All Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M Mc N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z Welcome Home
Local Folders.. A B C D E F G H I J K L M Mc N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
-1 +1

"CSI" 2007 Obituary


CSILLAG  CSIMA 

CSILLAG o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-07-02 published
She was the First Anglican woman elected a parish warden in Toronto
Raised in 11 foster homes, she became a teacher and counsellor who championed the rights of aboriginal people, immigrants, gays, the poor and the marginalized long before it was trendy
By Ron CSILLAG, Special to The Globe and Mail, Page S10
Toronto -- You'd think being shunted from one foster home to another would make a person hard. Helen GOUGH -- born illegitimate at a time when that was a stigma -- spent her childhood in no fewer than 11 foster homes, and emerged a gentle but tenacious advocate with an outsized social conscience that was fired by her mentor, Jesus. "Whatever I did, I did it as a Christian," she wrote in the preface to her unpublished memoirs. "I was a Jesus freak. I wanted to lead that kind of life."
In doing so, Ms. GOUGH "turned the Gospels upside down [by] turning those who were down, up," eulogized Rev. Sara BOYLES, priest at Ms. GOUGH's beloved Holy Trinity Church in downtown Toronto. "Helen turned the world upside down."
She did that, against all odds, by excelling in the so-called helping professions: Teaching, counselling and activism for aboriginal people, immigrants, gays, the poor and the marginalized. She stood up for their rights long before it was trendy, often forsaking her own fragile psyche.
Far from being a household name, except perhaps within the Anglican Church's more progressive elements in Toronto, Ms. GOUGH would not have minded being labelled ordinary, though she was far from it. "It's ordinary people, ordinary women, who have done much of what it took to make this nation what it is," she stated not long ago. "Ordinary people with extraordinary courage. Whatever else I am, I'm a Canadian. I'm a Canadian woman."
She was the first woman elected a parish warden in the Anglican Church of Canada's Toronto diocese, in 1971.
Her mother, also named Helen GOUGH, play a pivotal role in her fatherless and husbandless life. The elder Ms. GOUGH, who died in 1981, had been a Barnardo child, one of some 30,000 sick, destitute or orphaned British children shipped to the colonies as "seedling citizens of the British Empire" by English philanthropist Thomas Barnardo to work on farms or as domestics. (Between 600 and 1,000 children were sent to Canada from the late 1800s to 1915.)
Helen senior, with still-fresh memories of time spent in an actual English poorhouse, arrived in Southern Ontario in 1912 as a 10-year-old, together with her younger brother, Arthur. She toiled as a servant at seven different places until she turned 18, surviving on the cheapest foods and not once being allowed to use an indoor toilet.
On her own in Toronto, she found work as a clerk at the Hospital for Sick Children, and soon fell in with a crowd that included a handsome, suave clothing salesman from Stratford. When she became pregnant, he denied all knowledge of her, as advised by his uncle, a judge. It wasn't until the younger Ms. GOUGH was in her late 40s that she discovered her father's identity; he had become a fat drunk and died of a coronary when he was 60.
Too poor to raise her daughter, the elder Ms. GOUGH, by this time a live-in domestic, appealed to Catholic Children's Aid. (The child's father was Catholic.) But if the agency took the child in, she would be raised in an orphanage as a Roman Catholic. Her mother declined. "It must have taken tremendous courage for a woman to do that in 1930, and she was one of many who simply refused," her daughter later wrote.
Instead, her mother turned to the Children's Aid Society, which transferred the sickly baby to a woman whose sole task was to nurse sick infants back to health. Then came long years of foster care at nearly a dozen places, during which mother and daughter saw each other only intermittently. By the age of eight, young Helen had already attended Baptist, United and Roman Catholic churches, but made up her mind that the Anglicans were for her. She finally went to live with her mother when she was 15.
Ms. GOUGH's first taste of overt racism came while she worked as a teenaged waitress one summer at the Pearson Hotel on Centre Island. As she recalled, a short, self-important Englishman working in the kitchen informed a Chinese dishwasher: "I'm not taking any orders from a bloody Chink!" The Chinese man, a foot taller, brought the dish he was holding down on the man's skull. The plate shattered, and the blood coursed down the small man's head. Both were fired, and the incident stayed with her forever.
