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Fisher © 2015 - Published 2015-05-25 »

Philip Street


Cartoonist

Gail Van Varseveld, 1947-2014

Gail Van Varseveld — my friend, former colleague, and webminder of philipstreet.com (among others!) — died on October 9, 2014, of congestive heart failure.

I got to know Gail about 25 years ago, when I became the designer of Compass: A Jesuit Journal, a bi-monthly magazine with a decidedly ecumenical and progressive bent. Gail was the “desktop publisher”, which in those days meant typing as much as typesetting. Already dependent on a scooter — Gail had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since her teens — she brought her indomitable spirit (as well as her keen eye) to the tiny Compass office. A few years after Compass folded in the late Nineties, we worked together again on Voices Across Boundaries, another journal. She was never shy to question my design decisions if they didn't make sense to her. Always her eye was on the overall success of the venture.

Gail was always intrepid with technology and expanded her business into web design. Naturally I turned to her when I needed help launching philipstreet.com. I owe her a lot.

Despite her health issues Gail seemed to be a force of nature, and her death came as a shock to her many friends. I will treasure the memory of her feistiness, her wry humour, her passion for justice in matters large and small.

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