Staff, instructors and students in the Departments of Humanities and English in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies are mourning the sudden death, on Dec. 4, of their colleague and friend, Professor Douglas Freake.
Prof. Freake’s long career at York began in 1976 when he joined the University as a contract faculty member. He became a full-time faculty member in 1991 and received tenure in 1996. He taught for most of his career in the Division, now Department, of Humanities and the Department of English.
He served twice as Chair of Humanities as well as the department’s undergraduate program director. He enjoyed administrative work with all its challenges and even its politics. He also loved teaching on a wide range of topics including courses such as “Humanities for a Global Age,” “The Body in Western Culture,” “Shakespeare,” “Comedy,” “Milton,” “The Canadian Short Story in Context,” and “The Humanist Tradition: What is it? Is it over?”.
He was a devoted and skilled pianist, studying as well as playing with groups of musician friends, until late in life. A very “social” person, he was well-known among his friends over the decades for his wonderful Christmas parties and for smaller, more intimate dinners where conversation – often on pre-selected topics – flowed.
Only just recently retired, Prof. Freake will be remembered for his extension of friendly warmth, his singular wit and constant willingness in demonstrating empathic and compassionate care for others. He will be sorely missed by a great number of friends, colleagues and former students.