Eileen Murphy and Kathi Sansom

Eileen Murphy - d. 2015
Kathi Sansom - 1940—2008

“Eileen Murphy supported every committee in the community and was often our greeter at our monthly meetings,” said Gary Leger on Murphy's passing in 2015.

In a statement to Daily Xtra, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson described Murphy as a “kind person who lent a great deal of her time” to Ottawa’s “GLBT community for whom she was a key champion.”

He also pointed to the “important work” she undertook as part of the Ottawa Police Services’ GLBT liaison committee [Murphy was a member of the liaison committee since its inception], which helped to “ensure that our police officers and the public are more sensitive to the issues of GLBT people in our city.”

“Eileen was ubiquitous at events held by and for the GLBT community and I always enjoyed speaking with her and seeing that big smile of hers,” Watson said. “She will be greatly missed and her positive influence on our city will be felt for many years to come.”

Murphy’s involvement with Ottawa’s queer community commenced almost as soon as she arrived in the city in the late 1960s to attend Algonquin College.

In addition to co-founding Dignity Ottawa, an organization for queer Catholics, Murphy worked with an array of well-know community groups such as Bruce House, Pink Triangle Services, Egale and the Ottawa Women’s Centre.

In 2010, she was awarded Daily Xtra’s Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award, and she was grand marshal for the Capital Pride parade in 2012.

Local trans activist Joanne Law said Murphy was a “fixture” at fundraisers, the police liaison committee, SAGE, the Senior Lesbian Breakfast Club and many other organizations, where she was often seen in her signature outfit of suspenders, ball cap and striped shirt.

(excerpt from Xtra article by Marco Vigliotti)

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Kathi Sansom worked with Dignity Ottawa, an organization for queer Catholics, for 15 years. She volunteered for PFLAG, Pride, Egale, PTS, Bruce House, Lambda, The Gay Men’s Chorus, and Capital Xtra events.

Later in life, she became a crusader for gay and lesbian seniors, representing our elders at The Council on Aging, the Kanata Seniors Expo, and other events.

“We couldn’t imagine trying to put on our community events without Kathi and Eileen,” wrote Capital Xtra associate publisher Gareth Kirkby in Oct 2006 after presenting Sansom with a lifetime achievement award.

(excerpt from Xtra article by Marcus McCann)

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