James’ Brand New Blog

Brenda Wallace (1932-2012)

- September 12th, 2012

 

Brenda Wallace August 1984

Brenda Wallace, outside what is now Museum London, in a beautiful photograph by my former LFP colleague Ed Heal. This portrait shot originally ran in Encounter (The Free Press magazine) on Sept. 22, 1984 . . . . on Sept. 22, 2012, the family and friends of Brenda will gather to celebrate her life & remarkable contributions to Canadian art.

My thoughts & prayers are with the family & friends of Brenda Wallace.

The former director of what is now Museum London died Sept. 4 in Quebec. She was 80.

I worked as Brenda’s secretary for a time during the 1980s. She tolerated my inept efforts for much longer than she should have & when I left, it was long overdue.

I see Brenda now with her terrific smile & think of the way she powered the museum through a financial crisis (& full shutdown) into a period of bold creativity. She brought vision & class to the museum/gallery. We had  a Gilbert & George exhibition in there etc. Wow.

Brenda’s departure from the gallery was bitter but I am sure she left London to return to her beloved Quebec knowing there were many here who admired & adored her.

The obituary in the Globe & Mail follows . .  here is its final sentence, a beautiful way to remember this departed hero of Canadian art.

” In lieu of flowers, the family suggests the purchase of an artwork by a professional Canadian artist to be enjoyed in her memory.”

Here is the Globe obituary:

b. September 2, 1932 Montreal QC, d. September 4, 2012 Ile du Grand Calumet QC. Widow of Douglas G. Wallace d. March 3, 2001, survived by daughter Susan Wallace, grandchildren Ellen Crowder and Robert Jacobson, great- grandchildren Emma Grace and Jackson Wallace Crowder, as well as siblings John Long (Clare Breckenridge) Tony Long (Janet Yurston) and Dodie MacLean. numerous nieces and nephews, friends and colleagues from coast to coast. Predeceased by sisters Ann Sawyer and Catherine Black. Brenda died at peace in her home on Calumet Island after a wonderful three-day celebration of her 80th birthday, among those who loved and cared for her. No visitation or funeral as per her wishes. Cremation with Ringrose Funeral Home of Campbell’s Bay, QC. A celebration of her life will be held at her home on Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm. All are welcome: 449 Chemin des Outaouais, Ile du Grand Calumet QC. For directions call 1-819-648-2534 or email swallaceinto@gmail.com In lieu of flowers, the family suggests the purchase of an artwork by a professional Canadian artist to be enjoyed in her memory.

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5 comments

  1. Susan (Suki) Wallace says:

    Hey James,
    This is Suki (Susan) Wallace, Brenda’s daughter writing to you to say thank you so much for your kind words after her death. She spoke to me of you often, she LOVED you! Her time in London was difficult but she picked herself up and went on to many great things. I would love to tell you about them if you want to hear. Come on the 22nd if you are near, you are very welcome here. My best,

    Susan Wallace, with many thanks.

  2. james.reaney says:

    Thank you for writing. We are thinking of you at this time. I will RSVP regrets re Sept. 22 but will be sending good thoughts your way all along. Your mother did great things before & after her time in London . . . along with many others here, I was lucky her journey stopped at London for a few years so she could inspire us. I know, too, how much she loved you & her family.

  3. Christiane says:

    Brenda m’a offert son amitié. Brenda a partagé sa maison, ses conseils, son expérience et sa connaissance de l’art au Canada. Brenda est une grande dame. Elle me manquera toujours. Sincères sympathies à tous les membres de sa famille,
    Christiane Chassay

  4. Fiona Long Payne says:

    Thank you for posting this wonderful picture of my aunt. It immortalizes her beautiful smile and effervescent spirit in such a gracious way!

    Fiona Long Payne

  5. james.reaney says:

    As you know, Fiona, Brenda is missed by so many . . . she inspired us with her vision, courage, fire & yes that beautiful smile.

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