Douglas William Knott

06-Jun-1934 - 30-Apr-2023

Obituary Overview

Forever in Our Hearts

Douglas (Doug) William Knott passed away on Sunday, April 30, 2023, at the Dorothy Ley Hospice in Toronto, Ontario, surrounded by his loving family. He was 88 years old.

Doug was born in Toronto on June 6, 1934, to parents Margaret and William. He grew up and attended elementary and secondary school in Ottawa and Kingston.

Doug believed deeply in the power of education, spending his career as a teacher, principal, unionist, and activist. He was both an educator and a lifelong learner.

Doug began his teaching career with the Metropolitan Separate School Board in 1959, teaching on a Letter of Permission. Following teaching education, he taught at the Windsor Separate School Board for two years, during which time he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Windsor. He returned to Toronto and the Metropolitan Separate School Board in 1964, where he taught and was principal for 7 years.

Doug became involved in the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) in 1965, when he was elected to the executive and immediately became a member of the negotiating team. Between 1965 and 1970, he served as both chairperson and chief negotiator of the Local Economic Advisory Committee in Toronto and as chairperson of the Provincial Economic Committee. He served as president of the Metro unit for one year, between 1970 and 1971.

In 1971, Doug joined the provincial staff of OECTA, as coordinator of the Teacher Welfare collective bargaining services of the Association. He was proud to have helped lead the first walkout of teachers in Ontario in December 1973, an event that shut down nearly every school in the province. Addressing then-Premier Bill Davis, he was quoted as saying: “Come down from Queen’s Park and explain why the children are suffering as a result of your policies.”

In 1975, Doug was appointed Deputy General Secretary of OECTA, became a full-time member of the Provincial Executive, and assumed the duties of coordinator of Professional Development. In 1985, he relinquished his roles as coordinator of Teacher Welfare and Professional Development and devoted himself full-time to the duties of Deputy General Secretary.

He retired from OECTA in 1989, earning a Canadian reputation as a leader of teacher organizations, public education policy development, collective bargaining, leadership development, and political lobbying. He was proud to have also served as a Fellow of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and as a member of the Board of Governors of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Following his departure from OECTA, Doug opened D.W. Knott & Associates, a management consulting firm that specialized in human resource development, labour management relations, public education administration, and public affairs strategies.

As a professional, Doug was a mentor to many. He was a strong leader that believed in the greater good.

Doug’s personal life was just as important as his professional one.

Doug is survived by his wife Monica (nee Mason); his daughters Moira, Kathleen, and Gemma and step-children Mary and Matthew; grandchildren Patrick, Moira, Kevin, James, Niamh, Mykael, Quentin, Kailen, and Marina; and great-granddaughter Scarlett. 

Doug enjoyed reading, traveling, nature, the Toronto Blue Jays, and spending time with his family and friends.

He was thoughtful and idealistic. He enjoyed writing pointed letters to politicians and newspapers demanding accountability and social justice. He had strong opinions but was never close-minded. Being an activist was highly important to him.

Doug was a connector. He was gregarious and naturally skilled at making and keeping in contact with his friends and acquaintances. He occupied space in many different worlds and took pride in bringing similar and like-minded people together.

Doug was altruistic and a changemaker. He believed that we have a collective, humanitarian responsibility to act as stewards of the planet. He understood climate change to be a wicked, but not impossible, problem.

Doug was a proud father and grandfather and made a special effort to be involved in anything that his grandchildren were passionate about. “G-Dad” was his nickname. From academia to sports to arts, their passions were his, too. His only expectations of his grandchildren are that they strive for excellence in their personal and professional lives, and use their privilege and position to improve the lives of others.

His grandchildren will fondly remember family breakfasts’ at the Dundas Street Grille and his forever parting gift, a pack each of Juicy Fruit chewing gum. They will also cherish that he attended all of their functions and sports activities, even signing up as the assistant soccer coach.

In his last months, Doug received exceptional care from incredible teams at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, the Krembil Brain Institute at Toronto Western Hospital, Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, Trillium Health Partners, and the Dorothy Ley Hospice. He was grateful for all of the healthcare workers who cared for him, expressing solidarity in their fight for fair wages.

Doug will be missed by all those that loved him.

For those unable to attend the service, please join the family via livestream by accessing the link below:

Livestream Link

Please take a moment to share memories and photos or offer a message of condolence to the family by using the virtual guestbook.

Funeral Details

  • Visitation

    Glen Oaks Funeral Home & Cemetery

    Event Times:

    05-May-2023 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

  • Celebration of Life

    Glen Oaks Funeral Home & Cemetery

    Event Times:

    05-May-2023 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

  • Burial

    Glen Oaks Cemetery

    Event Times:

    05-May-2023 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

More Details & Directions

Condolences from family and friends

Posted by Mary Ellen Carey | 09-May-2023

Monnie, my deepest sympathy on the death of Doug. Regretfully, I was unable to be present for his Celebration as I was out of town for another Celebration of Life. I first met Doug in 1969, as a staff member of OECTA and our paths crossed many times in the ensuing years. Indeed he was a man of integrity, deep concern for teachers and students as well as thoughtful and caring of those in need. How you will all miss him. But he is at peace now, free from suffering, and he has left us his example and invitation to be better people.

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Posted by Margaret Freill | 08-May-2023

My husband Bob Freill and I first met Doug at a family wake in Oakville. It was a delightful conversation. He kept in touch and shared some family history that enriched the Family Tree. Doug was such humble person and left us with very good memories. Peace to all the families. Margaret Mowry Freill

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