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March 8, 2021

Kincardine poet and playwright Catherine Macleod left us on International Women's Day (March 8, 2021), just as the Lake Huron sunset faded into night. “Renee” was born on a spring day, June 10, 1948, in Glasgow, Scotland. Her poems reflected her experiences as a feminist, mother, artist and proud working-class woman. She published two books of poetry, “Lessons Never Learned” and “The Telling Time,” and completed a third volume, entitled “Relate.” She was the author of three plays, “Glow Boys,” “Pandora,” and “Ferns;” and her autobiography, entitled “Waking Up in the Men's Room: A Memoir,” was published in 1998. Catherine co-wrote “Grass Scapes: Gardening with Ornamental Grasses” with her husband, Martin Quinn, and edited “The Kincardine Scottish Pipe Band: The First Century” with author Basil McCarthy. In 1997, she received the Ontario Federation of Labour Arts and Culture Award. Her poem, “Lilacs,” was nominated for the 2004 Canadian National Magazine Award for poetry, and that same year, she was honoured with the Woman of Distinction Award for Grey and Bruce counties. In the 1950s, Catherine immigrated to Canada with her mother, Catherine, her father, Robert, her sister, Janis, and her brother, Robert. Her poetry was heavily influenced by her experiences as a working-class, Scottish immigrant. As a young woman, she left Kincardine for Toronto and the Yorkville hippy scene. There, she discovered Leonard Cohen, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan and Joanie Mitchell, and found her own voice as a feminist, socialist and artist. Catherine was a founding member of the Women's Press and the Mayworks Festival of Arts and Labour. She worked for many years as a communications specialist in the Toronto labour movement and helped establish the Ontario Federation of Labour's Cultural Award. After her retirement, she pursued her love of Canadian history at Western University and earned her Master’s degree. In 1992, Catherine left Toronto and returned home to Kincardine to marry her high school sweetheart, Martin Quinn. She considered it the best decision she ever made and everyone who knew them, agreed. In the final years of her life, she was very ill and Martin cared for her beautifully until the end. Catherine shared her sharp Macleod sense of humour with her son, Grayson, whom she loved dearly; and she was very proud of her grandsons, Keahan and Casey. Catherine was an adopted mother to Katheryne Schulz and a loving mother-in-law to Janet Teibo, both of whom will miss her terribly. She had a loving relationship with her stepson, Joe Quinn, and his wife, Joanna. She loved her sister, Janis Shewfelt. and her niece, Taryn Kraft (Dan); and her brother, Robert Macleod, his wife, Sue, and their children, Robbie (Sita), Joel (Candice) and Greg (Sarah). She appreciated the love and support of her in-laws, Nancy and Tim Potter, and their children, Christopher (Katelyn) and Natalie; Helen and Mike Riggin; Judy and Dale Baer, and their children, Angela Tolton (Paul), Sara Davies (Chanse) and Robert Tolton (Cara Beth); and her niece, Olivia Freer (Dustin). Catherine wanted to live with grace and to die with dignity, and she managed to do both. "Hold fast," she told us, and we are trying, but nothing will ever be the same without her. A celebration of life will be held at a later date when Catherine's loved ones can mourn together in person. In lieu of flowers, please send your donation to the Women’s House Serving Bruce and Grey (Kincardine), or the Huron Women’s Shelter (Goderich).