Harriet Trianthe Xanthakos died on August 25, 2023. She was born on April 29, 1944 in Southbridge, Massachusetts.

Harriet was predeceased by her sister Jeanne in 2002, and her daughter Sara in 2016. She is survived by sisters Helen, Christine Xanthakos (James R.) Scrimgeour, Kay Sunday Xanthakos (Bruce Southworth), and Stella Xanthakos (Michael Malkovich); brother Harry; daughter Rebecca Simmons (Mike); and grandson David Frey.

She was a dedicated mother with many creative interests – batik, patchwork, pottery, photography – which she explored professionally before she found her calling as a Storyteller in Toronto.

She will be returned to the earth in a green burial at 11:00 a.m., on Thursday, August 31, 2023, at Royal Oak Burial Park, 4673 Falaise Drive, in Victoria, BC. A tree will be planted in the fall.

Special thanks to the staff and residents of Sunrise Senior Living Victoria, who provided her with love and laughter in her final year.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Huronia Land Conservancy or another organization devoted to preserving wild places.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

  • Jim and Chrissy Scrimgeour

    Harriet was an intelligent, caring, sensitive, creative person with a great sense of humor who believed in doing what she could to make this world a better place. We cherish the memories of quality time we shared with her in Toronto and the US — especially her visits to us in Rockport MA.

    We spent many evenings on our deck with her watching the sunset over Ipswich Bay and sharing childhood reminiscences. There were many moments of fun and laughter as the two sisters (Chrissy and Harriet) told their stories of growing up in Southbridge. And, of course, there were also long walks on the beach, tide pools to explore, scrabble games to play, a full moon to see through the trees at night, and an occasional rainbow.

    Harriet will always have a special spot in our hearts.

    With Love, Jim and Chrissy (Xanthakos) Scrimgeour

  • Chris Lee

    I’m very saddened to learn of Harriet’s passing this summer. She was a bright light that my young daughter and I looked forward to seeing every Sunday at First Unitarian in Toronto and at the farmers’ markets Her encouragement of Anabel’s budding storytelling and our regular conversations warmed my heart. We will miss her dearly.

  • Linda Dawn Pettigrew

    Harriet was a great neighbour.
    We had many poignant moments in our conversations. We talked a lot about books, music and vegetarian cooking. May she rest in peace.
    I love that she got her green burial.

  • Heather Whaley

    Harriet had the warmest, most sincere loving hugs and inspired many of us storytellers. I live in the outskirts of Toronto, but whenever I visited 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling or performed in the city she was one of the first to make me feel welcome and part of the community. May she rest in peace and grace the heavens with her beautiful soul.

  • Natasha Charles

    I wove Harriet into one of her favourite tales last Friday, because, of course, Harriet had already entered that story.

    She coached me with my first storytelling set a few years ago. Her advice was spot on. After, she fed me lunch with homemade baklava for dessert. Her voice was pure storyteller. I know that she is telling stories now.

  • Suzanne Borduas

    I am grateful for all the wonderful stories Harriet shared with her UU family in Toronto.
    It was a treat to be around Harriet.
    Suzanne Borduas & family.

  • Densmore family

    Our thoughts are filled with many fun and happy memories of Harriet. From sharing her iron to holiday game nights and plates of spanakopita and baklava, Harriet was always welcoming and generous. We will remember her as we sing the songs and rhymes from the mother goose song book. Harriet was a wonderful person, we will miss her.

    Much love,
    Joan, Opal, Alex, and Naomi

  • Farida Hewitt

    I will always remember Harriet in the Karakoram mountains. She was a great travelling companion. She even laughed when DZOs (Big Yak-cow mixtures) entered her tent and messed up her clothes!
    Rest in peace.

  • The Sabatinelli family

    Please accept our condolences to the whole wonderful family. So sorry for your loss!

  • Ed Grenke

    Sorry for your lost, Harry. Jeanne was a classmate in grammar and Hs. Third floor, corner of Rose St and Greene Av. Good neighbors to my grandparents.

  • Arthur H. Theodoss

    My Condolences to Harry and the entire Xanthakos family. I played many sports with Harry starting at Charlton St, School, Jr. H.S., AND MEW High School. Great Family.

