Canadian activist June Callwood dies at 82

Saturday, April 14, 2007

June Callwood, Canadian Journalist, humanitarian, and activist, died today of cancer at age 82.

"The Casey House community is deeply appreciative to the Frayne family for sharing their precious mother and wife with us for so many years. "We send them our love and deepest condolences."

—Jaime Watt, the chair of the hospice's board of directors.

Callwood, born June 2, 1924 in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, first became a journalist for Brantford Expositor and later for The Globe and Mail, she began doing freelance journalism for magazines including Maclean's, hosted several television shows for the CBC and Vision TV, and wrote 30 books. In 2003, she was diagnosed with cancer and refused treatment so she could continue her activism, but just this month the disease began to worsen until her death this morning at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital. Just last month a biography entitled June Callwood: A Life of Action was written by author Anne Dublin.

Callwood left a significant legacy of activism and community service. She helped to found the Toronto AIDS hospice Casey House, the youth hostel Digger House, Nellie's hostel for women, PEN Canada, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation. Callwood was also a past spokesperson for the Campaign Against Child Poverty.

Casey House (June Callwood) is named after her son, Casey Frayne, who was killed in a motorcycle accident involving a drunk driver, in 1982 at the age of 20.

In 1978, she was made a member of the Order of Canada, she became an Officer with the Order of Canada in 1985, and became Companion in the year 2000. In 1988, the Order of Ontario was awarded to her and in 2004 a street in Toronto was named after her. Her last interview was on CBC's The Hour hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos in 2005.

Callwood is survived by her husband, Trent Frayne, her two daughters, Jessie Frayne, Jill Frayne, and her son, Brant Frayne.


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