On the afternoon of December 27th, 2022, at Sechelt Hospital on BC’s Sunshine Coast, Dr. Dorothy Ellen Chunn, emeritus professor of sociology at Simon Fraser University, peacefully left this life in her 80th year, with her loving partner of more than four decades, Dr. Robert (Bob) Menzies, by her side. In the end it was pneumonia that mercifully delivered Dorothy from the protracted cruelties of Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Dorothy was predeceased by her parents, Allan and Margaret (Bain) Chunn, and by her beloved lab-ridgeback cross Leo. She is survived by Bob; by her siblings Lorna Tyler (Dave) and Russell Chunn (Maggie); by cousins, nieces, nephew, and great-niece/nephews dwelling near and far; and by a legion of dear friends, collaborators, colleagues, and former students across Canada and around the globe.
Dorothy was born in Winnipeg MB and came of age in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver BC. Following her graduation from the University of British Columbia, Dorothy taught history and English at secondary schools in Prince George and Gold River, BC. Thereafter she relocated to Ontario, earned her doctorate in sociology from the University of Toronto, and embarked on a long and distinguished academic career that spanned sessional term postings at St. Francis Xavier University and UBC; an adjunct appointment in the UBC Faculty of Law; and a permanent tenured position at Simon Fraser University where Dorothy taught for a quarter-century, first in Criminology, then in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, fast rising through the ranks to attain Full Professorship.
Dorothy was a prolific socio-legal scholar (with 13 books and countless articles/reports/reviews to her credit), a dedicated feminist, an inspiring teacher, a poised public speaker, a devoted daughter and sister, a steadfast friend and colleague, an adventurous world traveller, a lover of literature and film, and a joyful, tender, and tolerant life partner. Dorothy’s exceptional intellect was leavened by her abiding modesty, grace, humanity, and sense of fun.
For several years following her 2011 retirement from SFU, Dorothy continued to supervise graduate students and to pursue multiple research and writing projects in the valued company of longtime colleagues. She travelled widely and embraced life in her adored Roberts Creek home, stationed within a stone’s throw of the Salish Sea.
An incalculable debt is owed the caregivers, nursing staff, and medical practitioners – far too numerous to list individually – who did so much to ease Dorothy’s long journey through chronic disability and terminal illness. We extend gratitude, in particular, to the Vancouver Coastal Health and Nurse Next Door Home Care Services, to the Sechelt Medical Clinic, to the Shorncliffe Intermediate Care Home, and to Sechelt Hospital.
Donations in Dr. Chunn’s memory may be directed to any one (or more) of the following organizations: Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (Vancouver), Parkinson’s Society of BC, Sechelt Hospital Foundation, BC SPCA (Sunshine Coast). Amid continuing pandemic concerns and other logistical constraints, plans for a memorial gathering / celebration of life are deferred to a later date.