It is with great sadness to announce the death of Hugh Oliver, a long-time OISE staff member who was the Editor-in-Chief of OISE Press for many years, and was very much the spirit of OISE.
Hugh began at OISE Press in 1969 and served as its Editor-in-Chief from 1982 until his retirement in 1995. He was not only the editor of the Press and its journals and newsletter, News and Notes, but also the star of OISE’s social life, organizing bi-annual musical satires called CROISE, CROISIER, CROISIEST, and CROISE CUM LAUDE between 1980 and 1986, the star singer of the OISE band (subsequently named the Foolish Things), and the chief instigator of an annual cricket match at OISE. In addition, he was an accomplished songwriter and crooner, sculptor (some of his works still being at OISE), poet, and star of the award-winning documentary, The Ballad of Hugh.
His books of poetry included the Canadian Limerick Book, the American Limerick Book, and several serious volumes, including one focused on the Holocaust, A Fog of Grey Voices. He also authored Hoblyn: A Novel in 3 Parts and the book, the Art of Aluminum Foil. In a 2012 interview with NOW Magazine, Hugh made no secret about wishing to be buried next to the poet Geoffrey Chaucer in Westminster Abbey, but alas accepted a more modest fate at St. James Cemetery in Toronto.
Hugh Oliver was a very special part of the OISE legacy and his passing fills us with great sorrow. We extend our sincerest sympathies to Hugh’s family and friends.