19 Trinity Square
Mom, Grand, Grandy, Dr. Sutherland: Heather lived a remarkable life, one that she forged for herself with determination and grit. She died May 28th 2019 in Vancouver. Born April 24 1937 in Hamilton, Ontario, her early teen years were spent in Guyana with her missionary parents Rev BiF Andrew and Margaret Sutherland. Returning to Canada she was the epitome of a 1950’s era teenager: Class Valedictorian; Cheerleader; and Prom Queen. By 28 she was married to Hal Irwin with 3 children in tow, Drew Irwin (Laurie), Heather-Anne Irwin (Scott Russell) and Caitlyn Irwin (Caius St. George) and had been teaching for 10 years. With a divorce in the works, she started University while teaching full time and soldiered on through to earning a Doctorate of Education from UofT in 1986. Heather’s work took her from being an innovative classroom teacher to developing ESL and Multicultural programs at the North York Board of Education, to working in Washington DC as a consultant to the World Bank, United Nations, and US Agency for International Development She worked in over 25 different countries on 5 continents and made close and fast friends everywhere. She pioneered an e-commerce reading classes business in the tech boom. Upon retirement at 70 she moved back to Canada where she concentrated on molding her grandchildren, whether that be taking Andrew and Julia Irwin to concerts, traveling with Matthew, Allie and Patrick Russell or going to museums with Magnus and Fraser St. George.
Heather was a very spiritual person, which included 25 years of activist involvement at Holy Trinity Church in Toronto, All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington DC and within the Wiccan Reclaiming Community. In recent years she had to trade her swing dancing shoes for a wheelchair and lived at the fabulous Cavell Gardens in Vancouver.
Heather lived her life with joy, purpose and compassion – and pushed us all to be better and reach farther. A feminist superwoman doing it all, impeccably, with grace and gratitude. A Memorial Service will be held at The Church of the Holy Trinity, 19 Trinity Square, Toronto M5G 1B1, on Saturday September 21 at 3pm, 2019