Shirley Farlinger, who died on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at age 82, was a beautiful human being, an intelligent, open-minded and independent woman and an inspiring and loving wife, mother and grandmother who was determined to leave this world a better place. Her father was a stretcher-bearer in the First World War and the horror he witnessed strongly influenced Shirley to become one of Canada's most passionate peace activists.
How to paint a picture of such an amazing and unique individual - her friends and family would be the first to admit she wasn't easy to categorize. Her favourite movies include, Ghandi, Roger and Me, and If You Love This Planet. She loved the music of Nana Mouskouri, Gordon Lightfoot and Tom Jones.
She received an English degree from the University of Toronto and after twenty years of being a devoted mother and corporate wife she went back to school and completed a Journalism degree from Ryerson University to lead a fight against a world she believed had become militaristic and environmentally toxic. She was, for many years, a volunteer editor for, and contributor to, Peace Magazine, a member of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Science for Peace and Pugwash. And to the very end of her life she was a board member of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health. She ran federally for the Green Party in its early days and later the NDP. She was the first woman president of the Toronto Eglinton Rotary Club and a past president of the University Women's Club of Toronto. For a considerable period in the 1980s, she was a member of the Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament's Consultative Group. And throughout her entire life, she remained a faithful and active member of the United Church of Canada. Her spiritual faith and political beliefs melded and she inspired the congregations first at Bloor Street United and later Trinity St. Paul's to fight for peace with her. Shirley was a fighter; she never gave up, living 12 years plus with ovarian cancer. Even from her bedside, the last of her 150 letters to the editor were being published with recognition by the Toronto Star. Shirley is the author of A Million for Peace, Poems I Give to You and co-author of His and Her Verses with Derek Paul, and published several of her plays including The 1325 Key to Peace performed across Canada and at the UN in New York.
Like her deceased first born son Brian, who was an AIDS activist, Shirley dedicated the last thirty years of her life to activism for world peace, the environment and women's equality.
She is cherished by her partner Derek Paul and surviving family: Pamela (and Richard), Craig (and Silvia), Leonard (and Jennifer), David; and her many grandchildren.
The family will receive friends at the HUMPHREY FUNERAL HOME A.W. MILES CHAPEL LIMITED, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville Avenue) from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 19 and Thursday December 20. The funeral service will be held in TRINITY ST. PAUL'S UNITED CHURCH, 427 Bloor Street West (at Robert Street), on Friday, December 21, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.
Please make donations to the International Institute of Concern for Public Health (www.concernforhealth.org), Voice of Women (www.vowpeace.org) or Trinity St. Paul's Church. Condolences and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com. Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles Chapel And Reception Centre 416-487-4523
Wednesday December 19, 2012
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