Wednesday, March 09, 2011

R.I.P. May

I met my friend May Cutler about 12 years ago. I used to play bridge with her on Monday nights at the Westmount Bridge Club. She was a great organizer of things. She was lovely, but tough as nails. We often chatted while playing bridge ( it wasn't such a formal bridge club). She and I shared a love of the theater. We bumped into each other in London at a performance of the Canterbury Tales, years after I stopped playing bridge on Monday nights. On my 40th Birthday my friends made me a video and showed it a surprise party. May did a lovely segment on the video for me. I was greatly saddened to hear of the death of this amazing lady. My deepest sympathies to her 4 sons and her other family and many, many friends. Canada is poorer for her loss.

May Cutler was a fearless Quebec book publisher who championed children’s literature in Canada with such classics as Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater and William Kurelek’s A Prairie Boy’s Winter. She was also the girl from the other side of the tracks, the outsider, who surprised everyone, including herself, when she became the first woman elected as mayor of the tony Montreal suburb of Westmount.

An author and playwright, Culter was 87 when she died on March 3. A memorial service will be held March 19 at Victoria Hall in Westmount.

“You didn’t mess with May,” said Westmount Mayor Peter Trent, a former adversary who became a friend. “She had three university degrees, and Irish cop for a father, and a chip on her shoulder that would make a Sumo wrestler tremble. She had no patience for pretence. She didn’t measure out her life with coffee spoons, but with brass buckets. She was an imposing woman, superbly turned out, with a flair for the dramatic.”

May Cutler from roy eappen on Vimeo.

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