Rosemount High School - Dedication Page

In Memory of....

Colleen Sheridan - 63's Grad


Collen was a good friend to all, and was student council president. Her Rosemount history is well documented in the 1963 yearbook. May her memory be eternal.
Copy of the obituary follows:

SNIPPER, Colleen Died, age 63, January 23rd, 2010 after a courageous 8 year battle with cancers. Beloved daughter of Josephine Sheridan and the late James Sheridan of Vancouver, B.C.. Adored daughter-in-law of the late Don and Shirley Snipper. Extraordinarily devoted wife to Jon and mother to Sarah. Best possible sister in-law to Chick, Nancy and Heather Snipper. Fabulous aunt to Lanie and Kalen. Much loved by her Vancouver family (uncles, aunt, cousins and their children); and by her husband's extended family (cousins and their children). She will be sorely missed as well by her many friends. A valued and respected Parks Canada employee until retirement. A hostess extraordinaire. Passionate about what she loved, which included the arts, the outdoors, her family and friends, her dog "Buddy", and above all, her beautiful daughter Sarah. Many thanks to the caring staffs at the General Hospital Cancer Wing (5 East) and the Palliative Care Unit at the Elisabeth Bruyere Hospital. There will be a Memorial gathering in honour of Colleen, Sunday, January 31st, 2010 from 12:30 to 3 pm (Eulogy at 1:30 pm) at the Kelly Funeral Home Somerset Chapel, 585 Somerset Street West (Centretown). Refreshments will be served. In lieu of flowers In Memoriam donations to charity of choice or to the COLLEEN SNIPPER MEMORIAL FUND, (helping to support the arts, the needy and the environment) care of the Community Foundation of Ottawa; cards available or for info see


Thanks and Best Regards

Abdallah Soueidy

Class of 1963

Colleen Snipper had a honeyed personality that drew people to her as if by magic. The only child of Jo and Jim Sheridan, she had a happy childhood in Vancouver. The warmth, generosity and hospitality characterized by her parents was the code by which she lived.

At McGill University in 1965, Colleen met Jon Snipper. The chemistry between them was immediate. They were married in 1971 and settled in Ottawa, where Jon practised law and Colleen joined the civil service.

Her first job was as a historical resource planner assessing potential heritage routes for a new federal-provincial program of Parks Canada. On a trip to the Avalon Peninsula investigating its possibilities as a route, she visited the studio of artist George Noseworthy, who was so taken by her that he did a pen sketch of her on the spot and inscribed it, “To Jon, You sure have one wonderful gal!”

Colleen eventually became a senior manager at Parks Canada. As a boss, she gave of her time unstintingly and delegated wisely, winning the loyalty and affection of her staff. But a steel core lay beneath her grace and humour. During the acrimonious Public Service strike of 1991, for instance, she was a firebrand on the picket lines and protest marches.

She cared passionately about the environment long before it was fashionable, and when her own cottage paradise in the Gatineau Hills was threatened by a proposal to create a nearby regional dump site, her rowdy disruption of a political meeting resulted in the local mayor calling in the police.

Her determination and caring were never more evident than in her vigilance and protectiveness after she learned that her daughter Sarah had life-threatening allergies.

Colleen had an enormous appetite for life. She had a rollicking laugh and loved to dance. She cooked and baked like a pro. She adored flowers and – though she couldn’t carry a tune – music of all sorts, especially opera.

During her first illness and then its recurrence seven years later, she faced pain and, in the last few months, the knowledge of certain death bravely and without complaint. Three weeks before she died, she was transferred to a hospice. With the help of powerful narcotics and the outpouring of love from her family and friends, she continued making plans for the future: to watch the Olympics on television and to be wheelchaired home for lunches in spring by Jon. This was not to be. She died surrounded by loved ones, to the end outward looking and engaged in the lives of others.

Elaine Kalman Naves is Colleen’s best friend, and Jon Snipper is Colleen’s husband.