She was 19 when she befriended Gerry O'DONOGHUE of Toronto (later Gerry RANSOM,) whose family adopted Ms. GOUGH as one of their own, and whose daughter Beverley was Ms. GOUGH's goddaughter.
The same year, Ms. GOUGH graduated from Toronto Teachers' College and went to teach near Port Credit, Ontario That was followed by four years of teaching status Indians and Métis at an "Indian Day School" in Moose Lake, southeast of The Pas, Manitoba
Life was primitive and harsh, but for Ms. GOUGH, it was happily reminiscent of the Girl Guides camps she'd attended as a child. The three teachers took turns doing the three main chores: one week each on cooking, cleanup and "wood and water."
It was here that she became smitten with the shy aboriginal children, and impressed with their determination to learn English. (There is no mention in Ms. GOUGH's memoirs of church-run residential schools, where native children underwent horrific abuses that led to multimillion-dollar legal payouts decades later.) After teaching catechism and assisting with church services, she returned to Toronto to deepen her spirituality by studying at the Anglican Women's Training College. One summer, she took a job with the federal government's Indian Affairs department teaching at an Ojibwa-Cree settlement in Bearskin Lake, Ontario
In 1960, she began as an "Indian liaison worker" in the Toronto diocese, helping aboriginals access "white" social service agencies. It was half-time initially, "since no one really believed there were Indians in Toronto," she would recall. She was a pioneer of the first native centre in Toronto, and proudly outed a co-worker who had referred to Ms. GOUGH's client as "dirty and drunken&hellip you know, a typical Indian."
The man who had made the remark "was not happy about being exposed, but it was a great moment of insight for me," she remembered. "It's important to speak truth to power when we are in positions to do so. If we don't, who will?"
Around this time, Ms. GOUGH noticed that she was prone to periodic bouts of depression, preceded by highs that dropped to debilitating lows, and an inability to control either. The condition led her to years of psychotherapy and such treatments as psychodrama, bioenergetics and Arthur Janov's primal therapy, during which she began to face the pain of separation she'd experienced as a child.
She went into social service work for the diocese, mainly on housing conditions in Toronto, before returning to school at 35 to earn a B.A. at York University. She confessed that it was the worst experience of her adult life. With a D average, "I was so ashamed, I didn't go to my graduation or tell my mother about it until much later." Despite that, she returned to York a decade later to earn a master's degree in English, with honours, and an essay prize.
Meantime, there was a flurry of action in Toronto: In 1968, she was one of the original activists to develop Alexandra Park Co-op, today a 410-unit housing project in downtown Toronto (she worked alongside June Rowlands, who went on to become mayor of Toronto). She then worked for the Young Women's Christian Association, finding rooms for Caribbean domestics, before taking a job for 17 years with the Toronto Board of Education, working extensively with immigrant parents. Her involvement with the Riverdale Intergenerational Project brought seniors into schools as volunteers.
She embraced gay rights through what she called a particularly Anglican resolution: "All may, none must and some ought." Tall, gangly and sometimes physically awkward, she denied being a lesbian, "although I feel more comfortable with women than men. If you grow up in a series of homes, you don't learn to establish primary relationships. There were boys I really liked but I saw myself as plain. I was a wallflower at dances and very bookish. I made good secondary relationships, but primary ones [were] much more difficult."
In retirement, she seemed to accelerate, taking up travel, river rafting, voice lessons and photography. She produced pictures that testified to an almost child-like wonderment about the natural world.
She saw her mission through a simple lens: If she was going to do anything as a Christian, it was to respond to society's dispossessed. "I was not there to hold office," she reasoned, "but to meet people on the ground."
Helen Noreen Honora GOUGH was born in Toronto on November 21, 1930, and died there of cancer on June 1, 2007. She was 76. According to her wishes, only men washed her body prior to burial. She leaves her adoptive family, the Ransoms, and many Friends and admirers.

