Tore Grude | Alumni Stories | Fall & Winter 2021 | NEXUS Magazine | The Faculty of Law | UNB

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Tore Grude Memorial Scholarship

The Tore Grude Memorial Scholarship commemorates the life of Tore Martin Grude, a first-year student at UNB Law, who died tragically in a car accident along with classmate and girlfriend Micheline Dionne in Saskatchewan in May of 1979.

Tore was born in Stavanger, Norway to parents Jan and Elsa. He was one of four children, his two brothers, Eric and Jan (Jr.), and sister Jeanette. Tore and his family immigrated to Canada from Norway in 1956. His father was highly trained; he had a degree in hotel administration from the University of Oslo and was a master chef. Tore’s father arrived six months prior to the rest of his family, gaining employment with Canadian Pacific Hotels as an executive chef at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. Jan worked and sent money home to Norway for the next six months, until his wife and two sons could make the voyage.

Tore, along with his mother and brother Jan made the journey. They traveled from Stavanger on the West coast of Norway by ship to Bergen, from Bergen to Newcastle in England again by ship, and from Newcastle to Liverpool by rail. The trio crossed the Atlantic, travelling six days from Liverpool to Quebec City by sea before the final seven-day train ride to Vancouver, where they were reunited with Jan.

"It was a three-week trip in total," recounts Jan. "$38 and two trunks is all we had with us. My father promised my mother that this was just an adventure, and we would be in Canada for maybe two or three years. As it happens, we ended up spending a lifetime in Canada."

The family would eventually move to Schefferville, QC, where Jan would work for the Iron Ore Company of Canada, overseeing food services for all of its Northern Quebec operations. Part of the triumvirate of iron ore towns, Schefferville was an isolated community only accessible by plane or rail. Tore and his brother Jan began grade school in the town.

"It was a great place to be a kid," said Jan, "in the far north with the snow to the tops of telephone poles and the fishing and hiking in the in the summertime. This is where Tore developed his love of the outdoors."

It was the classic immigrant experience, and the mining communities were filled with people from all over the world, raising families in the new world or sending money back to those who had remained behind. The two younger siblings, Eric and Jeannette, were both born in Schefferville, but after six years in the north, the Grudes continued to follow opportunity to Prince Edward Island, then Ontario, and finally settling in Alberta. Tore was close with his brother Jan; the pair were born just 14 months apart and shared time together at school and university.

Tore attended the University of Alberta, where he graduated with his Bachelor of Arts.

"He was a diligent student, I was not," joked Jan. "He was ambitious; very focused from day one on wanting to be a lawyer, and he pursued that very vigorously. He always studied in the same place in the library and made that his place, where everybody could find him if they needed."

The decision to come to UNB Law was an easy one for Tore. He had lived for a year on PEI and had fond memories of the east coast.

"I think part of it was he wanted to get as far away from Alberta as possible," said Jan. "Not that he was unhappy at home, but he just thought it would be a little more mysterious, more of an adventure. I remember asking him where he would like to go and he said, well I've got a couple of them on my list but my number one is UNB. I said, 'that's a long way to go' and he said 'exactly.'"

Two of Tore’s classmates, Tom Mann (LLB ‘81) and Anne Caverhill (LLB ‘81) remember their friend fondly as a serious student, determined to become a lawyer, someone people were drawn to and could bring a laugh to any room. His personality was gregarious, fun, and a huge tease.

"Tore did have a soft spot for others who were more hard done by," said Caverhill. "I remember Tore’s kindness to other students who might be struggling or even simply shy. He had a very self-deprecating wit about him that made you feel immediately comfortable in his presence. He took law seriously, but he did not take himself seriously at all."

"I arrived at law school the same day as Tore in 1978," recounts Mann. "We ended up being locker mates. We were in different sections but we saw each other every day. The thing about Tore was that he was a genuine article. He was comfortable in his own skin. We joked that we weren't the Beaverbrooks, we were the latecomers."

