Passings: Daphne Schiff

Pilot, professor, adventurer, staunch family supporter – York University Professor Emerita Daphne Fane Dorothy Line Schiff lived a fortunate and adventuresome life.

Daphne Schiff

Daphne Schiff

Schiff passed away on Dec. 15, 2017, leaving behind her children, Michael Schiff and Sherry Schiff English (Michael), four grandchildren, James (Shavone), Kyla (Justin), Emmaline and Jaslyn English, sister, Kathryn (John), sister-in-law, Sandra Landau, and many nieces and nephews who remember her generosity of spirit and her commitment to her extended family.

Schiff was born in Edmonton, on her mother’s birthday, and raised in Toronto. She pursued studies in physics and chemistry at the University of Toronto, completing a master’s degree in an era when few women dared to venture into science. While there, she met her future husband, Harold Schiff.

Schiff worked at the National Research Council in Chalk River, Ont., before taking time off to raise a family. Upon returning to work, she accepted a position as assistant professor in natural sciences at York University’s Glendon College, developing skills in writing and directing movies aimed at delivering the excitement of science to students.

Mid-career, she developed a passion for flying. She earned her twin and commercial pilot licences and completed the challenging Round the World race (1994) and the Race of the Americas (Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina to Alaska in 1997). In later years, Schiff flew in western Africa with the humanitarian organization Air Solidarité, raising funds for community projects.

In 2005, she was recognized with an honorary degree (doctor of laws) from York University.

A celebration of her life will be held on Sunday, April 29 at 11am in the Albert Tucker Room (Senior Common Room), 317 York Hall (3/F), Glendon Campus. A light lunch will follow. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Daphne Schiff Fund in Natural Sciences to establish a scholarship at Glendon would be very much appreciated.

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