In Celebration of

Storrs McCall

November 5, 1933 -  November 7, 2021

Ronald Storrs McCall died peacefully in Lachute, Quebec, surrounded by his family, at the age of 91. He is lovingly remembered by his wife, Ann (née Griffin), his children, Mengo, Kai (Sepideh), Sophie (David) and his grandchildren Kalliopé, Anoushak, Timoléon, Maya, Skye and Scarlet.

Storrs was a deeply curious person with a lifelong love of learning. He brought big ideas to all he did as a philosopher, teacher, farmer and fun-loving family man. He loved sports and was a true all-rounder in golf, hockey, rowing, tennis, squash and skiing. Together with Ann, he hosted many memorable dinner parties. He loved head-scratching riddles, valued conversation and challenged his guests intellectually in friendly and generous ways. He was committed to many causes, from promoting education in Uganda and Southern Sudan in the 1960s, resisting land expropriation at Mirabel in the 1970s, promoting a bilingual and multicultural Quebec in the 1980s, proposing a Great Books program at McGill University in the 1990s and supporting the Nature Conservancy of Canada in the 2000s. His warm, positive and hopeful vision of life was shaped by values of fairness and generosity.

Always a top student, Storrs became a Rhodes scholar in 1953 and earned his D.Phil in 1964 at Oxford University. With interests in philosophy and math, physics and literature, art and politics, he was a true Renaissance man, bridging academic disciplines. His life's work as a philosopher culminated in his landmark book, A Model of the Universe (Oxford 1994). Beginning with a straightforward explanation of time flow using a branched tree model, the book applies advanced theories of quantum mechanics and math to shed light on enduring philosophical questions.

Storrs had a legendary style of lecturing, captivating generations of students with his accessible delivery, his humour and his brightly patterned, wide ties. He believed everyone benefited from studying the great thinkers in the Western canon, and his Introduction to Philosophy class was taken by thousands of undergraduates who went on to pursue careers in many different fields. From 1965 to 1971, he and others worked to establish the study of philosophy at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. He also taught at the University of Pittsburgh before returning with his young family to McGill. He had a long-standing presence at McGill, with over fifty years of teaching, beginning in his early twenties. He was a daily attendee at the Faculty Club where he joined fellow academics in lively discussions over lunch. He gave generously to McGill, establishing the Professor Storrs McCall Fellowship for Graduate Students in Philosophy in 2019.

North River Farm was Storrs's true home, and a gathering place for his immediate and extended family. His interests at the farm included agriculture as well as a deep commitment to nature and conservation. Storrs's father first established the farm, and it grew further with the dedicated contributions of Bill Brass, his son Ian Brass, and Clifton Berry. Their expertise in agriculture produced top quality Jersey and Aberdeen Angus herds, maple syrup, and crops. A decade ago, wishing to preserve the natural beauty and biodiversity of the farm in perpetuity, Storrs signed a document of protection with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

All of his accomplishments would not have had meaning without Storrs's beloved wife and companion, Ann. They met in 1962 in the philosophy classroom at McGill. Waiting until after her graduation, they married and set off on a life of adventure; enjoying a happy and harmonious marriage of fifty-seven years. Their compatibility extended in everything they did. They enjoyed combining work and pleasure, whether it was singing together in a choir or taking sabbaticals in Australia. In later years, Storrs was lovingly cared for by Ann, who always encouraged him to stay active and connected to his family. For Storrs, his enduring love for his family always came first and was the source of his greatest happiness.

The visitation is open to the public and will be held on Thursday December 2, 4:00-8:00 pm ET, and on Friday December 3, 9:30-10:30 am ET.
Mount Royal Funeral Complex
1297 Chemin de la Forêt
Outremont, Québec
H2V 2P9
(514) 279-7358
Unfortunately, due to current restrictions on gatherings, the memorial will be by invitation only. It will be webcast on Friday, December 3, 2021 from 10:30 AM ET to 1:00 PM ET. You may view the ceremony live or on replay at:


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Caroline Tanguay (Conservation de la nature Canada)

Entered November 18, 2021 from Montréal

Dear family of Mr. Storrs McCall,
I am sure you will have many memories of the best times with Storrs for years to come. At Nature Conservancy, we will do our best to preserve this natural heritage that is North River Farm. My sincere sympathies especially to you Ann!

France Senécal (Amie de Ann)

Entered November 27, 2021 from Montréal

Mes plus vives sympathies chère
Ann.à toi et à tous vos proches.
La perte de ce compagnon de si longue vie qui,a de toute évidence, contribué à ton incroyable vitalité à l’épanouissement de ta créativité et à la lumière que tu sais faire rayonner autour de toi est en un sens irréparable; toutefois la part de lui que tu portes en toi,elle, demeurera intacte.
Je t’embrasse tout doux.

John and Barbara Galaty (Long-term friends of Storrs and Ann)

Entered December 2, 2021 from 97 Arlington Ave., Westmount, QC H3Y 2W5

I was deeply moved to read about Storr’s passing, though I knew his health was fading. He was one of the very first people I met when I arrived at McGill in 1977. Unlike most of his colleagues, I always thought of him as an Africanist as he was on the African Studies committee with me, and we often talked about his deep attachment to Uganda and what is now South Sudan, born of his teaching at Makerere back in the day. He seemed to know everything and everyone, and indeed his contemporaries from his time in East Africa were moving into offices of importance. Storrs always had a new insight or anecdote about the region, and I suppose we shared something that most of his colleagues in Philosophy weren’t in the least aware of or cared about. But it was a continuous link of deeply shared interest that we carried forward over the next 40 years. And at some point I believe we shared one of a series of field vehicles we had in Kenya with Storrs and Ann who were on a memorable safari.

Storrs was one of most urbane and witty people I knew, and, together with you, Ann, was always a delight to share a meal with at home, or run across on campus, in the Faculty Club dining room, in Westmount, or on the bus. I even ran across Storrs in one of the colleges at Oxford the year I was on sabbatical there, a place where I saw through Godfrey Lienhardt and his brother Peter where Storr’s affection for the Sudan came from: the crossroads of Britain and Sudan that Oxford embodied, spawned by Evans-Pritchard years before.

We’ll miss him, do miss him already. I would be honored to attend the Memorial Service on Dec. 3rd and the visitation that morning. I’m afraid I will come alone as Barbara’s ALS condition is such that she is not mobile and can’t sustain stress, even the gracious stress that this event will be. What cruel irony that someone who like Ann loved riding and later dancing should have her body let her down. Storrs had a long and rich life, which is something we can all celebrate.

ANTHONY GRIFFIN (cousin (along with wife Jackie))

Entered December 4, 2021 from North York, Ont

I, among so many, was captivated by the warmth and impish vitality that seemed to emanate from Storrs. Both Storrs and Ann were the soul of grace and kindness, so typical of Ann's mother, my dear aunt Kitty.if I may quote W.S. Gilbert regarding Storrs..."Good temper triumphed in his face"


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