In Celebration of

Rev. Douglas Jay

October 10, 1925 -  January 1, 2021

Rev. Douglas Jay
CM BA M.Div. Ph.D. DD
Passed away peacefully on 1st January, in his 96th year, after a brief illness, following emergence from a Covid19 diagnosis a month earlier.

A Member of the Order of Canada, Douglas was Principal Emeritus of Emmanuel College (of Victoria University in the University of Toronto, founding Director of the Toronto School of Theology, and Minister Emeritus of Christ First United Church.

Predeceased eight years ago by his wife of 62 years, Ruth (Crooker), Douglas is survived by his three sons: David (Kathy), Ian (Leesa), and Garth (Colleen); as well as by six grandchildren (Emily, Alex, Glynis, Catherine, Victoria & Madeleine); and by three great-grandchildren (Logan, Nathan & Ava).

Douglas was born October 10th, 1925, just months after the formation of the United Church of Canada, to an erstwhile Methodist Minister (Charles) and a church organist (Luella). Growing up in rural communities in southern Ontario, he excelled in his studies, especially when the family moved to Toronto. Throughout his studies, from Victoria College and Emmanuel College through to a Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh, Douglas was determined to follow his father into ordained ministry in the United Church, a calling in which he was soon joined by his brother, Donald, and his brother-in-law, David Reeve.

His professional academic career began when he was in his early twenties, as a Lecturer at Queens University, training returning veterans in Logic.

After pastoral assignments in the Elk Lake and Trafalgar charges of Ontario, Douglas returned to academia at Emmanuel College.

He traveled continually promoting interfaith dialogue around the world as a visiting lecturer in India, Korea, Zambia, South Africa, and the Philippines, with multiple trips to Israel and China, and on special projects for the United Church and for the World Council of Churches.

Doug’s distinguished career as Professor of the Philosophy of Religion and of Christian Ethics at Emmanuel College led to his selection to form and direct the Toronto School of Theology. His success at persuading the leaders of disparate Christian colleges to share resources and cross-train their next generations of theological scholars and ministers, and his reputation as an international elder of the inter-faith movement, resulted in Doug being made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1988.

After a decade at TST, Doug returned to his beloved Emmanuel College as Principal, from which he retired after nine challenging years. Even in retirement, Doug pursued his passion for theological education as President of the Association of Theological Schools.

Cremation has been performed. A memorial service will be announced in the coming months.


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David Sherwin (Married to Doug's niece, Marilou Reeve. Also a former student of Doug's at Emmanuel College.)

Entered January 3, 2021 from Ottawa

David, Ian, Garth and family. My deepest condolences on Doug's death. He was a remarkable man and will be much missed. May God be with you all.

Andrew Sherwin, Susan McCoy & Family (Cottage Neighbours and Friends)

Entered January 3, 2021 from Toronto

Rest in Peace, Doug.

We will always remember and cherish the many visits (and countless entertaining stories shared by both Doug and Ruth) over the years. As next-door cottage neighbours on Moira Lake, we were blessed to spend many summers in close proximity. (Sometimes too close - memories include Ruth repeatedly flicking their porch lights on and off late in the evening, her subtle yet highly effective way to remind us youngsters that is was time to quiet down and listen to the loons... although I can now finally admit that for the longest time, we thought it was just bad electrical wiring that Doug had done himself.)

I have strong memories of seeing Doug - until well in his 80's - up on the roof of his cottage, valiantly fighting (but losing) the ongoing battle against ever encroaching moss on the shingles. Doug would firmly (but always politely) refuse all offers of assistance, even offers to hold the ladder as we tried (but failed) to talk him down.

(In hindsight, this was probably because the one time he did let me help him cut down a large, dead tree limb overhanging the deck ("Doug, please, I insist - let me go up the ladder with the chainsaw. I'm 38 years younger and much more nimble than you") the resulting trip to the emergency department and the 20+ stitches in my right forearm likely convinced him that he would be better off working alone going forward.)

Summers at the cottage will never be same now that Doug and Ruth are no longer with us. All our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to the Jay family. Doug was truly a wonderful, great man who will be forever missed by those fortunate enough to know him.

- Andy, Sue and family

Bishop Peter Mason (Former colleague)

Entered January 3, 2021 from Wellington Ontarii

Douglas Jay was a great supporter and friend of Wycliffe College during my years as its Principal. Condolences to hia family and friends

Michael Thompson (Friend)

Entered January 4, 2021 from Trenton

We were fellow cottagers and neighbours from Moira Lake

Pamela Couture (Current Director of Toronto School of Theology)

Entered January 4, 2021 from Toronto

We are saddened to hear of Dr. Jay's death, but as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the institution he founded, we pray that our current work will honour the legacy with which he is so associated, both at TST and at Emmanuel College. We extend our condolences to his family and to all who held him dearly in their hearts.


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