Elizabeth A. Comper
November 29th, 1945 — June 22nd, 2014
After a life devoted to many causes, Elizabeth Comper, co-founder of FAST, passed away peacefully on June 22, 2014. She will be deeply missed by Tony, her husband and best friend for 48 years.
Educated at Richview Collegiate and Toronto Teachers College, Elizabeth worked as an elementary school teacher in her hometown of Etobicoke and in Montreal, before earning a BA with distinction from Concordia University and a Master’s degree in Library Science from McGill University.
Shocked by a series of antisemitic events in Toronto and Montreal that included the firebombing of the library at the United Talmud Torah Jewish Day School, Elizabeth decided to fight the resurgence of antisemitism. ‘This is Canada,’ she said, ‘that shouldn’t happen’.
The result was FAST — Fighting Antisemitism Together, co-founded with her husband Tony in 2005. As a teacher and mature student, Elizabeth knew the best way to combat intolerance and hatred was by educating young people today. FAST’s Choose Your Voice free educational program has been distributed to more than two million students in elementary schools across Canada. The program is currently being extended to high schools with a broadened curriculum in Voices Into Action.
Her charitable contributions in Toronto include fundraising and volunteer work as Chair for the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care and the Tarragon Theatre. Elizabeth was also a director of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Elizabeth is a recipient of the University of Toronto Arbor Award, the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews Human Relations Award, the Canadian Centre for Diversity Human Relations Award and the Scopus Award from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She holds an honourary doctorate from the University of Haifa and Concordia University. In 2011, Elizabeth and Tony were named to the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honour, only the third couple to receive the distinction together since the award’s founding in 1967.