Kathy Shadie (five feet of fury) is not with us.

I read Kathy’s obit (which she wrote) out loud to Kea. The woman died too young, and her husband Arnie is left picking up the pieces. I am sharing the whole thing.

Following a tedious rendezvous with ovarian cancer, Kathy Shaidle has died, wishing she’d spent more time at the office.  Her tombstone reads: GET OFF MY LAWN! She is relieved she won’t have to update her LinkedIn profile, shave her legs, or hear “Creep” by Radiohead ever again. Some may even be jealous that she’s getting out of enduring a Biden presidency. Kathy was a writer, author, columnist and blogging pioneer, as proud of her first book’s Governor General’s Award nomination as of her stint as “Ed Anger” for the Weekly World News. A target for “cancel” culture before the term was coined, she was denounced by all the best people, sometimes for contradictory reasons. Kathy did not lead a particularly “full life,” her existence having been comprised mostly of a series of unpleasant surprises. Her favourite corporeal pleasure was saying, “I told you so,” which she was able to utter with justification multiple times a day. A bookish movie-buff and agoraphobic homebody, as a child Kathy (as per the Roz Chast cartoon) “always preferred the little couch ride on the merry-go-round.” Yet Kathy managed to acquire a reputation for mouthiness, a side effect of her bullshit allergy. Contrary to cliche, Kathy did not conduct herself with particular “grace,” “dignity” or “courage” in her final months. She didn’t “bravely fight on” after her cancer was pronounced terminal. All she did was (barely) cope, and then only with assistance from her generous employer, and some energetic and selfless friends whom she’d somehow managed to acquire over the years, much to her astonishment. Of course, the greatest of these was her stalwart beloved of over 20 years, Arnie, with whom she is now in the ultimate long distance relationship. They can all finally catch up on their sleep. Donations can be made to the Dorothy Ley Hospice, Toronto.

Kathy Shadie, Five Feet of Fury.


Mark Steyn has worked with Kathy Shadie for a long time. She was an award winning poet, and he notes that she was not an introvert grouch, but charming sociable, and a deeply thoughtful person. But he quotes this, and having been to Hamilton, Ontario, I can confirm.

Having declared all my adult life that I’d never be caught dead back in Hamilton, Ontario, long-time friends are either amused or confused by my decision to be buried in my hometown. One month before I learned I had cancer, I was overcome with a weird urge to take care of unfinished business: My husband and I finally got our wills drawn up, for one thing. And way back in the previous century, my (now late) mother had purchased some burial plots in a Hamilton cemetery for $50. There was one left. I contacted this establishment and learned that not only could I still use it, but so could my husband — and my cat. What a deal! We drove an hour down the highway to do the paperwork. The funeral director asked me why I’d moved away thirty-five years earlier, and I gave my standard answer: Didn’t he know that if you’re born in Hamilton and regularly use words with more than two syllables, they walk you to the city limits on your nineteenth birthday and point you towards Toronto?

Kathy Shadie