On numerous occasions Caverhill remembers arriving at her parents’ home to find Tore already there, visiting with her parents, and staying for supper.

"He got to know my family very well, lots of Sunday dinners and visits with my mom and dad. He talked nonstop about his family. He was so proud of them, especially his brother Jan who studied labour economics, as I recall, and then another brother, Eric, who stayed in Alberta and was a farmer. By the time I met Jeannette, his sister, and her then little girl, Tara, I felt like I’d known them forever from pictures or anecdotes that Tore shared. He was immensely proud of his dad and mom; he spoke highly of his dad’s work ethic and his dear mom, who he spoke of often and with great fondness."

Tore and his large group of friends shared endless good times in that first year of law school. From many meals at the infamous Cabin to going to the movies, to memorable parties on Graham Avenue and “borrowing” Justice Wooder’s (LLB ‘81) meticulous notes from class.

Tore’s girlfriend Micheline was the daughter of the late Judge Charles Dionne (BCL ’51). Mann and Caverhill remember her as a bright scholar, a Beaverbrook recipient, who was much more reserved than Tore. She and Cathy Bird (LLB ’81) were great friends.

"Micheline was a dancer, quieter, more serious," said Caverhill "They were not a couple for very long, but they were completely besotted with each other; Tore was head over heels for her."

Caverhill sits on the selection committee for the scholarship. She enjoys meeting the applicants, thinking about who Tore would have been drawn to. He cared deeply about helping others and would want the scholarship to go to someone who was struggling, who needed a little hand up financially.

"I found myself getting emotional thinking about that tragedy," said Caverhill, "that while it happened years and years ago, it never quite leaves your psyche. Both Tore and Micheline left this world way too soon, and both of them had so much potential to offer to the legal community. They had everything going for them, except time."

Recognizing the recipient of the Tore Grude Memorial Scholarship

Since its establishment in 1980, the scholarship has been awarded to 36 deserving first year students. The 2021/22 recipient of the Tore Grude Memorial Scholarship is Amanda Parsons. The Ontario native dreamt of attending law school since she was young, but, as is the case for so many, life got in the way. It wasn’t until her father fell ill that she decided to finally follow her dream of pursuing a legal education.

"He kept reminding me that it is never too late to follow your dreams and re-invent yourself," said Parsons. "After he passed away, I mentioned to my husband that I would like to write the LSAT and take the first step in following that dream; he was 100% on board."

Amanda wrote her LSAT in January of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed her attending law school that year. Having lived in PEI for several years, she was no stranger to the Maritimes. She and her husband decided to move out east the following October with the hope of attending law school in Atlantic Canada. They moved into their new home in New Brunswick in December, and her acceptance letter to law school arrived just a few days later—the perfect housewarming gift.

"UNB Law allows me to pursue the dream of going to law school in a community that I feel is healthier for my kids to grow up in and brings me back closer to water. I absolutely love the Maritimes."

Parsons has wasted little time getting involved in the UNB Law community. She is the programming sub-committee lead for the Restorative Justice Society and the 1L executive representative for the Indigenous Law Society. She is also involved in a Pro Bono project through the PBSC.

"I hope to be able to use my law degree to help people when things fall apart. Family law is my biggest area of interest right now, followed closely with indigenous law. I would love to pursue either, both would be ideal, but is a lofty goal."

Parsons is a mature student, returning to Law School at 39 and the mother of six children—five of whom are at home.

"Having 5 kids at home plus tuition for myself and tuition for my husband, we were planning to keep the budget tight while living off of my husband’s income and our savings," said Parsons "I was most likely going to have to work full-time while in Law School which would have meant next to no time with my family."

This scholarship has allowed Amanda to drastically lower her work hours, allowing her more time to study, and more time spent with her family.

"I just want to say a huge thank you. This truly has changed my life and the life of my family. It was a big decision to come back to Law School so late in life, with so many obligations. The generosity of this scholarship has alleviated such a large financial burden that it has allowed me to be present in my children’s lives, for which I am eternally grateful."

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