry-goods store before going into the scrap-metal business with his father, a business that continues to thrive. Sherrill, who was the valedictorian of her high school, was the first person in her family to go to university. She went briefly to Hanover College, a small private Presbyterian College, in 1954, and then entered the University of Indiana in Bloomington the following September.
Her plan was to become an academic, but the male head of the English department discouraged her dreams by saying dismissively that studying for a doctorate would be a waste of time because she was probably going to get married and have babies. She fulfilled that prediction by marrying a fellow student named NoŽl PERRY in June, 1958, just after she graduated with a bachelor's degree. While he completed his undergraduate degree she entered the master's program in library science - which, along with teaching and nursing, was then an acceptable occupation for ambitious women. By September, 1959, three months and three courses short of acquiring her library degree, she had moved to San Francisco where her husband had found a job with Social Security, and had produced her first son, Marc (named after the artist Marc Chagall).
The family moved to Baltimore in 1962, where their second son, Andrew, was born that May. Four months later, Ms. CHEDA began working in the history and social-sciences department of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. She earned $4,000 a year and was advised that if she wanted to succeed she should wear pearls and white gloves to work and use Jacqueline Kennedy as a role model. A year later the library gave her a leave of absence to complete her MLS at Indiana University. Thereafter, she and her family moved back to San Francisco where she worked as a librarian at San Francisco State College. Along with her husband, she became involved with the growing resistance to the Vietnam War.
The Perrys' marriage fell apart in 1966 in San Francisco during the era of love and peace. She subsequently moved across the border to Vancouver with her children and her new partner, Michael CHEDA, a draft dodger. She worked in the libraries of the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. They married in 1969, about the time he moved to Toronto to take a job with CFTO television in Markham. She followed with her children several months later and began working at the library of the Indian and Eskimo Association, and then as chief librarian at Seneca College. Her marriage to Mr. CHEDA broke up in about 1975.
Having grown totally frustrated by the lack of professional opportunities and the inequitable share of household responsibilities that she shouldered, Ms. CHEDA became a member of the New Feminists, a group that had split from the Toronto Women's Liberation Movement in April, 1969, over ideological differences. Although she had enthusiastically embraced feminism and the concept of women supporting and loving other women, she did draw some lines. Arriving at a feminist consciousness-raising session in a church basement, Ms. CHEDA was given a mirror and invited to get better acquainted with her vagina. "Give me a break," Ms. CHEDA whispered to her friend Shelagh Wilkinson, who had also declined the mirror on the grounds that, as a trained nurse and midwife, she had seen more then enough vaginas.
Nobody seems to remember exactly how Ms. CHEDA met Ms. Anderson at Chatelaine, but they probably connected in 1972 when Ms. CHEDA began trying to express her feminist ideas in print. They had many common interests, not least of which was the challenge of trying to raise independent sons in a patriarchal society.
Nine months after her Sackville speech, Ms. CHEDA dropped her second feminist shoe when she published the article How to Raise Liberated Children in Chatelaine in March, 1974. Described as a practical parent's guide, the article itemized how her sons were expected to make their own lunches, get themselves around town, make dinner once a week and do laundry and other household tasks. There was an outraged response from many readers, but Ms. CHEDA and Ms. Anderson were not deterred. Another article, On The Way to Liberation: One housewife-mother-librarian's personal and painful journey from martyr mom to liberated person, appeared six months later. About this time, Ms. CHEDA became the expert fielding questions from readers in a monthly advice column, Ask A Feminist.
As for her own kids, they grew up in a household that embraced peace activists, feminists and gay couples. Her son Marc, now a research administrator in the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto, says that he didn't really have much choice about doing his share of the housework (unlike his Friends, whose mothers made their beds and prepared their lunches), but he had a lot of freedom. His mother was always willing to talk to him "about major things going on in her life, like the life-changing thing that happened after my stepfather moved out. We had a real heart-to-heart, so it wasn't like I never had input," he said. "We were consulted, and we were consulted at a very early age."
