Friday, June 19, 2009

Kym Pruesse 1961-2009

Kym, who taught at the Ontario College of Art, was a close friend of mine for the past twenty-five years. She was bright, strong-willed and talented. Kym was a painter and a glass blower who studied at Seneca College, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the University of Western Ontario, where she earned a Master's specializing in concepts of art criticism. She taught at the University of Windsor as a sessional lecturer before joining the full-time faculty at OCA. She was one of Toronto's best art show curators and organizers, closely connected to the YYZ Gallery.
That's CV stuff. Those of us who loved her knew her to be very bright, somewhat stubborn, and extremely kind-hearted. She always adopted the cause of the underdog and was one of those people who tried to save every struggling or screwed-up person she came across. In another life, Kym would have been a suffragette or a missionary.
Kym had some bizarre adventures. She travelled through South America for many months, caught Hep B in Brazil and became dreadfully ill, and ended up being cared for in the home of a doctor who fell in love with her. She had already wandered through India for a year.
Kym came from a great family. Her father, who died just a few months ago, overcame the brutal injuries of a teenage accident to get his PhD and become chief psychologist at the Penetanguishene psych hospital. Her mother was an artist and craftsperson who worked at a shelter for abused women and children until her premature death five years ago.
Kym didn't have children and, I think she would forgive me for saying, she was not lucky in love. Her strong desire to help people improve themselves spread, I'm afraid, into her personal life, at great cost to her. But she did have three very loving sisters and a great, kind brother. And she had many, many friends who are utterly shocked that she's gone from us at the age of 48.


erella said...

Your words are so well put.
Obvious that you knew Kym well.
I am glad to have spent as much time with her as I did recently.

Hope to meet you.

Anonymous said...

This is a fine tribute to Kym. I didn't know as much about her personal life, but I got to know her as a colleague when I taught writing courses at OCAD and we had desks in the smae office. I was struck by how frieidly Kym was, how hard she worked (she was always rushing off to work on some committee or support a cause), and her great sense of humour.
Once I asked her how she managed to say so slim, academic work being mostly sedentary. She stared at me for a moment and then said "Stress!"
-- John Oughton

Henry Martinuk said...

It was a great shock to find that Kym had passed.
I'm going to the celebration of her life at Edward Day Gallery at 952 Queen West in Toronto on Saturday, June 20 from 7 - 10pm & bringing photos of the last time we were together.

Check out "Kym Pruesse Memories" on Facebook for photos & comments.

Philly M said...

thank you for your post. once again I find myself with tears in my eyes - tears of deep grief and sadness, but also tears of joy for having know such a kind, generous and brilliant spirit.

in addition to her above-noted compassion, will and humour, there's one other attribute I'd like to mention. Kym shone in her ability to recognize, encourage and demand the best from everyone around her, whatever that "best" may be. it was one of her many gifts and it is a mighty legacy.

Kym, you are loved. may your spirit continue to shine.

Gara Pruesse said...

Thank you, Mark, for that loving tribute to Kym. I know you and Marion will be with us in spirit if not in body tonight as we celebrate Kym's life. She was one of a kind -- loving, generous, funny and smart! We miss her.

Celebrate Kym's Life, Sat Jun 20 7-10 Edward Day Gallery. ByoBeverage, bring snacks & memories to share, pictures to show.

- Gara Pruesse (sister of Kym)

Ottawa Watch said...

We will be at the one at OCA.

Anonymous said...

Once in a while you run into a person who leaves an impression, a real sense of hope and promise in everyone around them and on all of the challenges in life they encountered. Kym was that kind of person and will be sorely missed by all.

Steven Kaasgaard

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