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June Callwood: Struck by tragedy

The Story

June Callwood's extraordinary capacity to empathize may stem from her personal tragedies. She has battled depression and her husband's bout with alcoholism. She saw her oldest daughter Jill struggle to recover from a devastating car crash, and dealt with her son Brant's multiple sclerosis. But the worst tragedy of all was the death of her youngest son Casey. Casey was killed in April 1982 when a drunk driver struck his motorcycle. He was 20. Callwood tells CBC's Mary O'Connell that it was the worst experience of her life. "April is crappy," says Callwood choking back the tears, "I hate April."

Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Morning
Broadcast Date: April 19, 1987
Guest(s): June Callwood, Liz Greaves
Reporter: Mary O'Connell
Duration: 5:39

Did You know?

• Callwood slipped into a year-long depression due to fatigue and exhaustion in the 1950s. She realized she needed help when she found herself staring out of her kitchen window for hours without noticing the time go by.

• Before Casey's death, Callwood said she had a constant happy hum in her head. "I haven't had that since he was killed."

• Casey's ashes are buried under the apple tree outside Callwood's home.

• Casey House, a Toronto hospice for people with AIDS, which Callwood founded in 1988 is named after her youngest son. 

• Celebrated broadcaster Barbara Frum described her close friend June Callwood as a "woman with a wounded psyche."  Frum and Callwood became friends when Frum impulsively invited Callwood to dinner after a chance meeting at an art gallery. The two remained best of friends until Frum's death in 1992.


June Callwood: Canada's Conscience more