On July 6th, 2019, CILT Associate Director Ing Wong-Ward passed away from complications related to colon cancer. She will be deeply missed by all of her friends and colleagues at CILT and by the many whose lives she touched.
Ing was a fierce advocate, having spent many years challenging ableism through ground-breaking work at the CBC before coming to CILT as Associate Director in 2016. Disabled people everywhere have lost a champion and a treasured voice, and many have lost a close personal friend as well.
Below, retired CILT Executive Director Sandra Carpenter remembers Ing in a personal tribute:
“Ing passed away in her sleep at around 3 am July 6th, 2019. She is survived by her adoring and dedicated husband Tim Wong-Ward and beautiful, talented and smart daughter Zhenmei. Please send them your kindest thoughts but respect their right to privacy at this time.
For those who knew Ing, she had a 22 year history at the CBC, where she was a tireless small ‘a’ advocate for disability perspectives in the mainstream radio media. Her early years at CBC were spent as a co-host of the Disability Network (D-Net), a first ever regular program on CBC.
Imagine my delight when in late 2015, she decided to join CILT. So by January 2016 she did and not because she lost her job at CBC (which many have) but because she chose us!
Let me back track a bit. Can’t quite remember when I first met Ing but she remembers meeting me when she was 16. That would make sense because I would have been 35 and at the Ministry of Labour. I can’t remember but she remembers our meeting going past 5 and so I took her home and she thought that was very ‘cool’!
Since that time, I watched her. Us fellow SMAer’s have to stick together.
Approximately 20 years ago she actually became my neighbour. We’d often joke that if we cut a hole through the one wall we share we could all live together. I said it was a joke. Some of my attendants might have driven her crazy!
I last spoke to her on July 2nd, 2019. She wanted to thank me for everything (I have way more to thank her for) and she especially wanted to thank me for hiring her at CILT, getting her out of the CBC and making the end of her working life such a joy. She loved us all (CILT staff) and to the end expressed regret that she was not able to carry on my legacy and remain with you all, when I was retired from CILT.
The thing that haunts me is this. When I hired her and when we finalized the succession plan with her I said ‘great…now just don’t die on me’. It was said in jest and we both laughed uproariously, Because I’m close to 20 years her senior I never, never though she would die before me!
But she did die and I want everyone to know that it was not her primary disability that killed her. It was inoperable cancer. In fact she would refer to the cancer and the resulting abscess as ‘the Kraken’. We did share a dark sense of humour.
I want to leave you with a few words that were shared with me when I sent out the news.
“With style and with grace, she left her impression on this place”. Mary Belcourt..one of my attendants.
“What an unfathomable loss!” Kathleen Odell..one of my nieces. Ing was responsible for giving her a job at CILT. Her own daughter and Ing’s daughter enjoy each other’s company when they rarely see each other.
See also David Demchuk’s amazing Tweet.
Words fail us at times like these Ing, but you will be remembered by many many people for a long, long time.
CILT extends our deepest condolences to Ing’s family and loved ones. We will miss you, Ing.