Brian Llewellyn-ap-Dafydd

It was with deep regret that Vanier's Director General Normand Bernier informed us of the passing of Brian Llewellyn-ap-Dafydd on December 31st, 2015. Brian had been a faculty member in the English Department since September 1986.

A memorial service was held on Saturday, January 16, 2016 at St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Saint-Lambert. A very heartfelt memorial service was also held at Vanier College on Wednesday, January 27, in the Music Department Choir Room, during the universal break from noon to 1:30 PM which featured many testimonials to the huge hole his passing has left within the English Department and indeed the entire college. We extend our sympathies to his family and friends.


The entire 80-minute memorial ceremony at Vanier was recorded for those who were teaching or otherwise unable to attend. Here is the link:

A six-minute photo slideshow that was shown during the Vanier's memorial ceremony has also been uploaded with music added and can be watched here:

We were lucky to find two old videos of Brian performing at Vanier around twenty years ago which have been digitized and uploaded to Youtube.

The first is from a Pedagogical Day Variety Show filmed at Vanier College on March 15, 1995. In it, Brian is the soloist in a song performed by the Vanier Singers under the directorship of Jean Sult. The song was originally made famous by the British comedy duo Flanders & Swann, and is entitled, "The Hippopotamus Song". Watch it here:

The second one was from a Variety Show recorded on May 9, 1996, that was part of Vanier College's 25th Anniversary celebrations, in which Brian, dressed up in costume, performs a humourous poem entitled, "Three Ha'pence a Foot" which was written by Marriott Edgar and made famous by British comedian Stanley Holloway:

Although all videos are available in resolutions up to 1080p, the quality of the older videos is understandably not very good. Still, they are great fun and definitely worth watching especially if you never had the pleasure of watching Brian perform live.


We have received a wonderful selection of nineteen photos that were taken by English Department faculty member Asma Al-Naser at the Memorial Ceremony. We later received five more photos from English teacher Harry Antonian, and then several more from Humanities teacher Erin Churchill which we've also added to the collection. To see them all, click here.


We have found two poems that Brian wrote which were published in the Vanier College Teachers Association Newsletter of May 2006. You can read them both by clicking on this link.


1949 - 2015

It is with profound sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Brian Llewellyn-ap-Dafydd, at the age of 66, on December 31, 2015 at the Notre Dame Hospital, Montreal. Brian had a great love of literature and was passionate in the teaching of his cherished subject. He taught for more than 10 years in his homeland in the UK and abroad, and close to 30 years at Vanier College in Montreal. As President of the St. David's Society, he was very active within the Welsh Community and was a pillar of support in the activities of the Montreal Welsh Male Choir (Cor Meibion Cymraeg Montreal) where he sang tenor and worked feverishly to make sure it maintained its status as one of the most renowned and oldest choirs of the Province of Quebec. Brian was also an avid sportsman, and from the moment of arrival in Quebec in 1986, he associated himself with the Phys. Ed. Department of Vanier to help initiate young people into the pleasures of mountaineering, a pastime at which he excelled. Like all Welshmen, he had a lifetime love affair with the game of rugby. He joined the Old Boys at Montreal Irish RFC and also played with the Quebec Combined Rugby Team, bringing the English and French playing sides together in a memorable esprit de corps. Later in life, he played cricket with the Pirates of the St. Lawrence Cricket Club. Surviving Brian is his beloved wife, Joanne Devlin, his parents, Jack and Edna Llewellyn, his sister, Nicky (John Ball), his nephew, James and his niece, Katy. At home in the UK are Kerensa Miller-Hart, Brian's goddaughter, with his great friends, David, Jenny, Pete, Carolyn, Kevin, Christine, Ron, John, Isabel and Jim. He will also be sorely missed by his brothers and sisters-in-law from the Devlin family, Denise (Claude Geneau), Michèle (Jean-Marc Duchesne), late Albert (Claudette Darveau), Jean- Yves (late Solange Veilleux), Jean-Eudes (late Denise Arsenault), André (Ghislaine Plamondon), Bertrand, Claude (Elaine Johnson), Jacques (Suzie Tremblay), Francine (Peter Foley), many nephews and nieces, and by so many personal friends, students and former students, and of course, his colleagues at Vanier. The family is happy to receive condolences on Friday, January 15, 2016 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Collins Clarke MacGillivray White Funeral Home, 307 Riverside, Saint- Lambert. The funeral service will be held Saturday, January 16 at 11 a.m. at St. Barnabas Anglican Church, 95 Lorne Avenue, Saint-Lambert. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society, the Vanier College Foundation, or a charitable organization of your choice.

