April 11, 1940 – May 31, 2021
At home in Burlington, ON, and wrapped gently in love’s arms, David took the final steps on his journey. Born David William Elliott to Gladys Elliott of Port Albert, Newfoundland, David was the chosen son of Lena Morrow and Charlie Gagan. He leaves behind a “charming family of really opinionated people” who loved him beyond words, including his wife Rosemary and their four children, Sarah (George), Jamie (Halcyon), Rebecca (Blair), and Abby.
He was also deeply loved by his grandchildren Madeleine, Alexandra, Henry, Charlie, Van, Gus, Sam, and Leo; his sister, Andrea Brugess (Roger); his brothers Robert Slack (Linda) and Phil Slack (Yvonne) and sister Marilyn Slack (Peter). David will also be lovingly remembered by Dave Guthrie and Allison Barrett.
David grew up in Owen Sound and attended Western University (BA and MA) and Duke University (Ph.D.). He began his career as a Canadian social historian in the history department at the University of Calgary (1966-1970). From 1970 to 1992, he was a member of the history department and served ten years as Dean of Humanities at McMaster University. From 1992 to 1995, David was Professor and Vice-President Academic at the University of Winnipeg.
He ended his career at Simon Fraser University, where he was Professor and Vice-President Academic and Provost (1995-2004). David is the author of The Denison Family of Toronto 1792-1925; Hopeful Travellers: Families, Land, and Social Change in Mid-Victorian Peel County; A Necessity Among Us: The Owen Sound General and Marine Hospital, and with Dr. Rosemary Gagan, For Patients of Moderate Means: A Social History of The Voluntary Public General Hospital in Canada. But David was proudest of all of his family and his happiest moments were with them at the cottage at Sauble Beach.
“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive”—Robert Louis Stevenson