STEPHANIE McCANDLESS REFORDDied peacefully at the Arcadia Retirement Residence in Hawaii on Wednesday, March 9, 2011.
Stephanie was a pioneer in the field of international education, and she devoted her life to world affairs, training, writing and consulting. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the only daughter of Mary and Lee McCandless. After graduating from Principia College and the University of Washington (M.A. International Communications), she began teaching at the Punahou Academy in Hawaii. After working at the Institute of International Education, the State University of New York and the University of Washington, Stephanie became Executive Director of the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council in Hawaii. With her boundless enthusiasm and innate people skills, she expanded their international education program to more than 14,000 students in 60 schools on six major islands by 1970. In the 1980s, she adapted this program for schools in Ontario, by creating Introducing: The World, a revolutionary idea that coordinated student-generated global education conferences, publications and seminars in more than 250 public and private secondary schools. She later developed international training programs for Katimavik, the Department of External Affairs and schools in Canada, the United States and Hungary. Over the years, Stephanie served on the boards of the Pugwash Peace Exchange, the United Nations Association, the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs and the International Holistic Tourism Education Centre, as well as sustaining an affiliation with many other international organizations.
In 1972, Stephanie married Canadian journalist and international affairs specialist, Robert W. Reford, after meeting at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research in New York, where Stephanie worked from 1970 to 1972. Stephanie and Robert enjoyed an exciting and happy life together first in New York, then Toronto and finally at Crescent Beach in Nova Scotia, although, in truth, the world was their home. They travelled extensively to promote international cooperation and understanding when Robert was Director of the Canadian Institute for International Affairs and later as consultants with Reford-McCandless International.
Stephanie and Robert were extraordinary hosts and they took great pleasure in their many visitors to their homes in both Toronto and Crescent Beach. In 2003, Stephanie became the Co-founder of the Global Youth Center in Hawaii, and, after Robert's death in 2006, she moved to Hawaii.
In the words of the Hon. Douglas Roche, former Canadian Senator and former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament: ''She was a valiant and courageous figure in global education programs for youth, and, indeed, with Bob, played an important role in helping to advance the agenda for peace throughout Canada.''
Blessed with an incredible generosity of spirit and a zest for life, she had a remarkable ability to connect with people from all walks of life. She contributed to countless careers because of her belief that youth deserved a voice and, given the opportunity, would excel as leaders. Stephanie's abiding faith and her uncanny ability to cite quotations to suit every occasion and need will long be remembered.
Stephanie is survived by her brother Peter, and family and friends around the world.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to les Amis des Jardins de Metis (Reford Gardens), the Nova Scotia SPCA, the United Nations Association of Canada or the Canadian Red Cross.