In Memoriam: Dr. Sharon-Dale Stone

Aug 29 2014

Dr. Sharon Dale StoneSharon was a warrior woman who cared passionately about social justice. On Thursday July 10, 2014, she died unexpectedly from complications related to surgery. The world has lost a much loved and respected being who described herself as a “feminist queer disabled buddhist wiccan.”

Many of you may have known Sharon as an activist academic. She was Professorand Chair of the Sociology Departmentat Lakehead University. In 1990 she edited, and contributed to, the path breaking collection Lesbians in Canada http://btlbooks.com/book/lesbians-in-canada. In 2007 Sharon wrote A Change of Plans: Women's Stories of Hemorrhagic Stroke http://www.cwhn.ca/en/node/40296. In May 2014 Working Bodies: Chronic Illness in the Canadian Workplace, co-edited with Drs. Valorie Crooks and Michelle Owen , was published http://www.mqup.ca/working-bodies-products-9780773543782.php. For over three decades Sharon raised awareness about chronic illness and disability, and advocated for better social policy. She was a critical scholar who joined forces with non-academic communities to bring about change. Poverty and economic disadvantage were central to Sharon’s work. In addition to her three books Sharon wrote more than 50 journal articles, book chapters, reports and reviews. In her younger days in Toronto she was involved with groups such as Lesbians Against the Right, the Toronto International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) Support Group, and the Toronto Lesbian and Gay Pride Day Committee. (The photo below is of Sharon and Dr. Gary Kinsman at the Lesbian and Gay Pride parade in 1982.) Sharon has been described as one of the few openly fierce PHD students of her era who carried the torch for gay academics. She also spoke out about racism and police injustices. Sharon’s scholarship and activism in the areas of lesbian rights, women’s rights, disability rights, injured workers rights, and especially disabled women’s rights, are her legacy.

In addition to Sharon’s remarkable activism and scholarship, she was an inspirational teacher and trusted mentor. Sharon was also a mother, an animal lover, and a devoted friend. She is dearly missed by the people who loved her. Those who were fortunate enough to be close to Sharon were truly blessed. She was funny, and sweet, and insightful, and humble, and very kind.  

Death was part of life for Sharon – she believed in focusing on the present and accepting what is. In times of difficulty she read buddist books and suggested others do the same. Sharon found Pema Chodron’s advice to lean into the hard points, as the road to freedom, immensely helpful. Perhaps this can help those of us who are struggling.  

There will be a celebration of the life of Sharon-Dale Stone in Thunder Bay, details to be announced. There has also been discussion of academic tributes in the future.

For more information please contact Karen Woychyshyn kwoychys@lakeheadu.ca or Michelle Owen m.owen@uwinnipeg.ca. Feel free to pass this email along.

 Stone and Kinsman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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