Published in the Gazette January 9, 2016.

(If you have any to add, please see the info at the bottom of this page.)

The above two photos were taken at the 106th edition of the St. David's Society of Montreal's Annual
Ball in March 2009, and was from a news story from the Gazette's Society pages. This was featured
in a web page about Brian that was included in our Faculty in the News section of the Vanier website.
Brian is seen in the bottom photo second from the left.

We were all shocked to hear of Brian's sudden passing. When we returned to work in early January 2016, many of us received our "usual" Christmas card from Brian, signed by him in late December.


Taken by colleague Patti Kingsmill at an English Department party back in 2004 or 2005

This photo from 2000 shows Brian serving as moderator for a contest held by The Learning Centre.
Brian is seen in the full academic robes that he often wore. (Though rarely with the hat, too.)

(most recent ones submitted are at the top)

January 30, 2016
Brian was one of the teachers at Vanier who was so supportive of the Vanier College choral program. He (and John Preston) sang in just about every choral concert that we performed while I was choir director at Vanier (2001-2010). Brian's enthusiasm and passion for choral singing was infectious. He would often stop by my office and talk about a new choral work that he had just discovered or relate some information that he had unearthed about the choral works that we were singing at Vanier. He would always sing in the back row of the choir, making sure that the tenors and basses towed the line in rehearsals and concerts. Thanks for that, Brian! When we performed Oratorio Terezin at Place des Arts, he was so engaged in the whole process and fully entered into the experience. He loved choral music - was passionate about it. That's why it broke my heart to hear that he was unable to perform with his beloved Welsh Men's Choir this past Christmas. Brian, you are no doubt singing in a celestial choir alongside all the composers whom you so dearly loved. But we miss you.
~ Erica Phare-Bergh, Vanier College Choirs, 2001-2010

January 27, 2016
At the memorial ceremony for Brian held at Vanier's A-250 Choir Room, chief event organizer and departmental colleague Stephen Dinsmore made a touching eulogy early on in the proceedings. To read the text, just click here.

January 27, 2016
I remember Brian's warm friendliness and his liveliness as a colleague at Vanier College, English Dept. I wish to send my sincere condolences to his family.
~ Jane Shen

January 25, 2016
Joanne, c'est avec une grande tristesse que nous avons appris le décès de ton conjoint. Nous voulons t'offrir nos sincères condoléances ainsi qu'a la famille de Brian. Nos pensées sont avec toi en ces moments difficiles.
~ Linda Paradis, Montmagny, Québec

January 19, 2016
Brian's warmth, talent and charm will be missed. He could light up a room with his energy!! He cared about his students, fellow-teachers and teaching. Brian was a valued colleague and I will miss him. I hope his family will be spared further sorrow.
~ Henry Tambor, Montreal, Quebec

January 18, 2016
I am so very sad to learn of Brian's sudden passing. I have many fond memories of conversations with Brian over the years about music, English literature, teaching, and many other subjects. Brian was an extremely interesting man, and a wonderful, dedicated teacher. To Joanne I offer my deepest sympathy for your loss. Ron Headland (Vanier Music Dept. Retired)
~ Ron Headland

January 18, 2016
Brian was a wonderfully enlivening presence at Vanier and his sense of the dramatic was a great asset in the class-room. All of my best memories of Brian, however, were of him as a performer. As co-members of the Vanier Singers we sang at many college concerts and I remember the energy he put into all of our repertoire -the Hallelujah Chorus particularly. The Christmas concerts of the Welsh Male Voice Choir were often enlivened by Brian's narration of "A Child's Christmas in Wales", enhanced by a convincing Welsh accent. Then there were the Vanier Variety concerts, with his renditions of "Albert and the Lion" in a creditable Lancashire accent, followed by him cajoling us all to sing along in the choruses of Flanders and Swann's "Hippopotamus Song" -"mud, mud, glorious mud!" We will miss you very much Brian but I hope that somewhere you are caroling still.
~ Pauline Frost, ex-Vanier colleague, Quebec

January 17, 2016
So profoundly sorry to hear this. I taught with Brian at Marianopolis and met up with him for the first time in many years at a choir performance in Lancaster, just before Christmas. My husband Derek and I extend our sympathies to family, friends, and colleagues.
~ Nanette Norris, Bainsville, Ontario

January 16, 2016
I was privileged to have him as my English teacher at Vanier College a number of years ago. He was a great man and always had time to say hello. My deepest condolences to his family on the loss of Brian.
~ Angelo, Laval, Quebec

