Blodwen was an early supporter of the Humanist Association of Canada (now Humanist Canada) and the last surviving founder of the Humanist Association of Ottawa (now Humanist Ottawa). My wife and I met Blodwen in the early 1980s. She was inspirational with her gentleness; her secular, humanistic worldview; and her tireless dedication to social issues.
Blodwen and her husband, Joe, were very deserving recipients of Humanist Canada’s Humanist of the Year Award (joining a list of other distinguished people). Blodwen was instrumental in organizing. She gave presentations at national and international conferences, with groups such as the American Humanist Association, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Center for Inquiry, and Humanists International (IHEU). You can visit her guestbook.
“Blodwen grew up in Montreal, a top provincial swimming and diving competitor in her youth, then moved to Vancouver and studied physics at the University of British Columbia, followed by a PhD at Imperial College, London, in the 1950s. Blodwen and husband Joe then worked as research physicists at the National Research Council in Ottawa, Blodwen retiring soon after to raise her children. (…) While raising a family, Blodwen was also a committed feminist and social activist, working for many decades in organizations such as Educating for Peace and the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League. Much of her work in these organizations is held in The Canadian Womens’ Movement Archives at Ottawa University. She and Joe were also active members of Humanist Canada, each serving terms as President of both Humanist Ottawa and Humanist Canada, and each were long-time editors of the Humanist in Canada magazine (now Humanist Perspectives). They enjoyed hosting many lively Humanist gatherings in their living room. (…) If you would like to donate in memory of Blodwen, we suggest you consider Ottawa Humanists.”
The last Humanist event Blodwen attended was at a summer BBQ in 2018, here in our backyard, when she was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Humanist Ottawa. I recall the late Dr Henry Morgentaler asking me rhetorically many years ago, “What would we do without Blodwen?”
Blodwen will be remembered for her thoughtfulness, encyclopedic knowledge, extraordinary perspicacity, perseverance, and kindness. We extend our sincere condolences to Blodwen’s family, friends, and humanist colleagues.
Read more about Blodwen here.