One Beloved of God has Returned Home……..
Dear members of St. John’s Cathedral Family:
It is with immense sadness that I write to inform you that our beloved, Colin Clay, peacefully returned home to the loving arms of God on July 6th, 2022, with family by his side. Colin’s immediate family had made plans this past January to gather on the Canada Day long weekend to celebrate Colin’s 90th birthday (which he marked in April) not expecting that a recent diagnosis of cancer would make this family gathering so precious and cherished. Fortunately, the family were able to gather last weekend and filled Colin’s home with joy, love, laughter, birthday banners, red balloons, and their loving presence that brought Colin much comfort in his final days on this side of heaven.
Colin has been part of the lives of countless people over many decades and he has touched all of our lives with his grace, wisdom, intelligence, sense of humour, storytelling, commitment to social justice, vitality for life, priestly and pastoral ministry, his loyalty and his friendship to name but a few of the many ways we have been so richly blessed by his very full life.
Many of these lives (including mine) were touched by this dear soul in the years he was the Ecumenical Chaplain at the U of S. In addition to his connection to us as part of the Cathedral family, Colin’s ministry brought him in contact to many congregations over the years in the Diocese of Saskatoon, and he and his beloved wife, Pat (who died in 2007) were an integral part of the congregations of St. Stephen’s in Merrill and (the former) St. Timothy’s Anglican Parish in Saskatoon. But his life and involvements took him far and wide and beyond his own denomination and faith. He was for many years deeply involved in Multi-Faith Saskatoon and has been the good friend of Rabbis and Imams in this city for many decades. His ecumenical commitment also brought numerous associations and friendships with an array of Christian denominations in the city and the Province of Saskatchewan. He had a particularly close friendship with the founder of Saskatoon’s Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, Father Bernard de Margerie, whom Colin affectionately called his “twin” as they shared the same ordination day in 1958. Some of you may remember the glorious celebration we had at the Cathedral in June of 2018 when we jointly celebrated their sixty years of priestly ministry.
Colin was also deeply committed and involved with the Korean Veteran’s Association, and often shared stories with us of his time serving as a British Soldier in the Korean War. Many of which are recounted in his book: From Schoolboy to Soldier, the first of his six-volume memoir series. In fact, Colin had just completed his seventh and final volume, prior to his recent illness. We are grateful he has left his family, and all of us this legacy of stories and memories.
Earlier this year Colin was named Saskatoon’s Citizen of the Year by Saskatoon’s Global/CTV News and we were all so happy to learn of this news and to rejoice and celebrate this honour with him.
I am personally so very grateful for the friendship I have had with Colin for over thirty years. I was so blessed to have him as a mentor and a close friend. He taught me a lot about being a priest and a human being. I admired him and I loved him.
I am particularly thankful to our Cathedral Deacon, The Rev. Dr. Bill Crosby, who has been a faithful friend and invaluable support to Colin these past few years, having renewed a long-time friendship when Bill returned to Saskatoon after being away for a few years. His ministry of care and compassion to Colin, especially in recent weeks, were a great blessing and solace to Colin and his family.
We will all miss Colin’s faithful, pastoral, and joyful presence among us, and we will very much grieve his loss together as a community. We also rejoice that he has now returned safely home to the Lord he loved and served all his life and that he is now reunited with his beloved Pat in the Heart of God and all his ancestors who have gone before him.
While we are immensely grateful for Colin’s long and full life, we are mindful of the deep loss that is now felt by all who loved him particularly his closest loved ones. Please pray for his family, especially his children Philip, Sue, Alan, Gill, and their spouses/partners, Colin’s grandchildren, his first wife, Barbara, and numerous extended family members and long-time friends as they enter into this time of mourning and grief. May they know the comfort and consolation of our prayers.
Colin’s Requiem Service and Celebration of his life is being planned for Monday July 25th at 11:00 am at St. John’s Cathedral, with interment of ashes to follow at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church Cemetery in Merrill.
A notice and full obituary will soon be published on the website of Saskatoon Funeral Home and in the Star Phoenix.
May God’s holy angels bring Colin safely home into the never-ending love of God and into the company of the saints in light.
With love and prayers,
July 7th, 2022