January 15, 2016
So so sorry to hear this sad news. I taught with Brian in John Abbott many years ago and our ships passed in the night several times since. He will be truly missed. My sincere condolences.
~ Shân Evans

January 14, 2016
Brian was one of the first people I'd see every morning at Vanier. He was a dear, sweet and charming fellow. I think it's fair to say Brian was one of the last true gentlemen and scholars. You will truly be missed. Rest well my friend.
~ Keith Orkusz, Montreal

January 13, 2016
I had the pleasure of meeting Brian through cricket. Brain was kind, interesting and possessed a very big heart. I was always at ease around him, while all the while being thoroughly entertained with his antics. Our conversations would range from the weather to the best forms of pedagogy, there was always something to converse about with Brian. Playing cricket at Otterburn Park (The Candy Fields) will not be the same. You are dearly missed Brian.
~ Justin Pariat, Montreal, Quebec

January 13, 2016
Dear Joanne, I was terribly saddened to hear of Brian's passing. I will always remember him acting out "Gulliver's Travels", and the image of him standing in front of my English class attempting to look like a Lilliputian fighting with Gulliver.... The image is as clear to me now as if it was happening in front of me. I will be forever grateful that the teacher who was supposed to teach us that semester needed to be replaced, because I had one of the most memorable and interesting English classes ever. My deepest condolences Joanne, and may all the beautiful messages and memories you receive provide you with some small comfort in this terribly sad time. Much love to you.
~ Meredith Jones, Montreal

January 13, 2016
I have many connections with Wales and for me one needs three things to be a consummate Welsh man: love of song, love for the country including its language and love of sport including the comradeship that brings people together. Brian had all three in spades! I particularly appreciated his desire to recognize the contributions of each member of the Welsh choir, encouraging all of us to do our very best. His enthusiasm was unsurpassed. Although we will be paying tribute to him this weekend by singing quiet and peaceful Welsh hymns I will always remember him jumping up and down encouraging the audience to sing Counting the Goats. Brian, I think you will already have them organized in their various colours, no matter where you are now.
~ John Gradwell, Beaconsfield, Quebec

January 13, 2016
I got to know Brian through the cricket team. He was a man of charm, intelligence and evident decency, taking justifiable pride in his Welsh heritage. I always looked forward to arriving at the cricket ground in the morning, where he would be already on the tractor, preparing the pitch for that day's play. He always had a friendly wave and a ready smile. I particularly appreciated his slightly conspiratorial air, as he beckoned you towards him you knew that, as he lowered his voice, the advice or idea that was he was about to impart would have been worth waiting for. It made you feel special, as if he had been waiting all week to tell you. He made you feel special. Although I knew Brian relatively briefly, I shall miss him for a long time.
~ James Quigley, Montreal, Quebec

January 12, 2016
I met Brian when the term 'new' teacher was still in use... we met in the printshop. We spoke of our shared love for British literature-- Conrad, Beckett, the Canterbury tales, stolen in part from Boccaccio... I had the pleasure to hear him sing, what a beautiful voice and I'm so very glad he read A Christmas story in December 2015. I will remember him.... my Christmas card awaits .... I cannot bring myself yet to open my mailbox knowing it is there. I saw him a week before Christmas at 8:50 in the morning, not my best time of the morning but very much his time of the day. We spoke as well... but my regret is not to have hugged him that day, I worried more about being late for a meeting than following that little voice inside that told me to hug him as I wished him from afar enjoy the Christmas break. He was taking off his scholar robes which blew in the wind. I was so saddened to hear of his passing-- he touched so many people, treated everyone with dignity and grace irrelevant of station. My condolences to his wife and parents, and all his family here and across the world. He made his mark, he left his mark, and those scholar robes blowing in the wind as he walked now walk with his spirit in the memory of all those who met him, were fortunate to be taught by him, worked with him, but most importantly walk with those he loved and cherished. May mercy and grace shine on you, Brian, and may it console in some small way those you love who mourn you now....

