Today’s Poll

Finucan, Stephen

(May 14th, 2023)

Stephen Finucan had spent a year and a half fighting cancer  before he gently passed on May 14th, 2023.  As a dear friend once described, his understated humour, his warm and gentle laughter and smile, his keen political spirit, as well as his need to read and learn never waned.  He kept it all strong for both himself and his family.  He approached every day with a calm reverence for life, as well as a steady focus on the task he had at hand – to get better, to live.

Born July 17, 1968, in Campbellford, Ontario to Josephine Finucan, Stephen grew up in Bowmanville, Ontario with his siblings Christine and Mark, Stephanie, Shannon and Scott, his stepdad Bradley as well as periods of time living with his Auntie Margaret and Auntie Marge.

With siblings, he would spend hours exploring the ravine behind their Bowmanville home, building tree forts, swimming in the creek in summer, and tobogganing happily through trees when snow had fallen in winter. Hours were spent selling ice cream and popsicles on a Dickie Dee bike, a calling in keeping with Stephen’s comedy.  With friends, Stephen made life-long bonds rooted in meaningful conversations and lively experiences.

Moving from Bowmanville to Mimico to complete high school, Stephen began to foster a love for writing.  He later graduated from Trent University with a BA in Literature followed by a Masters in Creative Writing from The University of East Anglia.  He was an instructor at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, as well as a frequent contributor to the Toronto Star book pages. 

Stephen’s fine-tuned literary sense has been recognized throughout the years.  He received the Humber School For Writers Prize in 1997 and was named Write Magazine’s New Writer of the Year in 2000. His first book of short stories, Happy Pilgrims, was shortlisted for the Upper Canada Writer’s Craft Award. His novel, “The Fallen”, was chosen as one of CBC Canada Reads Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels Of The Decade and received a starred review in The Quill and Quire.  Stephen’s short stories and essays have, to date, appeared in numerous magazines: Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, and The Walrus, to name a few.  All the while, Stephen was a treasured member of the English Department at Martingrove Collegiate, to both colleagues and students alike. 

Stephen met his partner, Alcmene, in Toronto.  Shortly after their first few dates, they became inseparable, spending just about any time away from work together.  They had lively conversations, laughed endlessly, and simply loved being around one another.  In each other, they found a best friend and partner for life.  The loss of their baby boy, Herman, in 2013, would spark a need for a life change.  After celebrating the births of Moero in 2013, followed by Leutha in 2017, the family of four sold their house and drove across the country and started anew in BC’s interior where Stephen continued his much-valued teaching at L.V. Rogers Secondary School.

The girls were so loved by Stephen, and he admired them so.  In both girls you can see endless amounts of creativity, the most genuine laughter, and an extraordinary sense of humour all a clear reflection of their dad.

In the last few months leading to Stephen’s passing, he worked on building a library of books, new and old, to pass on to Moero and Leutha. Including authors such as Margaret Laurence, Enda O’Brien, Zadie Smith, Colson Whitehead and James Baldwin, kept Stephen’s will strong.

He found strength in imagining the girls reading those books and growing into accepting, independent, and well read women.   

In the same way that Stephen used books to guide his thinking, his imagination, and his spirit, please take this time to support your local book store and read a book in his honour.  And in that, find him, and remember him in your happiest memories.