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Leilani Muir (O'Malley)



It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Leilani Marietta Muir (O’Malley) at her home in Devon, Alberta, on March 14, 2016. She is survived by her beloved dog Peggy Sue, and her friends and family.

Leilani lived in anonymity during her childhood, hidden from the world at the Provincial Training School for Mental Defectives (PTS) in Red Deer after years of abuse from her mother. Despite many traumatic early experiences, she grew to become an extraordinary person who made a significant contribution to human rights in Alberta.

Leilani came to the world stage in 1995 when she pursued a successful legal action against the Alberta government for wrongful sterilization under Alberta’s Sexual Sterilization Act. Her unwavering bravery in her own case opened the door to class action lawsuits for many other sterilization survivors and helped to reduce the sense of shame and the stigma of having been in the PTS.

In her charismatic and generous fashion, she kept her story alive in film, public speaking engagements and her 2014 book A Whisper Past: Childless After Eugenic Sterilization in Alberta. As part of the Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada project, she worked with other activists and researchers to protect human rights and collect data on the province’s eugenic history. She was designated a “Game Changer” by CBC’s The Current program and was the focus of the 1996 NFB documentary The Sterilization of Leilani Muir, and 2012 play The Invisible Child.

Leilani knew the power of her personal story, but suffered each time she told it. Reliving her childless past was the price she paid for the betterment of future generations. She wanted to make sure one dark chapter of Alberta history would never be repeated.

Leilani was the living embodiment of kindness. She was deeply committed to the safety of children and animals, including her beloved Peggy Sue. Despite the terrible treatment she received from her mother, she was able to forgive and see how her mother too had been shaped by adversity. In doing so, Leilani remained true to her own heart.

A Celebration of Leilani’s Life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home, 10011–114 Street, Edmonton, with Father James Holland officiating.

In lieu of flowers it is asked that attendees honour Leilani’s life work to end bullying and abuse by wearing something pink.

In Loving Memory of
Leilani Muir (O'Malley)
(Maiden: Draycott)
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Funeral Service:
Celebration of Life
Saturday, April 16, 2016
2:00 PM
Downtown Chapel
10011 - 114 Street
Edmonton, AB
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