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From: "Bill Cook" <>
Subject: [CAN-NS-OBITS] Obituary - McFee, Oonah
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 23:10:21 -0500


The Toronto Star, December 23, 2006

McFEE, Oonah

OONAH McFEE At Toronto on Tuesday, December 19th, 2006.
Oonah was born in Newcastle, New Brunswick on September 11, 1916 to a Scottish mother
and an Irish father. Oonah spent her first years on a bleak isolated stretch of the
Nova Scotia coast where her father was in charge of the Government Wireless Station
near Canso. The family moved to Ottawa, and after attending the Normal Model School
and Lisgar Collegiate, Oonah joined the staff of Radio Station CBO of the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation. There in the Chateau Laurier studios of CBO, she met Allan
McFee. They married in the summer of 1941, and moved to Toronto. Oonah discovered
herself and was discovered as a fiction writer, first in a creative writing course
taught in San Miguel, Mexico, and second by Dennis Lee, who saw her first short
story, published in the 1971 issue of the University of Texas Quarterly. Following
Lee's observation that each of her stories read like the beginning of a novel, she
immediately started out on the work that became Sandbars . Published by Macmillan of
Canada in 1977 to the praise of Margaret Laurence and the Canadian writing community,
Sandbars made the bestseller list, winning the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and
a subsequent place in the New Canadian Library. A series of health problems first
curtailed and then prevented completion of her intended sequel to Sandbars , a World
War II novel which she titled Silent Eyes . Oonah was predeceased by her dear husband
Allan, in 2000, and by her beloved brother, Radio Officer George Browne of the RAF
Ferry Command, who died over France in 1943. Her passing is mourned by her especially
dear brother Cecil Browne and his wife Susan, of Niagara-on-the-Lake and by her
nephew George, of Toronto. Oonah has requested there be no service, and that her
ashes be scattered in the Gatineau River. Oonah leaves with loving words for Evelyn
Cotter, Dennis, Nicole, Zoƫ and Tommy, and Sean, for their part in making my life
the joy that it was. Funeral arrangements entrusted to The Simple Alternative,
Pickering Chapel.



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