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In Memoriam

English


Alden Turner

Alden Turner

Associate Professor, Theatre, Film and English Departments (1986-2018)

Alden would have turned 68 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Because he was an intensely private person, his death on August 29, 2018 shocked and then saddened many in several communities -- in the English Department he worked in for over three decades, in the wider University community, and perhaps most strikingly, in the community of countless students he worked among. I’ve repeated “community” because it was one of Alden’s favorite words and named one of his most cherished ideals – to nourish and to be part of a community, be it of his wife and family, colleagues, faculty union, students, musicians, screenwriters, friends. It is largely forgotten now – which is regrettable -- that he also thought deeply about education and the Indigenous community in and beyond UW, and was instrumental in the early nineties in mounting a conference at UW that brought Ovide Mercredi to give a keynote address here.

Yes, Alden was fiercely private, but I believe that was because he treasured and held close the intimate connections – with people and with ideas – that he loved. These were precious to him, although he rarely said so. But he lived as if this were so. In the very best sense of the term, Alden was impassioned. And also warm, generous, gracious, and kind – old-world courteous -- although these were qualities, constant as they were, that backlit his intensity. Which might be why, several years later, he continues to be intensely missed. The Jewish saying is “May his memory be a blessing;” I can hear his distinctively sudden and sharp laughter and, maybe, the spirit, lightning quick, of the retort he’d have offered to that sentiment. Maybe he’d have preferred a memory afire. He has both.

(Written by Alden's friend and colleague, Neil Besner, Professor Emeritus, University of Winnipeg, May, 2021.)

For further information, please see:

Online Obituary

"Remembering Dr. Alden Turner" [PDF]