Heather de Veber (née McNeil)

Obituary of Heather Frances Evelyn de Veber (née McNeil)



                                                    December 27, 1939 - June 21, 2021

Heather passed away peacefully, surrounded by loving family on the summer solstice. Up until a few months earlier she had been her usual active self, curtailed somewhat by the pandemic which allowed her to spend more time with family. 


Beloved mother of Scott and Hilary (David), attentive and loving “Nana” to Gabriel, Heath and Celeste. Former wife of George de Veber, Nephrologist at Toronto Western Hospital. Steadfast sister to Leslie (Kinoshita) and Joanne (Knowlton).

Heather grew up in the Davisville area of Toronto and attended Davisville PS, Oriole Park Junior PS, and Forest Hill Junior PS. As a teenager, she moved to Lawrence Park, and attended Lawrence Park HS. After graduation, she went on to study at Huron College at Western University. 


Heather chose a career in teaching English and Drama. She started her career at East York Collegiate Institute and later earned a Master’s degree in English. She was an early supporter of the feminist movement and chose a career in teaching as it was one of the few professions where women’s salaries were equal to that of men’s. Her enthusiasm, style and innovative approach to teaching were appreciated by students, many of whom were exposed to the arts for the first time through her unique field trips.  Her love for teaching continued into her 80’s as she continued as a supply teacher at high schools in the east end.

Heather was always a feisty, energetic and stylish woman, and remained so right up until the end. She delighted in all the arts and was a frequent visitor and member of the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics. 

Heather lived in Rosedale until her children went to university and then moved to Riverdale. She enjoyed the dynamism and diversity of the Danforth and always looked forward to the Withrow Farmers’ Market. She had a love of plants and flowers and was a member of the Riverdale Horticultural Society. Many of her neighbours became good friends. 


Heather was a community activist and was passionate about protecting heritage buildings and preserving neighbourhood character. Her legacy includes helping to preserve the Rosedale subway station and adjacent park. She also spearheaded the installation of a stoplight for safe pedestrian passage across Pape at the subway station. Heather was a founding member of the Danforth Residents' Association. She was a great supporter of the TTC, the Toronto Public Library, TVO and other public institutions.


After moving to Riverdale, Heather continued to visit the Rosedale neighbourhood. She was a longstanding member of the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club where she regularly attended fitness classes. She was also active in the Rosedale United Church community where she attended services with her family. 


Heather will be remembered for her energy, sense of humour, vibrant style, generosity towards others and appetite for adventure.


Special thanks to the doctors and nurses at Princess Margaret Hospital and the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care. 


In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Birds Canada (http://birdscanada.org/in-memory).  All gifts in memory of Heather will go toward the Ontario SwiftWatch program.  Heather loved chimney swifts and participated in community monitoring of these swallow-like birds who always remain aloft.  Heather will be laid to rest with her former husband George in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.  Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.


May her spirit fly like a swift, may it always be around and above us, beautiful and strong, even though her feet no longer touch the ground.


Celebration of Life - Heather Frances Evelyn de Veber

Thursday July 29, 2pm

Rosedale United Church, 159 Roxborough Drive, Toronto


To attend in person: Please RSVP with your name, address, phone number and email (for the purposes of contact tracing only) to Cynthia, the Officer Administrator at Rosedale United Church, at churchoffice@rosedaleunited.org. Masks are required and physical distancing will be observed in the church building. We ask that you include the names of each member of your party.  In-person attendance will be limited to 120 persons.


To attend on Zoom, click on this link:



The Zoom room will open at 1:30pm.


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