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Kathi Sansom: Feb 13, 1940 – Jan 22, 2008

Ottawa queers mourn top volunteer

In recent years, Kathi Sansom was best known as the ticket taker at countless queer events. Now, she’ll be taking tickets at queer dances in heaven. She died of heart failure in hospital in the early hours of Jan 22, surrounded by many of those she loved. She was 67.

She leaves behind Eileen Murphy, her partner of 29 years. The pair met in 1978, becoming friends and lovers by the end of that year.

Sansom was vivacious and full of smiles — even while battling arthritis and and kidney failure. She spent the last year of her life on dialysis.

Sansom worked with Dignity Ottawa, an organization for queer Catholics, for 15 years. She volunteered for PFLAG, Pride, Egale, PTS, Bruce House, Lambda, The Gay Men’s Chorus, and Capital Xtra events.

Later in life, she became a crusader for gay and lesbian seniors, representing our elders at The Council on Aging, the Kanata Seniors Expo, and other events.

“We couldn’t imagine trying to put on our community events without Kathi and Eileen,” wrote Capital Xtra associate publisher Gareth Kirkby in Oct 2006 after presenting Sansom with a lifetime achievement award. At the time, Sansom was hospital-bound and looking for a kidney donor.

Six months later, she stopped into Capital Xtra’s office to pick up the award. She had the trademark sparkle in her eye and chatted and laughed with staff.

Sansom is survived by her partner, Eileen Murphy, and her three adult children from a previous marriage, Alan, Chris and Keith, as well as her granddaughter Jadie.