A York University Faculty Association staff member and York alumnus, Brett Cemer (MA ’96), passed away on the evening of July 13 following a valiant struggle with brain cancer. Brett joined the YUFA staff during the strike in 1997. He earned a masters in social and political thought from York in 1996.
“His contributions to YUFA were countless. His clarity of thinking and astute judgment is reflected in many publications and collective agreements and his was the inspiration for the handbook,” said Penni Stewart, former YUFA Chair (1998-2001). “His prodigious memory prevented many a slip during the negotiations of 1999 and 2001 and no one could forget his collaborations on the daily bulletins throughout the CUPE strike of 2000.”
Brett loved backpacking, hiking and climbing and faced his illness with the same determination and courage that he brought to his mountain climbing. He was also a very talented photographer and his pictures of the backcountry are truly extraordinary. Until quite recently he continued to climb at a Toronto club and kept up his daily run. He did his best to keep life full. In April, he was able to experience a three-week pilgrimage back to his beloved Alberta mountains, where he was often “on top of the world” after a climb. The trip was a bittersweet closure for him.
Born May 11, 1967, Brett died peacefully at home surrounded by those he loved. A service of remembrance is being planned for the end of August; details will be forthcoming.