Contributing to a magazine such as Chatelaine is a lot easier than running one, especially a start-up operation like Emergency Librarian. Because Ms. CHEDA knew nothing about the mechanics of publishing magazines, she joined an organization called the Canadian Periodical Publishers Association in the mid-1970s and was soon elected to its board of directors. Eventually, probably in 1979 or 1980, she was asked to take on the job of executive director of the floundering, nearly bankrupt group. Even though it meant working for a lower salary and giving up the pension and other benefits she had at Seneca, Ms. CHEDA accepted the challenge.
As an arts administrator she applied the organizational, research and management skills she had learned as a librarian. She travelled across the country by train and bus, sleeping on sofas in the homes of Canadian Periodical Publishers Association members to rally enthusiasm for the floundering organization. Within a year she had turned it around; then she began developing a distribution system that actually helped Canadian magazines reach their subscribers and improve their business prospects.
In the mid-1970s, Ms. CHEDA met lawyer Karl JAFFARY, a former alderman for the old city of Toronto. Also interested in the arts and involved with the Canadian Periodical Publishers Association, Mr. JAFFARY acted for her when she sued the now defunct Weekend magazine on December 17, 1977, for "outing" her as a lesbian in an article called Gay in the Seventies. She won a libel settlement of $5,000 which Mr. JAFFARY advised her to use as a down payment on a rental house in the east end of the city. Over the years they became close Friends. He was drawn to her for "the things that everybody liked about her - she would not take shit from anybody." He admired her independent spirit and her intellect and shared her passions for books, the arts - especially little theatre companies - and organizations dedicated to promoting social justice. They married on May 30, 1987, a union that by all accounts was extremely happy.
By then Ms. CHEDA had left the Canadian Periodical Publishers Association, worked for four years as registrar at the Ontario Arts Council and had shifted, in 1986, to the Culture and Communications Branch of the Ontario government. "With her dynamism, drive and creativity, she put together the Ontario Publishing Centre in the fall of 1991 to help the book and magazine publishing industry in a very bad economic time," said cultural bureaucrat Jim Polk, who was hired to work under Ms. CHEDA on the book side. "Sherrill was very wily and inventive in working with the structure and very demanding of her staff, but in a good way," he said. Before a change of government and the dismantling of the centre in 1995, it gave out nearly $15-million in support money to help book and magazine publishers computerize and modernize their supply and marketing systems. "She intended to make a difference in literature and the arts, and she did," said Mr. Polk.
After a few miserable years in the mid- to late 1990s, dismantling many of the programs she had helped create, Ms. CHEDA took early retirement from the Ontario government. For the last several years she and Mr. JAFFARY travelled, went to the theatre, read books and relished Ms. CHEDA's talents as a gourmet cook. In November, 2004, Ms. CHEDA suffered a stroke which immobilized her left side. She responded well to treatment, although she was left with a slight limp. Besides being an informal reference source for Friends and families about essential books, restaurants, plays and trips, she was one of four guest editors, along with Sally Armstrong, Michele Landsberg and Shelagh Wilkinson, of a special volume of Canadian Woman Studies entitled Celebrating Doris Anderson, which was published in December 2007.
Late last month, Ms. CHEDA developed persistent flu-like symptoms. A blood test led to a diagnosis of acute adult leukemia. The next day she suffered a terminal stroke, which gave her family its second terrible shock in as many days.
Sherrill CHEDA was born in Osgood, Indiana, on February 15, 1936. She died at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto of complications from acute leukemia early on the morning of June 7, 2008. She was 72. Ms. CHEDA leaves her husband, Karl JAFFARY, and her sons Marc and Andrew. She also leaves her grandchildren Kate, Isabella, Desiree and Michael, her father Abe SCHNEIDER, her three siblings and her extended family.

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