Tell a story about Vivian




Your Story:
To the Cummins family I extend my deepest condolences during this difficult time. Vivian was a stalwart supporter of the Society for International Development's (SID) Ottawa Chapter for many years in her capacity as VP of Membership. During my years working with her, I always appreciated her candor, forthrightness and dedication. She was a strong asset to the team and well respected in the SID community. I last saw Vivian at my farewell gathering in January 2010 before I left for Afghanistan. I will never forget her smile and warm wishes from that day. It is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to her, but I know her legacy will remain forever fresh among those who had the privilige of knowing her.

Rest in peace Vivian,

Chris Braeuel


Added: April 13, 2011
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Your Story:
I am really sad to hear about Vivian. She was a great friend and we stayed in touch even after I graduated. I worked in the resource centre for Vivian in the summer of 2004 - learnt a lot from her especially her excellent organisational skills.

Found a couple pics from a Xmas get together that I had at my flat in 2004 that she attended - she had a great time with some of the other students. 

I also did a presentation on Hurricanes to her daughter's (Bertha) school class where she taught at Vivian's request. She also helped with a charity marathon I did for Meals on Wheels/Special Olympics Montserrat in 2006.

I am sorry I won't be able to attend the celebration of her life - she will certainly be missed.

Ishwar Persad (Montserrat)
NPSIA 2003-2005


Added: April 13, 2011
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Your Story:
Vivian had a gentle sense of humor but was also the master of understatement. Some of her more memorable lines, which stick in my mind are as follows:

On November—the gloomiest month of the year—“Yes, we could use more daylight, which is why I look forward to February.”

Returning the page proofs of Canada Among Nations (an annual review of Canadian foreign policy produced by the School) which she always kindly proof-read before it went into production and which she would return heavily edited and dripping in corrections with HB pencil. “Yes, I’ve gone through it. Just a few small suggestions.  Oh and by the way, who was your copyeditor?”

On the media saturation surrounding President Clinton’s scandal with Monica Lewinsky. “It’s so tiresome.  If only Americans could be a bit more French!”

On friendship. “I’m having lunch with Elizabeth, but why don’t you come along too.”

On cottages and summer. “I don’t need a cottage, I have my pool.”
On students.  "That's why we're all here."

Like Mrs. Ramsay in Virginia Woolf’s novel, To the Lighthouse, Vivian was such a central figure of affection in the School, a woman of great tolerance, kindness and someone who students viewed as a protector and a beacon. 

Like Mrs. Ramsay, she also had a somewhat rebellious streak and did not feel burdened by convention. 

I think Vivian also realized more than most that the beauties and pleasures of this world are ephemeral. Like Mrs. Ramsay, Vivian takes her leave from us far, far too soon. And we all find ourselves grasping for her unifying presence now that she is gone.

Fen Hampson


Added: April 13, 2011
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Your Story:
Vivian was an incredible woman in every sense of the word.

I remember meeting her for the first time a couple of years ago and being struck by her professionalism, kindness and fantastic attention to detail. She was always so energetic and enthusiastic. Her vigour was truly infectious!

I worked closely with Vivian at the Society for International Development (Ottawa-Gatineau Chapter) to which she was exceptionally dedicated for many years.

Vivian possessed real warmth. I remember running into her at the Carleton library once - when I was still a student - and having a conversation about SID-OG. We talked about work but when we were saying bye, she gave me her famous grin and winked at me. I will always remember that encounter. It just summarized so well who she was to me - a truly wonderful supervisor but also a real friend.

I will miss Vivian. A lot.

Hannah


Added: April 13, 2011
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Your Story:
Dear Patrick and family,

I am very sorry for your loss - as well as the loss to the rest of the world.  Vivian was precious.  I have been in the Cummins circle for nearly ten years, certainly not long enough to have as many stories or memories as the rest of you.  But the few that I have are powerful.

Here is one that is permanent -- in Brian's mind as well as on our "guest book" tablecloth.  As you might recall, I have a linen tablecloth that I ask people to sign when they visit.  Pat, Alison, Mark, Steven and Matthew - and Vivian - signed it.  When it was time to embroider the names, Will suggested I used bright blue for Matthew (he was wearing vivid blue sneaks at the time).  I asked Brian to choose an appropriate color for Vivian.  He looked through my threads and picked a magenta/red color.  "Why that?" I asked.   "When I was young, Vivian had a watch with a band that color.  And I thought it was the most marvelous watch.  I will always remember that about her."

So, Vivian's signature is immortalized in the color that captured Brian's heart.

There aren't appropriate words to say right now.  There are no explanations why a lady such as Vivian was pulled away.  She said it best though: We need to look after each other.  

We are all we have.
With love and hugs,Marianne
(Brian's Marianne)


Added: April 13, 2011
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Your Story:
A search for Vivian's name in my Gmail produces over a thousand hits. And these were just the emails that I kept! For two years, I looked forward to Fridays when Vivian would send out the weekly NPSIA NOTES. And after graduating, her JOB LIST emails were the first I would open, always in search of the next best opportunity. And Vivian never disappointed.

Having worked as a page in a library during high school, I respected Vivian's thoroughness, professionalism and tireless dedication to building the NPSIA Resource Centre. She helped us find books, scholarships, internships, jobs, and even held my hand a little the day that I (nervously) defended my course work. We wouldn't have made it through such a rigorous MA programme without her positive disposition and support.

In 2007, I was nearing graduation and worrying about producing the perfect CV; Vivian offered to look mine over. Her comments were honest and insightful and she even did extra research on the job requirements to help me target my cover letter. She always went above and beyond the call of duty and truly cared about her students – she celebrated our successes and lamented our disappointents.

I remember forwarding Vivian's CV input to my mom, prefacing it by saying: "Such a nice woman who runs the resource centre at NPSIA!! :-)"

My mom responded: "That was so amazing of her to do that for you..."

And I replied: "That's Vivian!"

Vivian was truly amazing. And she will be greatly missed.


Added: April 13, 2011
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Your Story:
I remember, many years ago, while attending a rather lavish wedding, Vivian turned to me and said: "If anyone can afford a wedding like this, they aren't paying enough taxes." I was stunned by the extent and wisdom of her thoughts. It was a casual lesson that has remained with me all these years. I think of Vivian as a wise, genuinely honest, universal scholar and role model. I am grateful to have known her.

With great fondness and warmth, Kakie


Added: April 13, 2011
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