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Sad to report the death of Patricia Dumas in Ottawa on March 28, 2013. Patricia was DG Communications in DOC in the 80s and with Cancom as DG Communications from 1995-2001.
April 6, 2013
In Ottawa, on March 28th, 2013, Patricia succumbed to the after-effects of a cerebral hemorrhage, reuniting with her parents, Angelina McKoy and Johnny Dumas, her sister Evelyn and her brother John Michael. Her extraordinary vitality and her generosity will continue to inspire those who were lucky to know her, and particularly those she loved above all, her children Louis, Jean-Michel (Marie-Maude Fleury Labelle) and Julie Paré, their father Paul, her dear grandchildren Olivier, Mia, Azèla, Léonie, Alexandre, Samuel, Éloïze and Dalia, her sisters Carmel (Daniel Rioux) and Teresa (Claude Couture).
A natural achiever, she was successful in the performing arts before becoming a remarkable political journalist and then attaché. After retiring from politics, she became a professional translator and was in the midst of completing her doctoral degree in that field when she was struck down at a shocking speed, to the dismay of her many friends who will miss her lively and authentic companionship.
Family and friends are welcome to celebrate her memory on Tuesday, April 9th, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Salon of the National Arts Centre. Her remains will be put to rest next summer in the Gaspé, in the village of St-Georges-de-Malbaie where she was born.
Published in The Ottawa Citizen on Apr. 6, 2013
Patricia Dumas: 1943-2013
Journalist, activist ‘fought for equal rights her whole life’
By Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen April 25, 2013
Patricia Dumas, Quebec-born actress, journalist, press secretary and translator, helped to found Equal Voice, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women running for elected office.
An actress, journalist, political staffer and translator, Patricia Dumas lived her unconventional life at high intensity and top speed, deeply engaged politically and socially while raising three children as a single mother. Even as she passed the age when most people retire, Dumas didn’t slow down. Just a few months ago, at the age of 70, Dumas was still translating tens of thousands of words a week while pursuing her PhD at the University of Ottawa, being a doting grandmother and making plans to travel to Europe this year. Her sudden death on March 28 has left her friends and family in shock.
“She was always burning, burning, burning, this big streak of light,” in the lives of those around her, said her eldest son, Louis Paré. “She was always super passionate about everything, and just go, go, go. Just looking at her work you would get exhausted.”
Dumas was from the tiny Gaspé village of St-Georges-de-Malbaie, one of four sisters born to a French father and Irish mother in a home where political debate and both official languages flourished. Dumas married artist Paul Paré at age 18, fresh out of convent school. They had three children in a few short years, but Dumas chafed against the idea that she should stay at home. Instead, she studied theatre and opera at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique in Quebec City and acting in Montreal. After the marriage ended, Dumas moved to Toronto and worked for Radio Canada and Le Devoir covering Ontario politics, while also writing and performing in plays in the city’s French theatre scene and seeing Louis and twins Jean-Michel and Julie through their teens.
It was in the press gallery at Queen’s Park that former Toronto Star reporter Rosemary Speirs became friends with Dumas.
“She was a quintessential Red Tory,” said Speirs. “She had the romantic desire to improve things and a lot of sympathy for ordinary people and their lot in life, but she was also very realistic, a lifelong Progressive Conservative.”
Dumas became press secretary for Roy McMurtry on his leadership campaign in 1984. The following year she moved to Ottawa to work in federal politics. Dumas was press secretary or chief of staff for several cabinet ministers, including Flora MacDonald. She later became chief of staff to Lucien Bouchard, a job she held when the legendary Quebec politician resigned from former prime minister Brian Mulroney’s cabinet over the implementation of the Meech Lake Accord.
Dumas moved into the federal public service in senior communications positions, followed by a stint in the private sector doing communications and government relations for Cancom. In 2001 Dumas started her own translation business. Around that time, she joined Speirs and other political and media veterans to start Equal Voice, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women running for elected office. Dumas was part of the original steering committee and later the driving force behind an online campaign school for women.
The work with Equal Voice was a natural extension of her own experience at home and in politics, said Louis. “She fought for equal rights her whole life. It started when she left home at 18, and later she always maintained she had to be stronger than a man to survive with three kids by herself.”
Dumas loved to travel. In 1989 she completed the 10-month National Defence College for senior federal officials, an elite — and now defunct — government program that took participants across Canada and around the world to study Canada and its place in global affairs. Later, when Jean-Michel became an actor and a clown, Dumas travelled to see him perform all over the world.
“She encouraged me every second of my life and didn’t stop till the end,” recalled Jean-Michel.
Dumas was generous to a fault, and known in her family as “Grandmaman Gateau” for her habit of bringing piles of gifts to her grandchildren.
“When she had all of nothing, Patricia was still inviting you over for a bottle of wine and deep discussions about politics and life and lots of laughs,” said Speirs.
After getting a masters in translation in 2005, Dumas maintained her base in Toronto and then began a PhD at the University of Ottawa in 2009. She was in Ottawa when she fell ill in early March and was diagnosed with leukemia. Three weeks later, she was dead following complications from a cerebral hemorrhage.
Dumas is survived by her three children, two sisters and countless friends. In May, there will be a tribute to Dumas at the Théâtre Français de Toronto. In July, friends and family will bury her ashes in St-Georges-de-Malbaie.
“She did what she wanted to do all her life,” said Jean-Michel, “and most of it was for others.”
Décès de la journaliste et traductrice Patricia Dumas
Publié dans l'Express, l'Hebdo des francophones du grand Toronto, le 2 avril 2013
Ancienne journaliste à Toronto,
Patricia Dumas est décédée le 28 mars à l’Hôpital Civique d’Ottawa, à l’âge de
69 ans. Elle souffrait de leucémie et fut emportée par un accident vasculaire
cérébral. Elle devait soutenir, à l’automne, une thèse de doctorat en
traductologie à l’Université d’Ottawa.