A capacity crowd clapped along to a soul-filled rendition of Happy Birthday at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium last fall.

Halifax peace activist Muriel Duckworth, who died over the weekend, was celebrating her 100th birthday on Oct. 31, with friends and family surrounding her.

Sitting in a wheelchair on stage that day, Duckworth’s face lit up with a smile of appreciation. “It’s been wonderful to have this celebration,” she told the crowd. “I’ve never dreamed of anything like this.”


“That was a rare, rare moment for any of us to see -- somebody who deeply deserved it to be honoured in her own community,” remembered Marion Douglas Kerans, a friend who wrote the biography, Muriel Duckworth: A Very Active Pacifist.

The Quebec-born Duckworth, who moved to Halifax in 1947, died in palliative care in a Quebec hospital on Saturday.

“She showed women how to become true leaders in their community, and in the world, without losing any feminine grace,” Kerans said yesterday.

Duckworth helped found the Nova Scotia Voice Of Women (VOW) and also served on the Oxfam Canada board of directors in the 1970s. During the Vietnam War, she and other VOW members spoke out against the violence -- a strong opposition that eventually led her to leave the United Church of Canada and join the Quakers after the church refused to denounce the conflict

Time didn’t slow Duckworth down. In her later years, she became a vocal member of peaceful activist group the Halifax Raging Grannies.

“She lived exactly what she taught,” Kerans said.

Duckworth is survived by her three children, 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Plans for her funeral are still being arranged.

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