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October 11, 2022

The Honourable Phyllis “Marion” Boyd of Inverhuron, died peacefully at her home, Oct. 11, 2022, at the age of 76, supported by her loving husband, Terry, dear friend, Joseph Addley, and family. Predeceased by beloved daughter, Christina “Tina,” who died in 2017 after a brave struggle with MS. Marion is fondly remembered by her siblings and their children: sister, Sheila Bauer, and her sons, Gavin, Steve and Richard; sister, Marg, and her husband, Grant Black and their daughters, Carolyn, Stephanie and Hailey; brother, Dave, and his wife, Lin, and David’s daughter, Valery, and son, Brian, and all their families. Also remembered by Terry’s family: sister-in-law, Pat, and her son, Scott; brother, Ken, and his wife, Anne, and their sons, David, Kevin and Stephen, and all their families; and by her large extended Addley/Conahan family, led by Patricia “Pat” Schram, and all Marion’s cousins and other relatives. Predeceased by her parents, Bill and Dorothy Watt; Terry’s parents, Irving and Marian Boyd; her brother-in-law, Clive Boyd, and beloved daughter, Heather; and Joseph’s “Pop,” Ray Schram. Born in Toronto, March 26, 1946, Marion began her calling as an organizer for change in grade school when she rallied her classmates in support of a safe crosswalk across a busy street and into the school grounds. There was no looking back! She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and history from Glendon College in 1968, and went on to be a feminist advocate for progressive social change. From 1968-73, she worked at York University as an assistant to the president and helped the university faculty win its first union contract. In 1981, after Marion, Terry and Tina moved to London, she worked as the executive director of the London Battered Women’s Advocacy Clinic, as a representative to the London Co-ordinating Committee to End Woman Abuse, and as a board member at the London Cross-Cultural Learner Centre which advocates for newcomers and refugees. In 1985, Marion, Terry, Tina and Joseph chose to be a family and bought a house together in Old South London where they so much enjoyed the vibrancy of life in Wortley Village with its shops, pubs and public library. All of their lives changed overnight when Marion was elected as a New Democratic Party (NDP) member of the legislative assembly at Queen’s Park. She was appointed to cabinet as education minister, then minister of community and social services. Concurrently, she was also the minister responsible for women’s issues. She was then appointed attorney general, the first woman to hold that position in Ontario. In 1993, Marion introduced Bill 167 that would have provided same-sex couples with rights and obligations mostly equal to those of common-law couples. The Bill failed on a free vote, but her attempts were vindicated five years later when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of those rights. Other difficult decisions as attorney general were not without controversy, but Marion stayed true to her values and convictions. After her time as an MPP, she remained engaged in public service. In 2000, she was appointed as chairperson of the task force on the Health Effects of Woman Abuse and authored its final report. In 2003, on the request of the premier, she took on the controversial issue of Sharia Law being applied in settling family disputes. Her overall conclusions were not adopted, but many of her recommendations were included in revised legislation. Marion remained engaged in public service as a bencher at the Law Society of Upper Canada and as an adjudicator with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. In 2011, the law society awarded her a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. York University did the same in 2017 at Convocation on the lovely campus of Glendon College, where Marion and Terry met as first-year students. It was the ideal setting for a celebration of her many accomplishments. She retired to her family’s lake house in Inverhuron where she enjoyed reading mysteries, gardening, hosting large deck parties and enjoying the camaraderie of family and friends — celebrations of several dozen guests were not uncommon. As she had in London at Siloam United Church, Marion remained very active at Kincardine United Church, as well as regionally and provincially, often gifting her mediation skills to congregations struggling with difficult choices. She chuckled when she was told recently that some of her admirers had nicknamed her the “Bishop of the Bruce.” Her faith was always the bedrock of her commitment to bettering the lives of those most in need of care and support. She undertook studies and became a Licensed Lay Worship Leader and then spent many hours planning services and writing sermons, very often with a focus on post-colonialism and the trauma inflicted on indigenous communities. Her commitment to truth and reconciliation was steadfast. Terry and Joseph are grateful to our family doctor, Helena Robinson, in London for her timely intervention on Marion’s behalf; to Joseph’s nieces, Peg, who advocated for Marion when she was in hospital in London, and Kim, who with her skills as a VON volunteer, came to the rescue to help care for Marion at home. And to Marion’s palliative care team led by friend, Dr. Susan Batten, and the Home and Community Support Team; and Care Partners, nurses Leigh Rae and Maddie, PSW Sarah, and the staff at Gordon Pharmasave. And her ministers, Gord Dunbar and Judy Zarubick, for the supportive visits to her home; and all Marion’s dear friends in the United Church whose prayers and notes with good wishes sustained her to the end. The prayer that Tina wrote for her own Celebration of Life is so perfectly penned for her Mom’s as well: “God of wisdom and compassion, who has given us another day to use our gifts and talents for the sake of others, inspire us with renewed commitment and energy. Help us to use our gifts and talents to help our fellow humans and to return those gifts to the Lord.” Marion’s life of service is a gift to be treasured. At Marion’s wish, cremation has already taken place. The family will receive visitors Saturday, Nov. 5, 2002, from 2-5 p.m., at the Davey-Linklater Funeral Home, 757 Princes St., Kincardine. A memorial service to celebrate Marion’s life will take place at Kincardine United Church, 721 Princes St., Kincardine, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, at 2 p.m., with Pastor Judy Zarubick officiating. Refreshments will be served in the church hall after the service. Interment at a later date. As with Marion’s wish, the family would appreciate donations in her honour to Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders; arrangements entrusted to the Davey-Linklater Funeral Home, Kincardine;