In Memoriam: Prof. Patricia Carr Bruckmann

Posted: February 11, 2019

Dear Members of the Trinity Community,

I am deeply saddened to let you know of the death of Patricia Brückmann, a beloved member of the Trinity community. Please read on for Peter and Elisabeth Brückman’s note about their mother and the obituary that will appear in the Globe & Mail, which includes details about a celebration of Pat’s life. We extend our most heartfelt condolences to Pat’s family.  Patricia was a wonderful presence around the College and she will be sorely missed.


Mayo Moran
Provost and Vice Chancellor

We are sending out this email to all the friends and colleagues of Patricia Bruckmann who may not have heard the news of her death.

On February 6, 2019, Patricia passed away at the age of 86.  She had not been well for some time and spent the last 7 weeks at the St. Michael’s Hospital palliative care unit. She passed away peacefully and surrounded by people who loved her. The attached draft obituary will be posted in the Globe and Mail next week.

A celebration of her wonderful life will be held on Thursday, February 28, 2019 at Seeley Hall at Trinity College in Toronto.

Peter and Elisabeth Bruckmann

Obituary – Globe & Mail

Patricia (Pat) Carr Brückmann of Toronto, Ontario, Canada passed away at St. Michael’s Hospital on February 6, 2019, surrounded by her family. She was 86 years old.

Pat is survived by her two children Elisabeth and Peter, their partners Patrick and Lianne, and her grandson Owen.

Pat was born in Boston in 1932 to Patrick and Gertrude Carr. Her fondest memories of her childhood were of summers on Cape Cod with her parents and younger brother Jack. Her father was among the founders of Local 4 of the International Union of Operating Engineers (as it is now) and he was its president for many years. His honesty and tenacity were traits that Pat deeply admired and which would form a theme throughout her life. Pat attended Trinity College Washington as an undergraduate in English. It was back in Boston, on the steps of Harvard’s Widener Library, that she met John Brückmann, a student of medieval history. The two were married in 1958.

Pat and John moved to Toronto shortly thereafter. Pat received her MA and PhD from the University of Toronto. John became Professor of History at York University and Pat became Professor of English at U of T’s Trinity College where she focused her work on the literature of the 18th century. She was much admired by her academic friends for her fierce intellect, her generosity, and her gracious humanity. Pat was the author of many essays as well as her 1996 book A Manner of Correspondence: A Study of the Scriblerus Club. Her research took her often to England where she found a particular connection to Downside Abbey in Somerset and to Balliol College in Oxford.

In addition to the literature of the 18th century, Pat had many other literary interests including the works of the earlier Chaucer and Thomas More, as well as the modern Vladimir Nabokov. Later in life, her research focused on the American illustrator Edward Gorey. Pat was also a devoted fan of Casablanca (she saw it over 50 times) and, to the embarrassment of her children, was known to stand at attention in the middle of a crowded theatre when Victor Laszlo defiantly tells the band to “play La Marseilles”. Pat would reflect that common themes that emerged among her literary and cinematic passions were those of integrity, honesty, good humour, and a commitment to justice and equity, all traits she had admired so deeply in her father.

Pat was a gifted teacher. When asked, she would say that the key to teaching was that she always respected her students. The door to her office, and often her home, was always open which led to many lasting friendships that went far beyond academics. She delighted in her students’ successes in life and was a trusted support when challenges emerged. Pat will be missed by her many dear friends.

Pat always said, however, that her greatest achievement was being the mother of her two children Elisabeth and Peter who loved her very much.

A celebration of Pat’s life will be held at Seeley Hall at Trinity College on February 28, 2019 at 2:00 pm. Pat was a long time supporter of many charities and advocacy groups, but Nellie’s Shelter in Toronto held a particular place in her heart. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Nellie’s

Categories: In Memoriam