On Tuesday, June 17 at 11 a.m., more than 100 people attended a memorial celebrating Graham Sheldon’s life in the courtyard outside the Senior Common Room of Champlain College. Head of Champlain College, Dr. Mike Allcott, presented Mr. Sheldon’s family with a Champlain College scarf, and named him an honorary member of Champlain College.
Mr. Sheldon was an important presence in Champlain and at Trent. He was neither a student nor a member of the Trent staff, but he was present nearly every day for the past seven years as a member of a Community Living volunteer team. According to its mission statement, Community Living Ontario (communityliving.ca) “advocates for, promotes and facilitates the full participation, inclusion and citizenship of people who have an intellectual disability”. Trent’s Community Living volunteers have been helping with waste reduction initiatives at Trent for seven years through their blueboxing@trent program. Under the aegis of Trent’s sustainability coordinator, Shelley Strain, and working on programs such as recycling education, printer cartridge and battery recycling, water bottle free convocation and many others, these volunteers not only help the Trent community reduce our impact on the environment, they have enriched and become an important part of the Trent community.
Mr. Sheldon was a leader among his fellow Community Living volunteers; he brought his full energies every day to ensuring an affirmative and active life for the whole team. While Mr. Sheldon’s body and mind didn’t allow him to do all the things he wanted to do to the fullest, his spirit was fully engaged in numerous community endeavors. Every Champlain student and staff person could count on a smile from him, and he didn’t let disability exclude him from participation in the life of the college.
His most proud moment for the past few years was participating in the Heart and Stroke Foundation Big Bike Ride. He proudly joined the team of riders in Peterborough, and persevered in securing donations for the cause from his Trent community. It meant a lot to him to be able to do meaningful work for others in need. We were very fortunate to learn from his example. While he may have had great needs himself, his focus was on meeting the needs of others.
Obituary Notice from the Peterborough Examiner:
SHELDON, Graham - Suddenly but peacefully at home on Saturday June 7, 2014 at the age of 56. Son of the late George and Jean Sheldon. Dear brother of Jackie (Michael) Comtois. Uncle of Stephen (Karen) Comtois, Christina (Ryan) Jones and predeceased by Michael Ryan Comtois. Great uncle of Megan and Jack. Sadly missed by his many friends at Community Living Peterborough. A celebration of Graham's life will be held at Trent University -Champlain College on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 11am. A reception will follow. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers to Community Living Peterborough or Blueboxing at Trent may be made along with condolences by visiting www.bensonfuneralhomes.com