With the loss of Terry Sheard, Canadian jazz musicians are missing one of their greatest supporters.
Sheard was a lifelong jazz fan, an honorary lifetime member of the Toronto Musicians’ Association, and a member of CJRT’s board of directors for 17 years. He died Sunday at the age of 96, according to a Facebook post by his son Gordon.
“A fan since the heyday of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and others, he loved jazz in many forms, but it was as an indefatigable champion of the Canadian variety of this art form that his fandom had its greatest impact,” Gordon Sheard wrote. “He felt that our local musicians (here in Toronto, but also more broadly at the national level) deserve the highest level of recognition and respect, and he fought tirelessly to make that happen as best he could.”
Born Feb. 25, 1925, Terry Sheard spent most of his youth in Toronto, with brief stays in Montreal and Ottawa. In 1943, he joined the Royal Canadian Navy and saw active service on H.M.C.S. Barrie, among other vessels. Following the Second World War, he attended the University of Toronto and subsequently began a career in investments. He retired in 2010.
All the while, Sheard was well-known and well-liked by musicians in Toronto and across the country. “We have lost a wonderful man, a generous soul, and an ardent supporter of Canadian jazz musicians,” said Heather Bambrick.
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Sheard was estimated to have attended thousands of jazz performances over the years, and he was an outspoken advocate for the music in an individual capacity and through his work with CJRT. He was said to have privately helped finance a number of recordings, tours, festivals, concerts and education initiatives. These contributions led jazz bassist Steve Wallace and others on the music community to call Sheard “the jazz angel.”
A celebration of Sheard’s life will be held at a date and time to be announced. Members of the community may plant memorial trees in his memory by visiting sympathy.legacy.com.