Heather Ann Raff (nee Burton) passed away on July 7, 2022, at her home in Toronto.
Heather was born and raised in Abbotsford, BC, then a small agricultural community outside Vancouver, attended the University of British Columbia, met her husband, Anton Raff, and moved to Montreal where she completed her MA and PhD in English at McGill University as a Canada Council Scholar. Instead of a traditional academic career, she raised her sons in Montreal, Saskatoon, and Toronto, making her mark both personally and professionally. She taught high school in Toronto (including many years at St. Joseph's College School as Head of Counseling), Saskatoon, Montreal, Italy, and Hong Kong, and taught university (most recently on-line through Queen's University), presented papers at academic conferences, and published articles, while always being there for her family.
Heather was indomitable. She worked hard, loved deeply, thought profoundly, gave generously, believed strongly in human dignity, and maintained a quiet but reverent faith. She played an outsized role in the lives of those fortunate enough to know her, including her family, her friends, her colleagues, and her students. She showed us all that one person could make a difference.
She is survived by her sons, Michael and Paul, her granddaughters, Zarina, Maya, Grace, and Sofia, her sister, Adrienne, her former husband, Anton, and many more family members in Vancouver, Victoria, and Great Britain. We miss you Mom/Grandma/Auntie/Heather.
A memorial service will be held in Toronto, and a funeral service will be held at St. James' Anglican church in Vancouver. Donations to the Terry Fox Foundation or one's charity of choice is appreciated.





August 20, 2022
Pat (Cassan) Reese
To all of Heather's dear family members, we sincerely are so very sorry . As a distant cousin on Heather's father's side - Burton Clan - I am sending my love and sympathry at this very sad time. I first met Heather at Adrienne and Andy's wedding. Later on when Adrienne was visiting in Toronto they both drove to Barrie creating wondeful memories. I shall cherish the special times spent with Heather. Bless you all. Pat. Adrienne and Heather's grandfather, Will Burton, and my grandfather, Bert Burton, were brothers.
August 16, 2022
Heather’s humanity, warmth, and kindness made the world a better place. She made friends wherever she went. It was inevitable — her genuine interest in others and her caring were impossible to resist. She was a scholar and a masterful writer. Even her articles on science, published in prestigious international journals, were infused with poetry. She was worldly, extraordinarily well read, and embraced all cultures. She appreciated art, loved to travel and learn, and found beauty wherever she went. Heather never missed an important occasion, never forgot to follow up on a loved one’s news, and her presence made every gathering welcoming and special. We will miss her tremendously, but the gift of her presence will remain with us always.
August 03, 2022
Margaret Kata
To Mrs.Raff’s Family: please accept my sincere condolences. I will always remember Mrs.Raff as a fabulous teacher of English, she was full of great ideas and enthusiasm for travel and discovering the world which she passed on to her students at St.Joseph’s College. She was elegant and kind and instilled in me a lifelong passion for travel and unique jewelry pieces. I still remember the funky rings she wore, and how she advised me to visit the markets in Rome on Sunday morning to discover interesting rings and pendants. I followed her advice and discovered many wonderful places over the years. Several years ago I ran into Mrs.Raff at a concert and it was delightful to see her , unchanged with her lovely smile. I will always remember her and remain full of appreciation for her introduction to all the wonders of the world . Respectfully, Margaret Kata, Bormio, Italy. St. Joseph’s College, 1981 - 1986.
July 24, 2022
Adriana Albanese
Heather was the head of Guidance when I taught at St. Joe's College School. She was such a lovely soft-spoken woman but I had no idea of her many accomplishments or adventures until she retired. Her obituary did her justice. My sincere condolences to your families.
July 22, 2022
I loved Heather for almost 40 years of friendship. Lucky me. ❤️🙏
July 21, 2022
Sam and Shona Izenberg
I only came to know Heather fairly recently through a chat group at Granite Place, but it did not feel that way. Her warmth, interest and intelligence made for a sense of deeper connection. Shona and I send our condolences to her family.
July 21, 2022
Mary Beth Wallace
I got to know Heather over the past few years through our book club. I knew her as a warm, smart, articulate person who loved diving into our book selections and engaging in spirited discussions with the rest of us. She was loving and thoughtful, a great hostess, and fun to be with. Heather will be sadly missed by so many. My deepest condolences to her family.
July 17, 2022
Paula Barber
Our Friday coffee group will miss Heather. She was a wonderful person who gave so generously of herself to others. Sending sincere condolences to her family.
July 17, 2022
Fredelle Brief
We will miss Heather in our Y women chats and other adventures. Her enthusiasm for learning, and her love of her family will continue to inspire us all. My her memory be for a blessing!
July 16, 2022
Greg Hobson, Fiona Ara, Natalie and Alexander
Christmas with Heather was always such a wonderful time for our family. Heather was gracious, intelligeny and empathtic. She was a wonderful, giving person.
July 15, 2022
Colette Malo
Heather became a friend through the YMCA where we were both members. She always looked for the positive in people and situations. She was smart and curious. A wonderful person
July 14, 2022
Irene and Jim Hunter
As a resident of Granite Place and a friend of Heather we send our condolences to her family