It is with great sadness that we have recently learned of the passing of a long-time CAMMAC member, Maureen Carpenter. We’d like to extend our sincerest condolences to Maureen’s husband Graham, as well as all her family and friends.
Maureen died peacefully at the Civic Hospital on November 10, aged 83, having been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in early summer. As her illness progressed, she retained her strong spirit, remaining at home until the day before she died.
Maureen was born in the Rhondda Valley, Wales and her formative years were spent in nearby Cardiff. After high school she became a public servant, later meeting her devoted future husband Graham at a community dance. She selected Graham in the crowded hall because he could dance as well as she could! They were married in 1963. A joint sense of adventure led them to Canada in 1967 where Graham worked as a research scientist at the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories. Soon after, Maureen joined the personnel department at the laboratories. She was later admitted to Carleton University in a Masters program, graduating in 1982. They moved to Ottawa in 1981 where Maureen worked for twenty years on the development of national mortality and cancer data files at Statistics Canada, retiring in 2002.
Maureen came from a musical family and studied piano in her youth. After they moved to Deep River her interest in music developed and she and Graham joined the local Choral Society, singing major oratorios and taking part in Broadway musicals. In Ottawa, Maureen joined the Ottawa Choral Society (OCS) in 1983 and continued as an active member, serving on the Board in various capacities until the pandemic halted activities. She was also a founder member of the “Statistics Canada Choir”. In recent years she returned to her Welsh roots and sang with a group of Welsh friends in their native language. They performed at various local and provincial Welsh events and also gave concerts locally and entertained at seniors’ homes.
She was a very active participant and supporter of Canadian Amateur Musicians (CAMMAC), helping organize “Come Sing Messiah” for many years. The annual holidays at Lake MacDonald in the summer and Thanksgiving in the fall, were a highlight, where she and Graham were known for their “Happy Hour” gatherings as well as their enthusiastic participation in the many musical happenings!
Maureen and Graham Carpenter on a visit to Montréal.
“Maureen Carpenter was the first of my many honorary CAMMAC grandmothers. Maureen and Graham never talked down to me when I was a kid, always treating me as a friend and equal. Being invited to join their wine and cheese happy hour in the campground when I was 11 or 12 is an indelible happy memory—as is, much later on, singing Welsh hymns with Maureen at cabaret. Maureen and Graham were such a unit (how could one forget their matching CAMMAC sweatshirts and Tilley’s hats?), and I can’t imagine what Graham is going through. Maureen was such a genuinely lovely person, and we will all miss her tremendously.”
– Anastasia Llewellyn
“Dear, dear Maureen… always smiling, enjoying every moment (classes, choir rehearsals, activities, meals and of course, Happy Hours!) in good company, at Lake MacDonald. I call them “The Ottawa Gang”: they sing together, they travel together, and they don’t miss one occasion to join these two activities. How much fun they had taking part of Festival 50 in St. John’s, Newfoundland or attending the International String Quartet Festival in Banff.
I miss Maureen already. And I’ll miss those challenging conference phone calls with Maureen and Graham sitting in opposite rooms of their house, situated near a Lake in Ottawa. I look at the beautiful pictures taken at Maureen & Graham’s 50th wedding anniversary, where they invited me to play a short piano recital (Mozart, Mendelssohn, Chopin and Albeniz). Miss you Maureen…”
– Anne-Marie Denoncourt
Maureen will be greatly missed by her husband Graham, relatives in Wales, and her vast circle of friends – especially her CAMMAC friends. In accordance with her wishes, her ashes will be re-located at Cardiff Thornhill Cemetery (Wales). A musical celebration of her life is planned for the New Year. Donations are welcomed for the ALS Society, the OCS or CAMMAC.