  C... Names     CS... Names     CSI... Names     Welcome Home

CSILLAG o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-07-21 published
Canada's pre-eminent dermatologist refused to take no for an answer
She overcame the twin 'congenital anomalies' of being a Jew and a woman by entering medical school and becoming the country's best skin specialist
By Ron CSILLAG, Special to The Globe and Mail, Page S10
Toronto -- She was a mere slip - a hair over five feet tall, maybe 50 kilos - from a small Prairie town in the middle of nowhere, and was once told she suffered from two "congenital anomalies" that ensured her failure. Even so, people who knew Doctor Ricky Kanee SCHACHTER somehow lose their inhibitions when they describe her (not in so many words) as having had balls. She didn't just open doors for women in medicine, she kicked them down.
Diminutive in physical stature, a giant in her field and the definition of moxie, Doctor SCHACHTER was among Canada's pre-eminent dermatologists, and tallied several firsts: She was the first woman to head an academic division of dermatology in Canada, the first female president of the Canadian Dermatology Association (thus the first woman in Canada to lead specialists in her field) and was the first female to win the Canadian Dermatology Foundation's Practitioner of the Year award, in 2005.
As a woman and a Jew, she overcame tremendous obstacles at a time when being either, never mind both, meant that higher education was difficult, if attainable at all. But "these men and their rules," as she once put it, were not going to stand in her way. She became more determined than ever to become a doctor.
Her stunning success meant breakthroughs in the treatment of her specialties, scleroderma and psoriasis. In 1976, Doctor SCHACHTER established the Psoriasis Education and Research Centre, renamed four years ago the Phototherapy Education and Research Centre at Women's College Hospital in Toronto, the first of its kind in Canada.
Believing she could improve psoriasis sufferers' quality of life on an out-patient basis - that people were more or less capable of taking care of themselves - she first had to convince Ontario's Health Ministry that ambulatory care was more cost-effective than keeping patients in hospital. Her son, Doctor Daniel SCHACHTER, also a dermatologist, said her vision was to provide treatment that did not disrupt patients' daily lives and which stressed self-care - years before the concept existed. The facility remains one of the largest centres of its kind in Canada, and treats about 30,000 visitors annually. It has revolutionized the way some chronic skin diseases are treated.
"She empowered nurses in a way they were never empowered before to become not only caregivers but educators," noted Doctor Neil SHEAR, professor of dermatology at the University of Toronto. "She designed a clinic where people take responsibility for their own care. That has a huge impact on patient outcome.
"Ricky was not only the right person, but in the right place to really deliver a model of care that, even 30 years later, is still innovative and cutting-edge."
In 1991, the Ricky Kanee Schachter Dermatology Centre was opened at Women's College Hospital to treat and educate ambulatory patients, after six years of fundraising. (Her reaction to the campaign's establishment: "I thought I'd faint. I'm basically a shy person.") Shy maybe, but definitely dogged, a trait acquired from her immigrant parents - Russian father, Sam, and Austro-Hungarian mother, Rose - who came to Canada to escape the anti-Semitism of Europe. They had six children - the first died in childbirth - with Ricky their only daughter.
Sam KANEE had arrived in 1903 to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway. He settled in Melville, Saskatchewan., opened a general store and eventually went into the grain business to establish the successful Soo Line Mills.
Young Ricky had two role models as a child: her old brother Ben, who went to Columbia University to study dermatology, and her mother, who lovingly tended Ricky's younger brother Harry, who had cerebral palsy. Harry, who died at 16 of chicken pox, couldn't speak, and Rose KANEE taught him to communicate through magazine pictures.
Her other brothers were no slouches: Abe KANEE was an executive with Soo Line Mills. Sol KANEE, who died in April, practised law in Melville and was a former president of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He also formed the first small-loans bank, served on the board of the Bank of Canada longer than anyone and founded the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
Ricky, meantime, had skipped several grades, graduated from high school at 14, and announced her plans for university. Her father, an otherwise progressive man, countered that she would be taking up a place for a man, and wanted his daughter to get married and start a family. Ricky threatened that she would never get married until she had a university education. Her father scraped together the money.
