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Phyllis Joyce Manning Creighton




Phyllis Joyce Manning Creighton, MA – Died at 94, on June 25, 2024 at the Sunnybrook Holland Centre, Toronto.


Predeceased by her beloved husband and best friend, Philip Creighton, FCA. Loving mother of Lisa (Tim), Jane, Angus, and Stephen (Liz); grandmother of Margaret, Shannon (Kasper), Victor, Ross, Jack and Claire; great-grandmother of Lennox. Dear sister of Mary Blackstock and Carol Pollen.


She was born on February 8, 1930 in Toronto, youngest daughter of Harold Ernest Manning and Mary Adelaide Endicott.


Phyllis was educated at Bishop Strachan School (BSS), Trinity College, University of Toronto, and the Sorbonne. While teaching at BSS she met Phil, her future husband and life-long companion, and left to raise four children. From 1967 on Phyllis worked as a researcher and translations editor with the Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire Biographique du Canada, University of Toronto, eventually retiring at the age of 87.


Phyllis was a deeply religious woman, an intellectual with rigorous standards, charm, enthusiasm and deep commitment to the causes she believed in. At the center of her efforts, in her own words, were “how to make and keep life human; how to show love and respect for human beings and for Earth and to raise awareness that the moral is the practical.” She asked the difficult questions, found ways forward, and promoted solutions and strategies to achieve them. Caring deeply for her friends and family, she gave her time and attention generously.

A life-long volunteer, Phyllis started by teaching and advocating for natural childbirth, and continued at Planned Parenthood, the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, the Addiction Research Foundation, the Anglican Church of Canada, Project Ploughshares, Health Canada, the Conservation Council of Ontario, Science for Peace, the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, No Weapons in Space, the Canadian Pugwash Group, the Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Coalition, and Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, to name a few.


Phyllis was a member of the Raging Grannies for more than 20 years. The protesting, writing and singing of satirical songs against injustice and in support of peace, justice and care of people and the earth, in crazy hats and costumes, and with lots of buttons, came naturally for her. She loved to sing for people in public and in the church choir.


She worked actively to create peace in the world and an end to nuclear weapons, speaking, writing, presenting, and even travelling internationally to support these efforts. We remember her trips to Volgograd as a participant in the Toronto-Volgograd Initiative citizen exchange, and the nesting dolls and vodka toasts that followed. She also visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki twice to attend the peace memorial ceremonies and to speak at the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs.


In recognition of her contributions to the church over many years, Phyllis was made a Canon of the Anglican Church of Canada, a rare distinction for a lay person. She researched and wrote on many issues, served on committees and taskforces, attended synods, asked questions, made speeches, moved motions. She raised awareness of, and support for, social justice issues within the church.


Among many other achievements, Phyllis chaired the Ontario Mental Health Foundation and the Addiction Research Foundation’s clinical institute. She also received the Anglican Award of Merit for service to church and community, the Order of Ontario, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and was named a Bishop Strachan School Distinguished Old Girl.


Phyllis loved to dress in beautiful, colourful clothes and wear her many pieces of jewellery, particularly her sparkly earrings, brooches and rings. She was an active woman, swimming regularly, on the go from morning to late into the night. With a deep love of nature and the outdoors, she enjoyed the beautiful garden Phil created at their home.  Phyllis adored her Siamese cats: Nicholas, Natasha, Katrina, Alexander, and Oliver. There was always a cat perched on a chair nearby or in her lap.


Hosting and later attending family dinners and celebrations gave Phyllis joy. Every year she baked shortbread at Easter and a selection of cookies at Christmas. Phyllis enjoyed visiting with her grandchildren, and regularly looked after them when they were young. Photography was another passion. As was Paris, a city she lived in as a student, and visited with Phil.


She also loved the cottage in Muskoka. It offered wildness, peacefulness, the ability to get away from the phone and computer and the chance to swim daily and sail her beloved Laser. Being in Muskoka would often jump start her creativity; she would sometimes write passionately early in the morning, while everyone else slept. Those of us who went to Muskoka with Phyllis quickly realized there was an alternate reality where normal time and routines did not apply. We had to keep a straight face for the first swim at 12:30 p.m., lunch at 3 p.m., second swim at 6:30 p.m., and dinner after sunset. The rest of her family members rarely matched her enthusiasm, politely declining when asked if we wanted to swim in the early evening, when there were whitecaps and no sun at the beach. Muskoka was an experience for everyone, but soul fulfilling emotionally for Phyllis; she used it to recharge for all of her social justice, peace and environmental efforts.

Phyllis was loved and will be greatly missed. Many of her words live on in publications, and her voice can be heard in recordings and videos online. Phyllis once said, “I don’t expect I’ll give up questioning until my voice is silenced.” May her spirit of love and questioning, and the peace she wanted for the world, live on in us all.


Our sincere thanks to the many doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who provided such excellent care to Phyllis in the last few years, particularly the team at the Sunnybrook Holland Centre.


Visitation at Morley Bedford Funeral Home, 159 Eglinton Ave. W., Toronto (2 stoplights west of Yonge St.) on Sunday, July 7, 3-5 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held at the funeral home chapel on Monday, July 8 at 1:00 p.m. with a reception to follow.

No flowers please. Donations to a charity of your choice would be appreciated.


June 26, 2024 by morleybedford

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