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Leacock, Stephen Butler
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Stephen Butler Leacock, Ph.D , FRSC (30 December 1869 28 March 1944) was a writer and economist. Born in Swanmore, Hampshire, England, at age six he and his family moved to Canada, settling on a farm in Egypt, Ontario. Leacock was sent to Upper Canada College in Toronto, where he was top of the class and so popular he was chosen as head boy. The same year, seventeen year-old Leacock started at University College at the University of Toronto, where he was admitted to the Zeta Psi fraternity, but found he could not resume the following year due to financial difficulties.
He left university to earn money as a schoolteacher at Strathroy, Uxbridge and finally in Toronto. As a teacher at Upper Canada College, he was able to simultaneously attend classes at the University of Toronto and, in 1891, earn his degree through part-time studies. It was during this period that his first writing was published in The Varsity, a campus newspaper. He began graduate studies at the University of Chicago where he received a doctorate in political science and political economy. He moved from Chicago, Illinois to Montreal, Quebec where he became a lecturer and long-time acting head of the political economy department at McGill University.
Leacock was awarded the Royal Society of Canada's Lorne Pierce Medal in 1937 for his academic work. He turned to fiction, humour and short reports to supplement his regular income. His stories, first published in magazines in Canada and the United States and later in novel form became extremely popular around the world.
During the summer months, he lived at Old Brewery Bay in Orillia, across Lake Simcoe from where he was raised and also bordering Lake Couchiching.
Leacock was predeceased by his wife and survived by his son Stephen Jr. In accordance with his wishes, after his death due to throat cancer, he was cremated and buried at Sibbald Point in Georgina Township near his boyhood home and across Lake Simcoe from his adult summer home.
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