Obituary of Ann Frances DeVito
Ann passed away on December 29th at the Palliative Care Unit of St. Paul’s Hospital.
One of Ann’s favourite things was walking the trails at Chief Whitecap Park with her husband John and her dog Bella, during all seasons of the year. She also loved walking on the Meewasin trail near campus with her son Julian and kayaking on the South Saskatchewan River with her daughter Kate.
She was an avid bicyclist, riding along the river for fun and commuting between two jobs on her bike.
Some of her happiest hours were spent drumming with Living Sky Taiko. She loved performing and cherished the friendships she formed within the group.
Ann discovered Greek and Latin literature at the University of Washington in Seattle and felt privileged to continue her studies in graduate school at the University of Toronto. She taught hundreds of students at the University of Saskatchewan and especially treasured her time teaching Latin to a few dedicated mature students on Saturday afternoons.
When her children were young, Ann was active in the adoption community and founded Saskatchewan Families with Children from Asia. She also established an informal support group whose core five members continued to meet over almost 20 years until the pandemic and cancer intervened. She shared a lot with those “third-Tuesday” friends.
Ann is survived by her husband John Porter, her son Julian Yang (Mike), and her daughter Kate DeVito-Porter (Jon); her sisters, Carla Richards (Jim) and Lilah Taylor (Ben); her nephews, John DeVito (Alyson) and Ben Richards; her nieces, Gemma and Ruby Taylor, and her great-niece, Vivian DeVito.
Ann’s family thanks the many friends who stopped by with gifts of food, cards and Lego to nourish their bodies and souls.
Cremation is being handled by Prairie View Cremation and Memorial Services. At Ann’s request, there will be no funeral, although a memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of sending flowers, people may donate to Meewasin Valley Authority, OUTSaskatoon, Saskatoon Open Door Society, or any agency that they feel will make our city stronger and more tolerant.
Those of you who knew Ann might enjoy this meditative piece that she composed some 15 months before her death. As the title shows, it deals with a favorite pastime to which she turned for distraction:
Staring Down Death (with averted eyes)
(Aug. 27, 2022)
I spent much of yesterday working on a jigsaw puzzle that Carla gave me, a picture of The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg. It’s very colourful and very detailed — a great puzzle. I did spend too much time leaning over it, though, and my neck is very sore this morning.
Kate says that jigsaw puzzles are a waste of time, since they are only destroyed in the end. She prefers crocheting and beading, crafts that result in a finished product. She is right, of course, but that doesn’t take away from my enjoyment in doing them.
Much of the process is tedious: separating pieces by colour, by shape, picking out the edge pieces to construct the frame. But once you are in the midst of the puzzle you get into a zone where solutions just come to you. You glance at a piece and know exactly where it goes, your hand picking it up and dropping it into place. This happens again and again, a seamless process of discovery and resolution. It happens when I’m translating as well, when a difficult sentence or passage suddenly makes sense, as the various elements fall into place. I think that’s why I like reading Greek and Latin, why I like studying Mandarin and Japanese, why I liked writing code. They are all puzzles, and solving them is delightful.