~ Unsigned

January 12, 2016
I met Brian just after he started at Vanier when he approached me to do some work on his stereo components friendship soon followed. One could not help but like this man. We would both arrive at Vanier very early in the morning, often the first two cars in the parking lot. Brian and I would vie for that coveted parking spot closest to the back door of C building. A half hour or so later, Brian would often scooter down to my lab for coffee and a chin-wag. We sometimes teased each other about whether the Welsh or the Scottish spoke the true Gaelic. He was a truly interesting person and I will miss him. Rwy'n filch fy mod wedi adnabod chi. Rest mewn heddwch fy ffrind.
~ David Smith, Chateauguay, Quebec

January 12, 2016
To Joanne & Family, We are deeply saddened and shocked to hear of the passing of Brian. Many of us had the pleasure of being seated with Brian at the St. Patrick's Society Ball, and he will be sadly missed. May the many happy memories you shared together as a family help ease your pain at this difficult time. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Rest in Heavenly peace Brian, you will be missed by your many friends. Sincere condolences, The President (Daniel Doyle), Executive & Membership of the United Irish Societies Pierrefonds, Quebec

January 12, 2016
My deepest sympathy to the family, friends and faculty, not to mention the students who learned to love coming to class from Brian. He made life in general and literature in particular very exciting ,very deserving of one's whole effort to improve. His presence in a faculty meeting work us up, made us care harder--whatever the topic. May his family be spared further sorrow.
~ Marcia Goldberg, Montreal

January 11, 2016
I am so sorry and shocked to hear of Brian's passing. It was only a few weeks ago that we were out on the picket line together. A couple of years ago, Brian and I would sit and chat in the teacher's union office after our morning classes. I considered him a friend and always hope that I could be kind of teacher he was. In our conversations, he was dedicated to good education and cared about his students. He enjoyed talking about his own educational experiences as a young person and I sense that ideal is what he strove for as a teacher. Well, I certainly envied his students and wished I had the time to sit in his classes. I don't think I only speak for myself when I say that he'll be missed walking through the halls in his scholar's robe. I will certainly miss him. He was kind, warm and open. My condolences to his family. I'm very sorry for your loss. Stephanie Felkai Biology
~ Stephanie Felkai, Montreal, Quebec

January 11, 2016
Brian will be greatly missed at Vanier.
~ Sophia Grabowiecka, Montreal, Quebec

January 10, 2016
I first met Brian playing cricket. It was always a pleasure to discuss all manner of things with him while waiting for one's turn at the crease, which afforded us ample opportunity as neither of us were often promoted up the order. Brain was always full of fun and critical comment in equal measure and I found him a pleasure to interact with. His best moments were when we were fielding, he had an innate resistance to be ordered around and, since there was inevitably the need for constant adjustments to the field, so too were there accompanying witticisms that made life bearable when you are in the midday sun waiting for something to happen. Brian, I will miss you. I will miss your humanity, your wit and your critical evaluations.
~ Robert Hess, Montreal, Quebec

January 10, 2016
As a member of the St Lambert Locks Old Boys I had the privilege to play rugby with Brian and against him. I met Brian through John Jones and would see him at various events, rugby tournaments and watching the Welch Choir. The St Lambert Locks Old Boys send our condolences and prayers to Brian's family in this difficult time.
~ Scott Standish, St Hubert, Quebec

January 10, 2016
I would not be the teacher I am today without having had the privilege of Brian's mentorship, kindness, and support. He was the life of our department at Vanier and his loss is irremediable. I will miss him sorely. My loving condolences to his family.
~ Katherine Collin

January 09, 2016
Our friend, our teacher, our brother. Brian was a truly extraordinary man. So generous and never asking in return. He gave so much to our cricket club and community, looking after one of the top grounds in North America, sometimes volunteering up to 12 hours a day. We shall miss him terribly but we are so proud of the time we shared. Rest in peace, brother, and thank you.
~ Angus Bell, Otterburn Park, Quebec

January 09, 2016
I was a colleague of Brian's at Vanier and I am still in a state of disbelief at his sudden passing. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife Joanne and to all his family. The attached photo was taken at the 106th edition of the St. David's Society of Montreal's Annual Ball in March 2009, and was from a news story from the Gazette's Society pages. This was all featured in web page about Brian that I included in our Faculty in the News section of the Vanier College website. RIP, Brian. Here's a link to his listing in Faculty in the News:
~ Denis Lafontaine, Saint-Laurent, Quebec

January 09, 2016
We are so shocked and saddened to hear of Brian's untimely passing. I know how much he missed the Country Scottish Dancing at the St. Andrew's Ball this year and was looking forward to participating again next year. His intelligence, friendliness and humour will be greatly missed and we understand what an overwhelming loss this is to his family. Hang in there, I am sure he did not go gentle into that good night, but raged, raged against the dying of the light. Cynthia Jones and John Limeburner
~ Cynthia Jones, Montreal West, Quebec

Note: If you have either info or photos of anyone listed on our Memorial website, we'd appreciate your sharing them with us. Send digital photos by email or hard copies by internal mail to Denis Lafontaine, N215. They will be treated with care and quickly and safely returned. You can email written memories to the following email address. Thank you.