In Memoriam: Joyce Sowby

Posted: January 17, 2022

Dear Members of the Trinity Community:

Joyce Sowby at Reunion in 2000 and in 1950

Joyce Sowby (left) at Reunion in 2000 and (right) in 1950.

We are saddened to let you know of the death of Trinity alumna Joyce Katharine Sowby on January 5, 2022 at the age of 94.

A graduate of the Class of 1950, Joyce kept her classmates connected as the Class Rep for almost two decades. She was also an Honorary Member of Corporation.

For Joyce’s many contributions to the College and wider university community: in 2001, she received the St. Hilda’s College Alumnae Association Long-Service Award, which is given to alumnae who graduated more than 50 years ago and who have made a visible contribution to college life; and in 2002, she received a U of T Arbor Award in recognition of exceptional and longstanding volunteer service.

As a former librarian, Joyce was naturally drawn to volunteer with the Trinity College Friends of the Library (FOTL), sorting books and assisting with the annual Book Sale (up to our last Book Sale in 2019). Joyce was beloved by many – I’ve shared some memories below.

Kate MacDonald, Acting Director, John W. Graham Library & Nicholls Librarian:

“Joyce was a long-time supporter of the Friends of the Library and enjoyed the Tuesday sorting group each week. For many years she was in charge of the Canadian Non-Fiction section. As a retired Librarian, Joyce really enjoyed working at the book sale. In earlier times, Joyce would organize a trip for the Friends to the Shaw Festival, which included lunch a local restaurant, sometimes a backstage visit or a visit to the Butterfly Conservatory. Joyce was a very loyal Friend, an interesting person with lots of stories about old Toronto and she also helped immigrant families. She also devoted much time to Saint James Cathedral where she attended services regularly. Joyce will be missed by her many friends.”

Kathy Girvin, past president, FOTL:

“We have lost one of our stalwart volunteers. Joyce passed away recently after a long life filled with generosity and dedication to her many communities, The Friends of the Library being just one of them. Joyce worked tirelessly throughout the year preparing for the Annual Book Sale. She was passionate about books and always wanted to get ‘top dollar’ for her Canadian non-fiction! For years each September she would spend hours on the phone, rallying volunteers to unpack and price the books in preparation for the book sale. There were years when she would work well into the night and fall asleep curled up in the Volunteer Room! Joyce was quirky, curious, loyal, open and kind. She will be missed.”

You can read her obituary in the Globe & Mail, which notes that a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date at the Cathedral Church of St. James.

We will dearly miss her. On behalf of the College, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Joyce’s family, colleagues and friends.


Mayo Moran
Provost & Vice-Chancellor


Categories: Alumni; In Memoriam