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Obituary for David Pitt

David   Pitt
Dr. David George Pitt (December 12, 1921 - March 22, 2018)
Died peacefully on March 22, 2018 in his 97th year, Dr. David George Pitt, son of the late Rev. Dr. T.J. and Mrs. Florrie Pitt, husband of the late Marion (Woolfrey) Pitt, and eldest brother of the late Thomas Pitt, the late John Pitt and the late Jean (Pitt) Hill, and late sister-in-law Elizabeth (Woolfrey) Mosey and late brothers-in-law Frank Hill and John Hall. Bereaved by his death and enriched by his life and legacy are his daughter Ruth Pitt Francis and son Robert (Janet Miller Pitt); grandchildren: Pamela (Francis) Barron (partner Mitch Proulx and her stepson Sam ), Ottawa; David Francis (Sitka Polk), Halifax; Rosalind (Francis) Lawrence (Matthew), C.B.S.; Elizabeth, Emily, Jamie and David R. Pitt (Catherine Caldwell), St. John’s; great-grandchildren: Nicholas and Holly Barron; Brady, Abigail and Jessica Lawrence; Celeste and Nora Francis; great-great granddaughter Callie Hudson; sisters-in-law Ethel Pitt and Eleanor Pitt; brother-in-law Jack Woolfrey (Joyce), Waterloo, Ont., and sister-in-law Margaret Hall, Victoria, B.C.; as well, numerous nephews and nieces. Born in Musgravetown, Bonavista Bay, early in his career he was a teacher in Moreton’s Harbour and Twillingate after graduating from Memorial University College. He also attended Mount Allison University (B.A. Hons.,1946), and the University of Toronto (M.A., 1948 and Ph.D., 1960). Head of the Department of English Language and Literature at Memorial University (1970-1982) , Professor Emeritus (since 1993), and an honourary graduate of Mount Allison University (LL.D., 1989) and Memorial University (D.Lit., 2005), Dr. Pitt was a distinguished teacher and scholar, and biographer of the poet E.J. Pratt (The Truant Years, 1984; The Master Years, 1987) and co-editor (with Elizabeth Popham) of E.J. Pratt Letters (2017). He was also the editor of many literary texts and a church historian, writing Windows of Agates: The Life and Times of Gower Street Church 1815-1990 (two editions 1966 and 1990); he co-authored (with his wife) a history of Wesley Church in St. John’s (The Goodly Heritage, 1984) and more than a hundred biographies of ministers and missionaries for The Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador and The Dictionary of Newfoundland Biography, and has presented papers on Methodism in Newfoundland to a number of learned bodies, provincial and national. He also wrote Tales from the Outer Fringe (1990), a collection of short stories and a novella. He was active for many years as a labour arbitrator and served on numerous boards and committees including as Recording Steward of Gower Street United Church (1965-1975). He was a past President of the St. John’s Branch of the Humanities Association, a founding member of the Association of Canadian University Teachers of English (established in 1957), winner of the Canadian Medal for Biography (UBC) in 1985, and Newfoundland and Labrador Artist of the year in 1989. Thanks are extended to Dr. J.D. Vaughan-Jackson (retired), Dr. Maureen Gibbons (Major’s Path Family Practice), Dr. Blair Fleming (Agnes Pratt), Shirley Sullivan, his caregiver for several years, and to the nurses and staff at the Agnes Pratt Home for their superb service and care. Visitation at Barrett’s Funeral Home, 328 Hamilton Avenue, St. John’s, Thursday March 29th, 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m., and Friday March 30th, 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Funeral service will be held at Gower Street United Church on May 1st, 2018. No flowers by request. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Newfoundland and Labrador Down Syndrome Society, or Gower Street United Church. “Now cracks a noble heart. – Good night, sweet Prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” (Hamlet V.ii).
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