Last month, the Beach neighbourhood lost one of its dearest residents. Maureen Renna Grange died peacefully on Oct. 15 surrounded by the people she loved.
Many may recognize her from her long strolls around the neighbourhood, where she enjoyed chatting with people and visiting the businesses along Queen Street East.
Maureen and her husband Anthony came to Canada from England in 1971, and after living in Deep River and the Bruce Peninsula finally settled on Kenilworth Avenue in 1976.
They raised two daughters, Kristanne and Jillian, in the Beach.
Shortly after becoming a mother herself, Maureen joined an active group of women in Toronto who were working as lay midwives. Over the next few years, she assisted the home-births of more than 100 babies.
This group also advocated vigorously for new regulations to recognize midwifery as a professional designation, and victory came in the early 1990s when the Ontario government enacted legislation to regulate midwives as health professionals.
In recent years, Maureen attended four more home births: Those of her beloved grandchildren; Rowan, Renna, Cameron and Claire.
After leaving the midwifery profession, she went on to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Criminology at the University of Toronto, graduating summa cum laude. This led to a job with the Children’s Aid Society in adoption disclosure, where she helped people learn about their birth parents.
Maureen finished her working career at Ryerson University, counselling students in the Continuing Education department.
Maureen was a long standing parishioner of St. John’s The Baptist Norway.
In 1995, she was involved in forming the East End Refugee committee (EERC) with other members of the church and other faith communities. This committee still participates in Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, which helps to sponsor and resettle refugee families from around the world.
Maureen’s kind and compassionate nature helped many families settle into new lives in Canada, and she greatly valued the life-long friendships formed.
Maureen always loved meeting new people and was happiest in a crowd getting to know others. She had a passion for helping anyone in need, and had a wonderful ability to make people feel loved.
She especially enjoyed her daily walks throughout her beloved Beach neighbourhood and chats with her many special friends. She always took the time to listen to others, and to express her love for them.
Maureen will be lovingly remembered for her keen sense of humour, her love of music, and for always being ahead of her time. She will be greatly missed by her family and by the community that meant so much to her.
Maureen’s family wishes to thank the Beach community for their love and support, and for the exceptional kindness bestowed upon her during her Beach walks. She loved you all.
— Written by Jillian and Kristanne Grange