Obituary of William C. Graham
HON. WILLIAM CARVEL GRAHAM, PC, OC, QC
Born March 17, 1939, Bill died peacefully at his home in Toronto on August 7, 2022, after a series of illnesses faced with fortitude and dignity. Son of the late Ronald and Helen Graham of Vancouver, BC. Beloved husband and partner of 60 years to Cathy. Loving father of Katy and Patrick (Naomi). Adored grandfather to William, Claire, Thomas, Audrey, and Edward. Survived by his sisters Helen, Sheila, and Jane, and his cousin Carol Moffatt. Mentor to his many nieces and nephews and mourned by his innumerable friends in academe, business, law, politics, and the public service, across Canada and abroad.
Educated at Upper Canada College, University of Toronto (Trinity College), University of Toronto Law School, and Université de Paris. Director, Graymont Limited 1968-2002, 2007-2019. Partner, Fasken & Calvin 1967-1980. Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto 1980-1993. Member of Parliament 1993-2007. Chair, Standing Committee of the House of Commons on Foreign Affairs and International Trade 1995-2002. Minister of Foreign Affairs 2002-2004. Minister of National Defence 2004-2006. Leader of the Official Opposition and Interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada 2006. Hon. Col. Governor General’s Horse Guards 2011-2018. Hon Col. Canadian Special Operations Forces Command 2018-2022. Chancellor, Trinity College at the University of Toronto 2007-2022.
A lawyer and businessman who believed that to whom much is given, much is required, he served as chair and founding supporter of the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary and International History at the University of Toronto, chair of the Canadian International Council, chair of the NATO Association of Canada, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas, and Treasurer of Liberal International. A firm believer in the benefits of bilingualism to Canada and individual Canadians, he was an active and generous supporter of Alliance Française de Toronto, Union Internationale des Avocats, and French for the Future. Bill was made Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by the Republic of France.
For all his many achievements and honours, Bill will be best remembered by his family and friends for his zest for life, his sense of fun, his interest in people, his civility as a politician, his exceptional empathy, his modest nature, and his unfailing generosity. He loved big ideas and fine wine, history and horseback riding, mentoring and travel, the Canadian diplomatic tradition and our military. Above all, he loved his family as much as they loved him.
To the many members of the Graham clan, he was simply Uncle Bill, always admired and respected for his wise counsel and great kindness. He was equally devoted to Cathy’s family and the Curry family farm Glenariff, in the Hockley Valley, where his zeal for morel hunting, fishing, and diving into the pond was infectious. He delighted in taking his children from an early age on hikes into the mountains of Corsica, where he and Cathy had a second home, and he was often at his happiest there, whether swimming in the sea or entertaining friends. He shared his passion for Canada with his French grandchildren, who called him Pépé, on numerous trips across the country. He passed on to his youngest grandchildren his love of history and travel through funny accounts of his many personal adventures in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He believed in Canada and its contribution to global peace, security, and justice, titling his memoirs “The Call of the World.”
The family would like to express their gratitude to Dr. Marcus Butler at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. And a heartfelt thanks to Dilys Williams for her tireless patience and help over many years and to Brian O’Neil for his sage advice and long dedication. A private funeral was held at Trinity College Chapel, University of Toronto. A celebration of Bill’s life will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services in Regent Park, which was close to Bill’s heart. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.
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