October 7, 2022
In loving memory ~
On October 7th, 2022, Clare Taylor died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends, at the Victoria Hospice. In the following moments, his loved ones hope he was – in accordance with his beliefs – released into the energy flow of the universe.
Clare is survived by his children, Craig (Mayita) and Skott (Alexandra); his two grandsons, Sebastian and Theodore; his siblings Barbara, Cameron and Jim; and Marian Luxton, his former wife, who remained a great friend. He is predeceased by his brother Robert and his parents, Walter and Joyce.
Clare was defined by his lifelong quest for knowledge, both spiritual and intellectual. Born in Galt, Ontario, he moved west to Alberta in high school, and south after graduation to Spokane, Washington, where he scored a few brilliant goals as a winger for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. He studied theology at the Scarborough Missions seminary, then graduated from both London Teachers’ College and Niagara University.
In 1977, Clare and his family moved west to Vancouver Island and spent years exploring its beaches. Clare taught in the SD68 system. Teaching and counselling were a means to connect; he was beloved by students. Clare embraced change. A co-worker once passed him on a staircase and complained: “Only 19 more years.” Determined to live a life less ordinary, in 2000 Clare flew to Beijing to teach English, days after retirement. In 2002, he moved to Ho Chi Minh City to work for Saigon Children’s Charity and spent years cycling the busy streets.
He made lasting connections and developed a love for Vietnamese culture. He read, sang, played his Vietnamese flute, and strove to appreciate the workings of the universe, which might seem like a solitary pursuit, but for Clare served as a reason to talk with friends and strangers, and wonder at the complexity of both the human cell and the poetry of Keats. He was pleasantly mystified by the movements of his life. A quote from WH Auden remained pinned above his desk: ‘We are lived by powers we pretend to understand: / They arrange our loves; it is they who direct at the end…’
A diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis in 2009 led to years dedicated to breathing, meditation, observance, and compassion. He not only lived longer than expected but lived well, pumping his fist in the air while pedalling his stationary bike and singing along to Billy Joel. He took on the name ‘Charlie’ – why not? – and was cared for by several compassionate VIHA home care workers.
He’ll be remembered for his cooking, his blue eyes, and the intelligence behind them. His curiosity led him to passions: bioenergetics, Buddhism, socialism, fly fishing, painting, quantum physics, and the songs of Buddy Holly.
Near the end of his life, Clare wrote about the trees on the banks of a nearby stream. “The alder is one element in the drama of life’s longing for itself… Are we, each part of us, part of the forest, part of the creek, part of the interdependency?” The answer was a resounding yes. Until the end, he was aware of, as he put it, “being conscious of my own consciousness.” “Aware of the interdependencies surrounding me,” he wrote, “the significances in the surroundings, in each element. Aware of each shape, as distinct and distinctive, yet part of the whole.”