In Tribute to Jack Quarter: A passionate and determined advocate for social justice

February 27, 2019

Jack QuarterJack Quarter, a beloved partner, father, uncle, friend, teacher and mentor, died at home on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, aged 77. Jack will be remembered for his kindness, thoughtfulness and sense of humour, as well as for his integrity and dedication to his academic pursuits, his students and colleagues. He will be sorely missed by Dale Willows, his partner of 33 years; his son, David; brother, Bob; niece, Emma; nephew, Paul; cousins, Marvin Weintraub, Rita Moskovitz (Larry), Doreen Sobel (Harvey, deceased), and their children and grandchildren; his extended family including Kevin Willows, Dennis Willows, Donna, Ernie, Cass, Clay, Michael Reimer, Iassen Reimer Pelev and Nasco Pelev; as well as several much-cherished lifelong friends. Sadly, Jack was predeceased by his daughter Zoey.

A professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto for 47 years, Jack was loved and respected by legions of graduate students, colleagues and staff members. He led research teams, obtained numerous grants, and edited and published widely on co-operatives and the social economy. In his autobiography he wrote: “I have been blessed by the students who have found me, and they have greatly enriched my life.” He also says: “A common denominator in my work is faith in a better way….” A passionate and determined advocate for social justice, Jack “walked the walk”, with generous support for numerous programs and non-profits that he encountered in his research.

Writing was one of Jack’s passions. Beyond his prolific academic writing, Jack dabbled in fiction. He wrote a radio play that was broadcast on the BBC, and he authored a novel, Life of Sammy Speer, that, despite denials, has a certain autobiographical flavour to it. Jack was not “all work, no play”, as those of us who enjoyed his razor-sharp bridge-playing skills can attest. We also observed in awe his energetic cycling during the summers along the spectacular Galloping Goose trail on Vancouver Island. He enjoyed music, especially the “oldies but goodies” and the bawdy songs of his (in)famous friend and longtime “partner-in-crime”, Hugh Oliver. Never one to be idle, Jack followed numerous sports on TV and read voraciously.

jack quarterIn November, after Jack had been diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer, upon request he “knocked off” a brief autobiography in his own inimitable style that is now the center-piece of a website launched to honour Jack’s life.

Visit to read what he wrote and view photos chronicling various stages and people in his life. A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Friday, March 8, 12-3 p.m. (formal program 1-2 p.m.) in the OISE library (ground floor), 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to OISE in his name or to the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care at Mount Sinai Hospital, which made it possible for Jack to spend his last days in the comfort of his home, with his loved ones.

Source: The Globe and Mail