Canadian Classical Bulletin/Bulletin Canadien des Etudes Anciennes

14.8.2      2008 10 06      ISSN 1198-9149


Editors/Rédacteurs: Michael P. Fronda (McGill University)
Renaud Gagné (McGill University)




Published by e-mail by the Classical Association of Canada/

Publié par courrier électronique par la société canadienne des études classiques 

President: Jonathan Edmondson (York University, Toronto)

Secretary/ Secrétaire: John Serrati (McGill University, Montreal)

Treasurer/ Trésorier: Annabel Robinson (University of Regina)



[1] in Memoriam, C. W. J. Eliot, 1928-2008

[1] in Memoriam, C. W. J. Eliot, 1928-2008


From: Jonathan Edmondson

Dear colleagues,

In case you have not heard, I must pass on the sad news that a former President of the CAC/SCEC, C.W.J. ("Willie") Eliot passed away Tuesday, 20 May 2008. A brief obituary appeared in the Globe and Mail, and the Jones Funeral Home in Sackville, NB, posted a fuller obituary on its website: (the full text can be found below this message.)

I have sent the following message of condolence on behalf of the CAC/SCEC to the funeral home to pass on to Mary Eliot and the Eliot

On behalf of all the members of the Classical Association of Canada/Société Canadienne des Etudes Classiques, I would like to send our sincerest condolences to Mary Eliot and the entire Eliot family at this sad and difficult time. C. W. J. ("Willie") Eliot was a devoted member of our Association and served with great distinction as our President from 1992-1994. He will be hugely missed by the entire Classics community of Canada, but his many contributions through his publications, his lectures and his multiple and wide-ranging activities in support of Classics inCanada over the years will live on long after his passing. At our recent meeting at the Université de Montréal, Willie's health was the topic of much concerned conversation. I am sure that all members of the Association will have many fond memories of Willie and we are all enormously grateful for all the efforts he expended on the Association's behalf. Our thoughts are very much his entire family at this time.

With our sincerest condolences,

Jonathan Edmondson, President, CAC/SCEC


C. W. J. Eliot

C. W. J. Eliot, C.M., B.A., M.A., Ph.D., D.C.L., D.Litt

C. W. J. Eliot, President Emeritus of the University of Prince Edward Island, died on Tuesday May 20, 2008, after suffering a stroke. He was 79 years old.

Charles William John Eliot, known to all as “Willie”, was a classicist, an historian, an archeologist, a philhellene, a teacher, a university administrator, and a tireless champion for Maritime heritage preservation. He was born in 1928 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, the eldest son of a Canadian officer serving in the colonial British Army.

After obtaining his undergraduate degree in Classics from Trinity College, University of Toronto, he took a brief detour and apprenticed as an accountant, but soon returned to his post-graduate studies.

Willie nurtured a lifelong love for the country, history and buildings of Greece. His doctoral work involved walking over most of the peninsula of Attica, literally in the footsteps of his mentor Eugene Vanderpool, looking for evidence of the boundaries between ancient states. It was in Greece the he met his wife, Mary, also an archaeologist and educator. Together they collaborated to excavate a cemetery at Lerna, just outside Corinth.

Willie and Mary returned to Canada in 1957, and over the next 30 years Willie built up a distinguished career teaching classics and archaeology at the University of British Columbia, the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, and Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. In 1985 he was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Prince Edward Island. He retired in 1995, and in 1996 he was named President Emeritus.

Willie was a passionate contributor to many committees and boards for the heritage and arts communities of Prince Edward Island. He represented PEI with the Canadiana Fund, was chairman of the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation, and used his expertise to help equip the official residences of Canada.

He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1993 for his lifetime of “significant contributions to the academic world, as well as to his local community.”

Willie was the devoted husband of Mary Eliot for 53 years, and Pater Familias to Charles, Sophia (d. 1963), Nicholas, Johanna and Luke. He had three siblings: Lorn, Jack (d. 1993), and Sarah. He had 11 grandchildren: Isobel, Henry, Adam, Matthew, David, Liam, Sam, Sophie, Jack, Harry, and Alexa.

Willie loved his home in Dorchester, New Brunswick and celebrated all major holidays there. Holiday meals were special to him: he enjoyed the presence of his many children and grandchildren around the table, carving the turkey and making brandy butter. A pianist with a wonderful tenor voice, he would play the piano and sing with enthusiasm early in the mornings, waking everyone in the house. In summer he would call for “cricket on the lawn”; and all present would have to play.

Willie was an avid sports fan - it is rumoured that during his ten years as President of the University of Prince Edward Island he didn't miss a single Panthers home game. His vast collection of proudly worn Panthers logo-wear strongly supports the rumour. A true Canadian, he loved to sing the national anthem whenever the occasion permitted, and at sporting events, you could always hear his voice leading the chorus.

A June memorial concert at the University of Prince Edward Island is being planned. In July his ashes will be consigned to the garden in Dorchester at an event for family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation. Condolences and memories may be forwarded to the Jones Funeral Home via


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