And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea
Meg Stacey was the first Chair of the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Women’s Studies, founded in 1985. She was a powerful source of strength for the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender that succeeded it from 1993-2002. My colleagues and I had recourse to her for advice and help through some difficult times, and her support was unstinting. She was a good feminist and a wise and perspicacious advisor and friend. But what remains most vividly in my memory is her contagious humour and her deep-throated laugh. Meg’s funeral gave full expression both to the wisdom that was deepened by her turn to Buddhism in her later life, and to her sense of fun: a celebration that combined sadness and mirth, solemnity and an anarchic irreverence. I imagine she laughed in anticipation of the assembly of family, friends, collaborators and academic colleagues singing her out with gusto to Yellow Submarine.
Ian Procter, who headed the Sociology Department so ably from 1997 to 2002 spoke warmly of Meg’s leadership in the 1970s and of ‘the twinkle in her eye’, made an unintended contribution of his own worthy of Monty Python, when he led some dozen carloads of mourners who were following him to the burial ground down a bridle path and into a field. When everyone had reversed, Ian and I were in the rear. We watched helplessly as the line of cars turned right instead of left. We whipped through from the rear and arrived at the burial field solo.
But even Meg’s and Monty Python’s humour could not keep at bay the deep sadness of farewell that all of us felt. She led a full rich life, that must be our satisfaction, but the loss is great indeed.
Department of Sociology/Centre for the Study of Women and Gender