In Memory of Margaret Dechman

This November, the Cape Breton University community experienced a great loss with the passing of faculty member, Dr. Margaret Dechman.

Margaret’s humour, compassion and generosity of spirit shone through her everyday encounters as well as her academic life.  As any of her students would tell you, Margaret was a supportive and inspiring mentor willing to go the extra mile (or even two) to help students find their way through whatever challenges they faced inside and outside the classroom.

Margaret lived her passion for social justice and the politics of exclusion.  Since she came to Cape Breton in 2010 to join the Anthropology/Sociology Department at CBU, Margaret has been a major contributor to the department, to the institution, and to the community. Her research in addictions has been instrumental in shifting perceptions and discourses away from pathologizing addictions and toward harm reduction and community-based support for people living with addictions. Her focus was to work in service to others, to support those living on the margins in the community. Margaret had an ability for compassionate understanding that made her a brilliant academic, community member, and friend to so many.  She used her position as a teaching academic to provide a voice for the voiceless and inspired both her students and her colleagues to follow her lead.

We are only just beginning to map the contours of the hole that Margaret’s absence creates in the everyday realities of all of the lives she touched. She embodied the qualities that so many of us aspire to possess; her kindness, compassion, understanding and passion made her a model teacher and an insightful and thoughtful researcher. Her bright smile and infectious laughter, coupled with her ability to find the humour in just about any circumstance, will be sorely missed.

Please join us in offering our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Margaret’s family, Jessica, Leah and Geoff Strople, whom she loved with all her heart. As we grieve this terrible loss together, let us look back on the wonderful things Margaret contributed to our community.