She enrolled at the University of Manitoba, where she had her first encounter with anti-Semitism - an "awakening," as she put it in a 1995 published interview. "There was a sign in the women's locker room: 'You Jews have taken over Winnipeg Beach but we don't want you in our locker room.' " She transferred to the University of Saskatchewan where the dean informed her that all the universities in Canada, except in Halifax, had filled their quota of Jews. Six weeks before her final exams, despite being among the top three students, she was told she had to take an IQ test. She refused. Then she was told she couldn't graduate because she lacked a credit in physical education. "So while everybody else was studying, I learned how to swim."
She completed two years in one and, armed with a degree in science (and a swimming badge), she set out for medical school at the University of Toronto. In her only interview with the dean of medicine she was told there was no place for her because she had two congenital anomalies: She was a woman and Jewish.
"What a silly man," she recalled. "I don't think I ever spoke to him again. He didn't know how I felt about medicine. He didn't know how hard my parents worked to send me to university. He didn't know about my brother Ben. And he didn't know I had already been accepted at U of T."
In 1942, she married Benjamin SCHACHTER, a University of Toronto biochemist who was researching female sexual hormones, and graduated the following year. That was followed by two years of postgraduate training in dermatology at Columbia University in New York. Her association with Women's College Hospital began in 1946, and in 1961 she was appointed associate professor in the University of Toronto's faculty of medicine.
She challenged tradition, her grand_son Jonathan, 23, eulogized at her funeral. One of her patients, a nun, had developed a scalp condition from her veil, so in 1959, she wrote the Pope to complain about the dress code for nuns. "Boba got a response, though not from the Pope directly, granting permission for the nun to dress appropriately to cure her condition." A few years later, Jonathan added, the dress code for nuns was relaxed amid other reforms of the Second Vatican Council. "She was by no means an ordinary grandmother, nor an ordinary Jew or woman for that matter, but she was a fiercely driven person who could do whatever she wanted."
That didn't mean she was hard. Health care, poverty and the disparity between rich and poor were her greatest concerns, and her family her greatest love (the names of her children and grandchildren are on page one of a 24-page curriculum vitae).
"I learned so much from how she practised, how she handled patients [and] got to know them all exceedingly well," said Doctor Vera PRICE, who'd been a teenaged patient of Doctor SCHACHTER's, and later shared her practice.
"To this day I insist that all my residents and fellows get to know who they're treating. You have to know how to relate to them… I certainly got this from her," added Doctor PRICE, who now teaches medicine at the University of California in San Francisco. "[Patients] knew she loved them. She could be very strict and not mince her words, but the tremendous caring was there."
Among her many honours were the 1994 Award of Merit from the Federation of Medical Women of Canada, a 1995 award from the Women's Dermatologic Society, and in 1998, induction into the Order of Canada.
She retired several times, beginning in 1985, and stepped down from teaching when she reached 65. "No problem," she pronounced in 1995. "I just haven't accepted any salary for teaching the past 11 years."
Asked once about the best advice she ever received, she replied: "Don't take no for an answer - and I have passed it on to many people."
Ricky Kanee SCHACHTER was born in Melville, Saskatchewan., on December 23, 1918. She died in Toronto on July 1, 2007. She was 88. Her husband, Benjamin SCHACHTER, died in 2001. She is survived by her children, Doctor Daniel SCHACHTER and Bonnie DRUXERMAN. She also leaves grandchildren Reva, Jonathan, Jesse and Cobi.

  C... Names     CS... Names     CSI... Names     Welcome Home

CSILLAG o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-10-27 published
His BamBoo club transformed the nightlife of restrained Toronto
Onetime freelance writer and his business partner took an abandoned laundry and turned it into the cornerstone of Toronto's funky Queen Street West scene through the 1980s and 1990s
By Ron CSILLAG, Special to The Globe and Mail, Page S11
Toronto -- Richard O'BRIEN was the arbiter of cool in a city that never stops obsessing over its image. Only he dared to pair plates of redolent Thai spicy noodles and feverish jerk chicken, washed down with a Tusker lager or two, with the throbbing beat of a Zairean soukous band.
