Departed the physical world after a brief illness on a clear and bright May 18 (Victoria Day), 2020. Born in Beaumont, Long Island, in western Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland, Harold was the only son and middle of six children of the late Reverend Joseph Pliman and Charlotte Maud (Rideout) Paddock. Predeceased by his parents, parents-in-law, eldest sister Gladys Schofield, adopted brother Ernest Heath, brothers-in-law Ernie Schofield and Ward Starkes, sister-in-law Indi Guram, and close friend Edwin Short. Grateful for his long life, and that he lived to celebrate one final Spring birthday are his devoted family: loving wife of many years and best friend Pramila; steadfast son and trouting companion Mark; daughter-in-law and good luck charm Phoebe; loyal daughter and Scrabble partner Sheila; caring sisters Iris (Raymond) Pardy, Stella (Ward – deceased) Starkes, June (Garnet) Warr, Audrey (Art) Reid; brother-in-law Paul Guram; Nieces Audrey Jean, Anne, Marilyn, Karen, Jennifer, Tara and Meena; Nephews Glenn, Don, Gary, John, Paul, Todd, Ian and Owen. Also, cherished university colleagues including John Hewson, Vit Bubenik, and Larry Smith, special friends Gordon Quinton and Ralph Stewart, and those in his regular coffee group, in addition to other friends and relatives.
Educated in a one-room schoolhouse in Beaumont, he completed High School in Toronto, where his restless father had relocated the family. As a Memorial University student, he received the Governor General’s Medal for academic excellence. He was one of three Canadian Naval Officers selected to train cadets at the Ghana Military Academy in West Africa, where he taught navigation, and was Director of Studies. This was followed by a Master’s degree in Dialectology at Memorial, and a doctorate in Experimental Phonetics from the University of London, England. After teaching English at Acadia University for two years, he accepted a position in the newly-created Department of Linguistics at MUN, where he taught for 30 years. During this time, he was the recipient of several Canadian government research grants through The Canada Council and SSHRC. His research contributed to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, and he spent many years dialect mapping the province. He also completed fieldwork on English in the Wessex area of southwestern England, and on relic French in the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey. A natural teacher and passionate speaker, he encouraged his students, and in turn, was inspired by them.
He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada in 2016 for his role in founding the MUN Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador project, which serves as a significant historical and cultural record of our traditional regional dialect distribution. A published poet in both standard English and local dialects, he was a sensitive and emotional spirit with a deep appreciation of the beauty of language. His comforting presence and unique voice will be forever missed. He was raised surrounded by love, and passed this on to his own family.
Gratitude is extended to Dr. Susan King and Dr. Suzanne Drodge for their excellent care. Cremation has taken place. Due to the COVID-19 public health advisory, there will be no visitation at this time. To leave a message of condolence, please visit www.carnells.com.
In the words of one of his poems:
And I John
Alone on an island
See a New Land
Where all is alive and one,
Where the stone given in lieu of a loaf
Where the roses grown in lieu of a life
Which leap for joy
From streams of veinless blood
In the dusk