The Ontario Humanist Society has just learned of the death on August 17th of long-time humanist, Dr. Wendell Watters. He was a life member of the Humanist Association of Canada (HC). He was well-known in Humanist circles across the country. His major contribution of books to the HC library must be given the recognition they merit. He is remembered with fondness and respect by all Humanists who came in contact with him over the years.
The following obituary was submitted by his family:
WATTERS, Wendell Wallace, M.D. October 1, 1923 – August 17, 2012 Peacefully in his sleep, after a brief illness and surrounded by his family. Predeceased by his son, Derek, Wendell leaves behind his devoted wife of 60 years, Lena Isabel (Robertson); his daughters Beverley, (Nick Harris) of Calgary, AB, and Elizabeth (Paul McCann) of Penticton, BC; his adoring grandchildren Gregory Watters, Matthew Harris (Heather Clark), Tim Harris, Jennifer Harris, Neil McCann, Colin McCann and Patrick McCann; one great-granddaughter, Lena Marie Harris; and several nieces and nephews across the country.
Born and raised in Fredericton, NB, he served in the RCAF as a Navigator on B-24s (Liberators) in WWII. Following the war, he earned his M.D. from Dalhousie University in 1953. In Montreal, he specialized in Psychiatry at McGill University, during which time he completed his psychoanalysis. In 1967, he moved to the Hamilton area to help start up McMaster University’s Faculty of Medicine. His early years at McMaster fostered a number of academic interests, notably psychotherapy, family therapy and couple sex-therapy. His interest in the psychological and behavioral aspects of reproduction culminated in his book Compulsory Parenthood: The Truth About Abortion (1976).
He was a director of the Canadian Association for the Repeal of Canadian Abortion Laws and a witness for the defense at the Morgentaler trials. Later he developed an interest in the impact of religion on the psychological functioning of human beings. His papers on religion and humanism were widely published, including a second book, Deadly Doctrine: Health, Illness and Christian God-Talk (1992). He retired from McMaster University as Professor Emeritus.
Wendell loved his family, friends, his photography, classical music, great books and good scotch. He was a generous person, a keen observer of the world around him, and great lover of debate. His family wishes to note the kindness and professionalism shown to him by the staff at The Hamlets in his final days. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Canadian Diabetes Society. A private family celebration has already occurred.