Blaise Stewart Downey (March 4, 1936-September 15, 2012)

Farewell sweet Blaise, the gentle poet. You fought so hard for so long; your good, good heart simply needed rest. Our hearts are broken but they fill back up as we think of you, your boundless, magical imagination, your brilliant mind, your creativity, your lively wit, your bad jokes, your encyclopedic store of arcane facts, your artistic talents and your playful charm. You have left us all so much; an enormous appetite for life and the inspiration to live simply but generously, to open our hearts to new adventures and to respect others whatever their life journeys.

We carry your unique spirit in us always, Papa.

Right now, we’ll have to make do with the words of others and each say:
“Je t’aimais,  je t’aime et je t’aimerai” (Francis Cabrel, 1994)

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
(Mary Frye,1932)

Blaise leaves behind his daughters, Jennifer (Paul Gill) and Fiona; his son, Ian; and their mother, his one true love, Edna Kinneen; his grandchildren Kevin, Marisia, and their father Dean Barriere, and Maeve, and her mother Caroline Hudson; as well as his sisters Gay and Virginia; his brother, St-Clair; his many nieces and nephews, the children of Virginia but also those of his predeceased brothers, Mark (and his widow Maeve) and Nigel (and his widow, Margaret); and finally, his buddy, his barber and steady supporter, George Turski.
Thank you to all those who helped care for Blaise so lovingly over the past several years and who enjoyed him as we did.

A memorial service filled with music and art and poetry and storytelling – featuring his work and that of  others he admired (such as that J.S. Bach dude, for example) – will be held at a later date. His ashes will also be carried back to Ireland, his beloved birthplace, where the many celebrations of his life will continue.

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Filed Under: Cornwall, Ontario, Ottawa