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Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Sunday, March 12, 2006 at 06:50:52 :

The Globe and Mail
Friday, March 7, 2003

OXTOBY, Willard Gurdon, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion at Trinity College, the University of Toronto. Widely respected for his contribution to the understanding of other faiths, Will contributed to and edited World Religions, published by Oxford University Press.

Born in 1933 in Marin County, California, Will graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University and earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, with post-doctoral studies at Harvard Divinity School. After working for two years in Jerusalem with the team translating and interpreting the Dead Sea Scrolls, Will received his ordination from the Presbyterian Church in California. In his more than 40-year career as a professor, he taught at McGill University, Yale University, the University of Toronto, and the College of William & Mary. At the U of T, he launched the Graduate Centre for the Study of Religion in 1976.

Will married Layla Jurji in 1958, and together they had two children, David and Susan Oxtoby. Subsequent to Layla's death in 1980, Will married Julia Ching, a renowned scholar of Chinese philosophy and religion, and recipient of the Order of Canada. Julia, the adoptive mother of John Ching, died in 2001.

Willard Oxtoby died of cancer on March 6 in Toronto. He will be greatly missed by his daughters-in-law Julie Scott and Helen Ching, by grandchildren Duke and Tessa Oxtoby and Erica and Michelle Ching, and by his brother Lowell and sister Louise and their families. Will touched the lives of many friends and colleagues, and will be remembered fondly by many former students.

The family will receive visitors at Morley Bedford Funeral Home, 159 Eglinton Ave. W., on Sunday, March 9 from 2-5 pm. Funeral Service will be held at Trinity College Chapel, 6 Hoskin Aveue , on Wednesday, March 12 at 3 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Willard G. Oxtoby, c/o The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation supporting Neurosurgery, 555 University Ave. Toronto, M5G 1X8 or online at www.sickkids.ca

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