MONTREAL - In September, my best friend underwent neurosurgery to remove a tumour from her spine. In November, after chemotherapy had failed, she pressed her oncologist for a time span. "We can never be sure," he equivocated.
"Err on the side of generosity."
"Three to six months."
I reminded her that the doctor had said no one could be sure. How many stories have we heard of people outliving such prognoses and proving doctors wrong?
She looked at me with her huge expressive brown eyes. She reached for my hand, squeezed tight and gave a slight shake of her head.
"This is only half a life."
She depends on others to help her move and perform the basics. Pain stalks her, toys with her, is kept at bay only by the continuous flow of the strongest narcotics.
I wish with all my might that she live. I am also appalled at the scale of her suffering.
Someone said to me about the two of us, "A friendship like yours is a miracle. It doesn't come often in a lifetime, if ever."
I am blessed with other beloved friends whom I dearly cherish, but the arc of this particular friendship is unique.
It begins in Rosemount High, in 1960 when I was 12 and she 13. She was a newcomer to our school in Grade 9. I eyed her with suspicion. The previous year, I had staked out for myself a reputation as the class brain. But she wasn't just smarter than I, she was drop-dead beautiful. And she had a honeyed personality that drew others to her as if by magic.
I couldn't hold out against her. Before the year was out, I was her devoted sidekick. We continued to compete for marks, but for the rest I was content to remain in her shadow. She won the school's public speaking contest, shone in the drama club, was president of the student council. I can honestly say that I felt unalloyed pride in her accomplishments.
At McGill, we were inseparable, taking all the same courses, eating lunch together, taking the bus home at the end of the day. The arrival of boyfriends on the scene didn't get in the way, but rather deepened the bond between us as we exchanged confidences of the heart. She was maid of honour at my wedding; a few years later, I was the "matron" at hers. By then she was living in Ottawa, and we spent hours on the phone with each other, in the days when long distance meant big bucks.
The meetings over subsequent years blend in my mind into a tapestry of good times. Passovers at my house in Montreal. Iconic visits to her summer cottage in the Gatineau, so woven into the fabric of my children's lives that they now pilgrimage there without me. New Year's Eves at her winter chalet, with potluck dinners and congenial company.
And then there were the hard times. The breakup of my first marriage, when she championed me fiercely. Surgeries - hers and mine, when we were at each other's side, looking after one another. After my thyroid operation, I remember her tender hands shampooing my hair, making sure my bandaged neck didn't get wet.
As the song says, the days dwindle down to a precious few. These days we still spend hours on the phone. I travel to Ottawa to see her at every opportunity. It fills me with joy to be with her. She is so full of life, so curious about the world, so engaged - so much still like the teenage girl she was when I first knew her, the girl to whom everyone was drawn as if by magic. Chockablock with visitors, her phone constantly ringing, at the hospital she has charmed all the nurses, orderlies and cleaning staff.
The doctor must be wrong. He doesn't know her. He doesn't understand the wellspring of her vitality.
We're both too young for this. It's supposed to be the September of our lives, not the December of hers. I can't accept that I won't have her forever.
I will have to. Her cancer can't be beaten. She's in palliative care.
But she's locked in my heart forever. That will never change.
The rose of Sharon bush she gave me three years ago will bloom in my garden in all the Septembers to come.
Elaine's friend, Colleen Sheridan Snipper, took a dramatic turn for the worse shortly after Elaine wrote this column. Colleen died peacefully on January 23, 2010.



I met Colleen in Grade 10 in Mrs. Arthurs' chem class. She was bright, fun and unaffected. She was also very smart and the next year was elected student council president. My best memory was being her date at Wayne Johnson's party! I lost touch with her and hoped to re-connect some day then found this.

I am so sad to see this. Only the other day I was trying to find her on Facebook. She was as fine a person as Elaine says in her eulogy. I'm proud I was friends with Colleen, she was special. Love you, Colleen.

John Knight
Friend and classmate


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