Passed away suddenly at his Toronto home in his seventy-first year. Beloved partner of forty-six years of Ann Ball; son of the late Dorothy and Constantine Comninel, brother of Mary Comninel, Pat Fisher and Bill Comninel. Fondly remembered by the extended Ball/Comninel/Brophy families (including twenty-one first cousins, twelve nephews/nieces and thirteen grand-nephews/nieces (who either loved or feared his beard)).
Born in Washington Heights, New York City, George was an enthusiastic student at P.S.173 Manhattan and the Bronx School of Science, a scholarship student at Cornell University and a graduate student at York University. George taught briefly at Western, but spent thirty years teaching at York where he also served as the Chair of York's University Senate and of the Political Science Department.
Loved by generations of students, his passion for teaching theory drew many to class after class. An egalitarian, he supervised many students, including those gifted with their own distinct approach to scholarship. George hand-wrote extensive notes on undergraduate papers and dissertations alike. The final conversation he had was with the Chair of Social and Political Thought regarding a student. A lively participant in Departmental and Administrative affairs, George stood for what he believed, but never carried a grudge. Perhaps to a fault, he always tipped his hand.
His provocative book, Rethinking the French Revolution: Marxism and the Revisionist Challenge, was widely read and reviewed. In addition to more than twenty refereed journal articles and book chapters, George wrote and gave dozens of talks, in ten countries, on the work of Karl Marx and the Marxist tradition. His main achievement in this field was the book Alienation and Emancipation in the Work of Karl Marx. His forthcoming The Feudal Foundations of Modern Europe is the outcome of a long investigation dedicated to a comparative historical overview of the development of major Western European societies, and nation states, in the early modern period.
Beyond his career and intellect, George was a warm person who impressed all who he knew; he held dear friendships reaching back as far as fifty years. He often drove those in need of a lift to Pearson or dropped them right to their door in the pre-subway days at York. Either speeding through shortcuts or sharing his thoughts on all manner of politics, he always had an upbeat story about his passengers when he arrived home. George adored cottage trips, a pint up the street at his local and any party, holiday or not. With roots in New York City, he was formed by lessons of his blended Greek/Irish families; still, he became more Canadian in the finest sense of that word. In these past two years of retirement, a full professor at last, George loved nothing more than relaxing, reading, musing, talking and writing in his Delaware Avenue home.
Finally, George really did meet Ann on the midnight train from Paris to Barcelona in 1973. George not only changed her life - and she his - but he gave her unwavering love and support. We are left heart broken; but remember him thus. George, loving and loved, was a mensch of the highest order.
A Celebration of Life will be held in December 2022.