Saturday, June 19, 2010

A sorry day with the passing of Cynthia Brouse

[This post has been updated] Even though many of us knew it was coming, the death of Cynthia Brouse is a profound loss. Her many friends and admirers, her students, her many, many readers will all be stricken by no longer having this vibrant, determined and immensely talented woman among us. She had been in palliative care in Toronto for some weeks as her struggle with cancer neared its end. 
Cynthia was well-known for her teaching of fact checking and research at Ryerson University, for her writing of prize-winning features large and small, for her work as copy editor. She quite deservedly won the Outstanding Achievement Award of the National Magazine Awards Foundation last year and accepted it bald-headed with the chutzpah we had come to associate with her. 
When I know more about funeral or memorial arrangements, I will post it here. [UPDATE: I have heard from a longtime close friend that her family's initial thought is that they would like to postpone a memorial service for friends and colleagues until mid-September, which would give enough notice to people who need to travel from out-of-town.]
Meanwhile, if you want to know the kind of woman she was, read her poignant and often funny blog, The Clothesline Saga, which chronicled her treatment, her reflections on her own mortality and which many of us hope will find more concrete form in a book lest it vanish like lamplight in the mists of the blogosphere. 

[UPDATE: Charles Oberdorf points out some aspects of Cynthia's life I didn't include above and I'm happy to include them:
In addition to the contributions D.B. itemizes, I would add her two terms as coordinator of the Magazine Publishing program in Continuing Education.

Her impact on the program can hardly be overstated. Among other things, she added depth to our teaching of both fact checking and copy editing by dividing what had been one course into two; she brought the Magazine Production course into being, and in many ways she raised teaching standards throughout the program and greatly improved our reputation in the industry.

Her second term was just before me (she left to become M.E. at Saturday Night. She was an invaluable help during my first two or three years in the chair, and was still helping me out with great advice -- and good humour -- as recently as a few months ago, while flat on her back with illness.

The Magazine Publishing Program is very much the poorer for her passing.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's hardly a day that goes by when I don't quote Cynthia internally or out loud as I'm trying to edit.

She was a remarkable woman and a great teacher. I'll miss her dearly.

2:04 am  
Anonymous Barb Righton said...

Cynthia and I worked side by side years ago closing Maclean’s. She had a unique ability to sleep sitting up and pointed at her computer. During the long lulls between “boards,” she had the sense to cat nap while I paced around trying to stay awake. She was as sensible as she was tenacious. I am sorry she is gone.

7:51 am  

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