Rjchard Stingle, with the late John Andrew Reaney on his knee, with the v. young James Stewart Reaney at right on the steps of the Reaney family’s Winnipeg homc c. 1956 . . . detail from a family photograph
The master scholar at work: Richard Stingle discusses A Suit Of Nettles, at the May 25, 2010 launch of its new edition at the LPL reading garden. My father dedicated A Suit Of Nettles to Richard.
JBNBlog joins those in shock & sadness today as we mourn Richard Stingle, who died overnight at University Hospital. A great Londoner and a brilliant scholar & teacher, Richard was a close friend of my parents after meeting them at the University of Toronto in the 1940s. He was a few days short of his 89th birthday . . . & a great spirit to the end.
I feel fortunate to have known Richard for most of my life (as the top photograph attests) . . . he became my godfather after my brother’s death (he would likely have been John’s godfather when the photo was taken) & inspired me in life, art & Canadian political truth decade after decade.
Somewhere in the LFP archives is a joyful image of Richard celebrating a teaching award for his excellence as an iconic member of Western’s English department.
That is how I see him just now … but I will always treasure his last visit to our house a week ago today when he & former Western colleague & great ally Bruce Lundgren dropped by. Richard wanted us to have letters written by my parents he had discovered while housecleaning. That was typical of his generous spirit.
On that day, he was full of the old CCF/NDP fire that has helped so many to keep the flame & faith.
He also enjoyed joking about possibly being related to the famous baseball manager and wit Casey Stengel, who had the same taste for acerbic comments.
He had a sudden reverse in health the next day and went into hospital. We saw him on several visits & there were still moments to remember forever even as Richard’s health grew frailer each day.
Richard, you are loved & missed deeply . . . semper Stingle.