  • Lynn (Abrahamson) Wolstencroft

    I have such fond and loving memories growing up with the Xanthakos family when we all lived in Southbridge. So very sorry for your loss. Thinking of you. ❤️

  • Karen Dunk-Green

    Harriet’s aura was entirely of peace and love. She had a way of looking at you that made you feel cherished, even on a first meeting. I have missed seeing her at church these last couple of years and now I am warmed to know she was well cared for and has returned to the earth. Thank you to all who loved and cared for her in her final years.

  • Christie Lazo(Kiki)

    Memories eternal

  • Shirley Ziu Marcin

    I had not seen Harriet since graduating from Southbridge High School in 1962. Harriet always excelled in her studies and was our senior class vice president. We went to grammar school together at Charlton Street School and we were childhood friends. My condolences to Harriet’s family. May her Memory Be Eternal.

  • kate Chung

    Harriet was a deep & gentle soul, with a mischievous smile. A friend over many years.

  • Loo Russell

    Harriet not only joy with her story telling, but there was a lot of wisdom that made you think. May the family and friends of Harriet find peace and comfort.

  • Nacia Miller

    Harriet – I have so missed seeing you at First Unitarian services and of course at choir. RIP dear one.

  • Mikal

    I love you Aunt Dodo. You will be missed!

  • Stephanie Hodnett

    I will always fondly remember singing with Harriet in our First U choir in Toronto. She had a rare mix of calm energy and joyfulness that was a delight to be around. Her eyes sparkled and she exuded love. I’m very sorry for all who loved her.

  • Rubena sinha

    I miss my sister so much , I had a dream that she came to me the light was incredible.

    I know that she is alright.

    her love will stay in my heart as longer as I live maybe beyond..

  • Shirley Gibson

    Condolences to Harriet’s family and many friends. Missing our lovely gentle friend. Many memories of meeting up, enjoying music and poetry salons together, storytelling events and informal gatherings, but also sharing in loss. Thankful to have Harriet in my life. She lives on in our memories.

  • David Bender

    Harriet made me both laugh and cry with her stories. I will deeply miss her.

  • Lynn Torrie

    Harriet was my first storytelling teacher and mentor. Not only was she a fine teller, but she did much to encourage and support the others in the storytelling community. She will be greatly missed.

  • Jo Shawyerr

    Harriet – thank you for the energy and imagination which you brought to our lives

  • Barb Carey

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Harriet was a good friend and neighbour for many years at the co-op, and I miss having her knock on my door to open a jar for her!

    May she rest in peace, and in the hearts of family and friends forever.

  • Seung Ah Kim

    May Harriet tell stories with angels in heaven! She was the one who taught me how to create joy and fun in our tough life. I will cherish all memories with her.
    Rest in peace…

  • Susan Ida Boucaud

    Many blessings to you and the family. Harriet was a very kind and compassionate person. I recall her telling wonderful stories.

  • Paul Nash

    Harriet is a gentle, loving soul who showed us how to live a caring life then left us to get on with it. Peace.

  • Stella (Donna) Xanthakos

    Thinking of my wonderful, beautiful, and talented sister with love and affection.
    Thank you, Rebecca, for providing such amazing love and care for your mom.

    Sending our love to all.

    Donna and Michael

  • Maria Ordonez

    Maria Ordonez
    Harriet will live in my heart through her wonderful stories. Her kindness, wisdom, sense of community were admirable.
    May you find peace and happiness inher memory.

  • Xanthi

    So many amazing memories – sending love ❤️. My aunt dodo taught me about hairy armpits (which my little feminist self appreciated) and I will never forget xoxo

  • Barb Simmons

    Lots of love to you Beck from all of us Simmons Telfords. Annie used Harriet’s stamps to print materials during her last year at OCAD, just one little piece of legacy there, alongside quilts and batik and so many memories. Hugs. Xoxo

  • Doreen Simmons

    She was adored ..and always will be . She brought to a simple Southern Ontario Family a whole new culture ..exciting and rich . Her Greek heritage thrilled us and we all have many, many stories and memories . I still make Stiffado for special occasions . Sooo …she will always be with us ..and vibrant ..for which we are eternally grateful . RIP my darling .

  • Susanne Shawyer

    Thinking of you all with much love. I have so many happy memories of Harriet creating and cooking and telling stories to fascinate us young cousins. May your memories of Harriet also be a blessing for you.

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