ALLAN GRAHAM SANGSTER
B.A. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Wales)
1927 – 2018
With great sadness the family announces his death on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at North York General Hospital at the age of 91, after a battle with cancer. He was comforted by the presence of members of his loving family. Allan was the eldest son of Beverly Sangster and Bessie Graham of Toronto and brother to John Duncan (deceased 1964). He was the loving husband of Mya Moelwyn-Hughes for 53 years, and cherished father of Huw Sangster, Rebecca Sangster and Andrew Sangster (Nameera Chagpar) and a delighted grandfather to his two granddaughters Nylah and Ariya (Nameera and Andrew).
Educated in Toronto, Allan received a B.A. in Honour Science (Biology) from the University of Toronto in 1950, following which he was employed in Toronto, first with Colgate Palmolive Peet Ltd. And then with the Federal Food and Drugs Department. After entering the teaching profession, he became Science Head, first in Oshawa (Central Collegiate, 1952 – 56) followed by Etobicoke (Burnhamthorpe Collegiate, 1956 – 68). Obtaining leave, he obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Wales (Bangor) in Agricultural Botany (1967). Allan next moved to the University level being appointed Assistant Professor at York University in Toronto in the science programme at Glendon College in 1968. Over the next 31 years he developed and taught courses in the Environmental and Health Studies Programme, retiring as Professor in 1996, teaching part-time until 1999.
Allan attached considerable importance to scientific research, maintaining an ongoing research programme in collaboration with colleagues at York and at other institutions. At various times, Allan’s research was involved with agricultural plants, cancer research and palynology. These studies focused on the utilization of minerals in plant tissues especially upon the uptake and use of silicon by cereals. Other topics included paleobotany and the fossilization process (taphonomy) of plant structures, such as phytoliths, which are used in the interpretation of paleo – climates and the early history of agriculture. These studies resulted in the publication of over 50 scientific papers and book chapters. Allan especially enjoyed the opportunities to share the studies with the students in his high school and university programmers.
Beyond this, Allan’s main concern was the well-being of his family. Many happy summers were spent at the family cottage on the shores of Lake Huron at Southampton. In winter, skiing was a favourite family pastime, as was nature hiking in summer. Allan and Mya enjoyed travel through Canada and the U.K., both as family ventures and later, as cruises. Allan also served as a volunteer at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Plant Herbarium. In earlier times, he enjoyed membership in the Islington Golf Club and the Boulevard Club of Toronto.
He will be missed by all who shared his company. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (www.natureconservancy.ca) or a charity of your choice.
A funeral service will be held at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville Avenue) on Wednesday, September 12th at 1:00 p.m. followed by a reception in the Rosedale Room. Private interment. Condolences, photographs and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.