Vivian Cummins was the understated core of her family. She died April 11, 2011 of complications from multiple myeloma at age 66.
Vivian was passionately loved by her husband Patrick; her parents Wendy and the late Professor George Dion; her children Alison (Mark Reijnders), Nora (David Agulnik), Bertha, Steven and Matthew; her grandchildren Audrey, Simon and Daphne Agulnik; and her brothers Paul (Betty) and Jeremy (Britta) Dion. She had an extended family and circle of colleagues and friends who will profoundly miss her intelligence, direction and wit.
From her birth in England, Vivian lived in and travelled to far reaching places in Europe, North America, Africa and South Asia, eventually basing herself in Ottawa.
Vivian married and became a mother at age 19 while still in university. She went on to complete her Master of Library Science at McGill. Until her thirties she made many of her own and her children's clothes and was noted for her style.
She was devoted to her work creating and maintaining educational resource centres which offered her the opportunities to contribute by building and coaching. The first resource centre she helped build was the guidance library at Concordia University in Montreal where she stayed for four years. Following that she created a reference library for primary school principals at the Teacher Resource Centre in Jos, Nigeria where she lived for six years. Most recently she developed the resource centre at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs of Carleton University in Ottawa where for over twenty years she was a highly-respected and valued source of professional encouragement for students and graduates alike.
Vivian was curious and non-judgmental while maintaining high standards for herself and others. She never complained. She had a voracious appetite for the printed word and for information in general. She derived pleasure from offering solicited and unsolicited advice which was always well-received (if not always followed) because of her wisdom and genuine interest in others.
Among Vivian's last words to her family were, "You need to look after each other," "It's hard," "I'm not afraid," "What to do?" and "It will all work out." These spoken thoughts reflect the whole of her life. She smiled — satisfied to be leaving on her own terms, with full understanding and not much fuss.