Loving and devoted husband, pianist, musicologist, administrator par excellence, friend to legions, natural born teacher and mentor to so many, lover of bourbon and trains, but above all a servant of music. He leaves behind his broken-hearted wife Heather; brothers Ken and Ross; sisters-in-law Carole, Jackie, and Sheryl; goddaughter Hazel; and countless friends across Canada and around the world.
He was an insatiable and enthusiastic concert goer, and he and Heather travelled the world together, planning trips to visit specific concert venues or to hear particular artists in signature performances. Both lovers of opera – they always enjoyed musical masterpieces together, whose love stories many would say rival that of Glen and Heather’s own. Glen might have irreverently pointed out here, that there was as much angst as love in an opera libretto, so perhaps an unfair comparison has been made, and then remind you to have him tell you a story about it some other time. There are few that know Glen and Heather that haven’t marvelled at witnessing their singular partnership and deep and enduring devotion to one another.
Glen unabashedly loved a wide range of music, and when asked about his favourite concerts over the years, he would mention Neil Young and Vladimir Horowitz in the same breath. It was this egalitarian philosophy that made him particularly proud of Wilfrid Laurier’s new MA and B.Mus degrees in Community Music, which were introduced under his leadership. In 1977, Glen graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Brandon University where he studied with his life-long mentor Lorne Watson. His MMus degree from Carlton University resulted in the first comprehensive study of the works and life of the Canadian composer S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté, which remains a standard reference work to this day.
In 1983, Glen attended the University of Victoria, graduating with a PhD in Musicology in 1986, and it was also there that he met his soulmate, Heather. They married in 1984 and moved to Thunder Bay in 1988, where Glen became the Founding Chair, Department of Music, at Lakehead University. During the ensuing decade, Glen realized he had an intuitive flair for administration (many would say he was genius at it), and his career trajectory changed accordingly. He next served as Dean, School of Music, at his alma mater in Brandon, Manitoba for 12 years.
In 2010, Glen and Heather moved to Kitchener, and Glen took on the position of Dean, Faculty of Music, at Wilfrid Laurier University. He remained in this position until earlier this year. During all this time, Glen was a tireless advocate for students and their musical education. He was a provocateur in his attempts to break down barriers in University music education, weighed decisions with gravitas and compassion, and always in the best interest of ‘his people’, the students. This drove his relentless pursuit of exceptional facilities for the students at Laurier. In recognition of Glen and his lasting impact on the university community, the Carruthers Practice Studios, a bank of high-quality, light-filled practice rooms will be named to honour him. Glen was also a very active in a number of national and international music organizations, and was especially proud to be appointed an honorary member of the Canadian University Music Society in 2016, and received the Arts Leadership Award of the Canadian Association of Fine Arts Deans in 2018.
A gifted conversationalist, Glen would jokingly start many a story with “I was born and raised in Winnipeg”, when in fact, he was fiercely proud of his prairie roots and of being Canadian. Wherever he landed, he soon became a familiar sight, walking to work in every city he lived in. He kept the tradition in his adopted hometown of Kitchener, his lanky form and instantly recognizable ponytail easily and often spotted during his twice-daily, 45-minute walk between Glasgow Street and the University. Glen was well known on campus for insisting that meetings not take place over the noon break so he could share lunch, every day, at home with Heather.
In their not-long-enough life together, the two shared an infectious glee in each other’s company, embracing the beauty of sights, sounds, tastes, conversations, laughter, friendships and (always) trains, with each other. Their connection was an exuberance of love, with more than enough go around, and their delight as a couple spilled over to all in their company, be it friends, colleagues or students. There is no word but heartbreak for Heather’s great loss.
Above everything, Glen valued the students he worked with over the years. He found young people interesting, inspiring, and exciting, and was never so happy as when he could chat with them about what they were up to, how things were going, or what they thought of a concert. Glen’s promenades around the music building meant the world to them – touch points that in turn inspired the students to strive to reach their own potential, through a kind word or thoughtful exchange with him. He always made time for anyone that sought him out – and he made everyone feel special in those moments – his genuine dedicated dean superpower.
There will be a celebration of Glen’s life when we are able to gather and make music together again. In the meantime, in place of flowers, Heather suggests those interested make a donation to the “Making Space for Music” campaign at Laurier, a project dear to Glen’s heart, or to an arts organization of their choice. Messages and condolences may be left at www.tricitycremations.com. Please visit Glen's obituary notice on Facebook.