It's a terribly sad day here. I woke up to word that Dr. Priscilla Renouf passed away early this morning. Priscilla was one of my MA thesis supervisors at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The opportunity to learn from Priscilla was one of the biggest reasons that I came to Newfoundland and Labrador to study. The experience that I had at MUN under her guidance and the opportunities that she provided to me after I graduated convinced me to stay.
I always meant to tell a story about Priscilla from the field when she retired, but she passed too early, before she could savour the sort of retirement that archaeologists enjoy, working on the problems and papers that they never had the time to explore earlier. In 1997, when I did my fieldwork in Burgeo, Priscilla was the sponsor on my permit application from the Provincial Archaeology Office. I had to check in with her midway through the season, so I took everything that I had found and drove up to see her on the northern peninsula. I stayed for a week and when I got there she was looking through the local paper, the Northern Pen, at a story they had just been published on her field season at Port au Choix. It was accompanied by a terrible photo of her. A really, really bad photo, like she was caught in the middle of a sneeze or something. She, like anyone, was mortified and probably would have thrown out all the copies she could find, save for the fact that the incorrect name was printed in the caption. She was unrecognizable in the picture and misidentified in the caption, so the plan became to just say nothing about it for the week and hope that no one outside the crew would even realize who the crazy person in the photo was. She endured the week. I helped out around the site and she gave me the feedback I needed on my own project and just as I was about to leave town, the new Northern Pen arrived. It was full of new photos and new stories and no one would ever remember that horrid old photo. Except... the paper had caught the error in the caption and reprinted the photo, now with sincere and bold apologies to Dr. Priscilla Renouf for their mistake in misidentifying her the first time around.
I so wanted to find those two editions of the paper and bring them out at her retirement. This just isn't the same. I'm going to miss her greatly and I know that all her former and current students, colleagues, friends, and family will too.
The Globe and Mail, April 23, 2014: Priscilla Renouf dug up clues to Newfoundland's early history.
Inside Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeology, April 14, 2014: Dr. Priscilla Renouf
Government of Canada SSHRC Press Release, April 7, 2014: Passing of Council Member Priscilla Renouf
Canadian Press (MetroNews): Respected Newfoundland Archaeologist Dies
VOCM News: Celebrated Archaeologist Passes Away
House of Assembly; Statement by the Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Recreation, April 7, 2014 Renowned Archaeologist Remembered for her Outstanding Contributions:
The Telegram, April 4, 2014: MUN Mourns Loss of Archaeologist Priscilla Renouf
MUN.CA: This week I was going to write about other things, but I am sadly distracted today by the passing of a colleague, Dr. Priscilla Renouf by Dr. Noreen Golfman
In Memorium: Priscilla Renouf
Caul's Funeral Home: Dr. Priscilla Renouf
Photo Credit: https://www.mun.ca/research/explore/chairs/renouf.php