Colleen Cassano

Colleen Cassano

October 30 1947 - April 19 2023

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Obituary of Colleen Cassano


"That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind." - William Wordsworth

The family is deeply saddened to announce the death of Colleen Cassano, aged 75, who died Wednesday after a formidable fight against pancreatic cancer. She is predeceased by her beloved mother Mary Markle, and dear father John Edwin "Eddie" Markle of Gardenton, Manitoba and Sturgeon Falls, Ontario respectively. She is survived by her cherished daughter, Alethea Cassano, (and by Alethea's father, Paul Cassano, of Toronto, Ontario) and by her much-adored grand-daughter Grace Connolly, both of Windsor, Ontario. Also, by her dear brother Brian Markle and beloved wife Jeannette, (nee McDonald) of Toronto, Ontario and by their children Tristan (with partner Anya Shvets) and Ariana Markle.

At the centre of Colleen's life was her family. Her mission as a daughter, as a mother and as a grandmother was always to love, to worry and to protect. And of course to feed.

An inveterate foodie, an accomplished cook, and a voracious reader, she once worked her way effortlessly through the entirety of Julia Child's classic french cookbook. She had cultured tastes and was ever on the lookout for the best places to have a meal. In fact, you could travel to a city where she herself had never been and she would still give you strict instructions as to where you should go eat.

Colleen was a self-possessed, elegant and fashionable woman who lacked pretense, followed her own judgment and never the crowd. A modern woman before her time, she completed graduate studies at a time when few women were doing so. She was liberal, witty, whimsical, and delightfully impractical.

Colleen taught as an elementary French teacher, as an ESL instructor at St. Clair College, as a high school English teacher, and as an English professor at the University of Windsor, where she also worked as a Research Associate. There she expertly edited manuscripts long before they became publications, providing expertise and encouragement to many of her colleagues in the English department, some of whom became good friends, among them, the late great Alistair MacLeod.

Still, some of Colleen's fondest memories were of teaching newcomers to Canada at St. Clair College. She recounted fondly one story of a student from Mexico who, upon looking out the window and seeing snow for the first time, ran outside, arms to the heavens, tongue to the skies.

Colleen herself was a beautiful writer (as evidenced by her Master's thesis), was a lover of literature, of poetry, of music, specifically of Paul McCartney, of the White Whale, and, as it turns out, had a real predilection for pickles.

The family owes a deep debt of gratitude to the Village at St. Clair. It really does take a village to navigate this kind of illness, and her "family" there really came through, caring for her beautifully, and providing her with endless activities to keep boredom at bay (thank you Alex) and allowing her to flourish one final time. Thank you to Irene for her friendship the last several months. The family would also like to thank the many wonderful nurses we encountered along the way. They are the ones who stitch together the broken fabric of our hospital system and who hold it together with their care and empathy.


Finally, everyone should be lucky enough to have one true friend who would be there for them every day, come rain or shine. Colleen was that lucky and everyone who knows Susan Nadeau strongly suspects that she is an angel in disguise.


We will be meeting under the clock, as soon as obligations allow, at the Royal York hotel in Toronto, as per Colleen's wish, to share our memories and to have a glass of prosecco and a lobster sandwich.

Arrangements entrusted to Windsor Chapel (519) 253-7234

Memories may also be shared online at


"Everything will be okay in the end, and if it's not okay, it's not the end" - John Lennon