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Kathi Sansom: Feb 13, 1940 - Jan 22, 2008

Kathi Sansom: Feb 13, 1940 - Jan 22, 2008

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Ottawa queers mourn top volunteer
In recent years, Kathi Sansom was best known as the ticket taker at countless queer events. Now, she'll be taking tickets at queer dances in heaven. She died of heart failure in hospital in the early hours of Jan 22, surrounded by many of those she loved. She was 67.

She leaves behind Eileen Murphy, her partner of 29 years. The pair met in 1978, becoming friends and lovers by the end of that year.

Sansom was vivacious and full of smiles — even while battling arthritis and and kidney failure. She spent the last year of her life on dialysis.

Sansom worked with Dignity Ottawa, an organization for queer Catholics, for 15 years. She volunteered for PFLAG, Pride, Egale, PTS, Bruce House, Lambda, The Gay Men's Chorus, and Capital Xtra events.

Later in life, she became a crusader for gay and lesbian seniors, representing our elders at The Council on Aging, the Kanata Seniors Expo, and other events.

"We couldn't imagine trying to put on our community events without Kathi and Eileen," wrote Capital Xtra associate publisher Gareth Kirkby in Oct 2006 after presenting Sansom with a lifetime achievement award. At the time, Sansom was hospital-bound and looking for a kidney donor.

Six months later, she stopped into Capital Xtra's office to pick up the award. She had the trademark sparkle in her eye and chatted and laughed with staff.

Sansom is survived by her partner, Eileen Murphy, and her three adult children from a previous marriage, Alan, Chris and Keith, as well as her granddaughter Jadie.

Comments

Mourning the Loss of a Very Courageous Woman
Kathi was one of our leaders & pioneers in her own special quiet & courageous way. How many of us can imagine how bold & risky it must have been for both Kathi & Eileen to enter into a relationship back in 1978. We take for granted the greater freedom we have now to enter into same-sex relationships here in the 21st century. But 1978? This was still years away from the revision to the National Charter of Rights & Freedoms to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Heck, it was even before the Charter itself. We all benefit today from the groundbreaking moves of people like Kathi & Eileen. I will miss Kathi's smile & cheerful demeanor, which I always saw in her at meetings at PFLAG, the Police Liaison Committee, the LG Expo, ... all those LGBT gatherings where we happened to run into each other. No matter what she was suffering at the time, she always had a smile for everyone. How many of us could do the same?My heart goes out to Eileen as she mourns her loss.
made us welcome
I met Kathi sitting at table in front of the door to PTS's annual general meeting in 2006. Kathi was accompanied by Eileen and a few others. She asked me if I would like a membership and i joined PTS that night. Kathi made me welcome with her quivering voice and inviting smile. I saw her few more times when she dropped into PTS after that. Mostly I ran into her at the door to some event or agm and at LG Ex. I would hang around and talk with her. She always wanted to know how I was and you got the feeling from her she really wanted to know. She always seemed to pull out a cookie for me, now that's a person who knows how to do effective outreach. Many will know her far better than I do, will feel her loss a great deal. I will always remember her for the very kind and genuine welcome to Ottawa she extended to me. Eileen may take some comfort in knowing many will miss Kathi's smile and warm embrace. I will.
Whant a kind person
Kathy was very kind and made everyone feel welcome. I met Kathy over 25 years ago at Dignity. She was a friend to both gay men and lesbians and treated everyone like a person. She was very inclusive in her approach to others.
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