Maybe he was crazy like a fox, for the marriage between exotic world music and Asian/Caribbean cuisine kept Toronto's landmark BamBoo club pulsating for nearly 20 years. As The Globe noted five years ago this month, when the BamBoo finally shuttered its fabled doors, "long before the Gap and Starbucks sent Queen Street West spiralling into a retail frenzy, stopping in at the BamBoo for a beer or a bite was a rite of passage for city residents and out-of-towners alike."
Indeed, the decidedly unslick 'Boo (once described, though lovingly, as "a carefully crappy-looking dive") was the cornerstone of Toronto's funky Queen Street West scene through the 1980s and 1990s, showcasing cutting-edge reggae, funk, R&B, Latin, jazz and soul acts, and hosting some of the wildest private parties staid Toronto had seen. The eclectic kitchen staff, meantime, cranked out signature Caribbean, Indonesian and Thai dishes that kept the joint at the top of virtually every "best-place-to-eat" list in the city since the day it opened.
The music was loud, the place usually packed (and sweltering), the food piquant and the atmosphere laid-back and aggressively Third World. It worked.
In the days before random club shootings and refrigerator-sized bouncers, the BamBoo was more a community centre for artists and musicians. "And it was an awesome community," recalled Lorraine SEGATO, lead singer for the long-defunct Parachute Club, which played the BamBoo in July, 1983, to celebrate their debut release, a month before the club officially opened.
(As Patti HABIB, Mr. O'BRIEN's friend and business partner for some 30 years, recalled with some satisfaction, the place that night "was jammed to the rafters, and it was totally illegal. We had no liquor license and no running water. You'd never get away with that kind of stuff today.")
What fascinated Ms. SEGATO about the BamBoo was its timing. Toronto "was just starting to bust out in terms of a cultural product that was coming from all the immigrants. So the music scene was really ripe."
"The timing was really extraordinary," she said wistfully. "It was a confluence of energies. More importantly, it was home to so many people who considered themselves either artists or, you know, different. The 'Boo was this safe haven."
That's precisely how Mr. O'BRIEN and Ms. HABIB planned it.
"Richard never turned down artists or musicians," Ms. HABIB said. "People felt the BamBoo was their home because it was a very relaxed atmosphere. No women ever had to feel scared. We never had fights. It was a very warm place."
A bearish man who bore a striking resemblance to film director Francis Ford Coppola and favoured retro Hawaiian shirts, Mr. O'BRIEN could be sarcastic and cantankerous (his favourite expressions were, "Is everybody mental around here?" and "What's the big deal?"). He was also gregarious and passionate, an unabashed party animal and a lover of the arts. Even as a child, he showed interest in art and theatre, said his 97-year-old mother, Catherine O'BRIEN.
Adopted when he was four years old, he was a product of Toronto's Catholic schools. At 17, he and a buddy hopped on a motorcycle to see a girl in North Carolina. Mr. O'BRIEN kept going, and wound up in California in 1965. He bummed around, studied writing and broadcast journalism, and played drums in a small jazz club in San Francisco, where such giants as Miles Davis and McCoy Tyner dropped in to record. Four years after leaving, he returned to Toronto, sold some drawings and freelanced articles to newspapers.
He went to work for TVOntario, then the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where he got to interview reggae icons Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.
In the late 1970s, Mr. O'BRIEN started hosting a popular Toronto booze can, the Dream Factory (where his friend Marcus O'Hara launched the annual Martian Awareness Ball to coincide with St. Patrick's Day. Little green men - get it?)
With Ms. HABIB, he also ran one the city's hippest speakeasies, the legendary MBC. A lot of people joked that it meant "My Booze Can," but the name was a playful dig at the inability of Mr. O'BRIEN and some Friends to buy the nearby Embassy Tavern. MBC, open only on Mondays and Thursdays, was a hit, featuring live music until 6 a.m. with acts that included Rough Trade with Carole Pope.
"We didn't just start a club with no background," Mr. HABIB pointed out. "We had been doing different events around the city and compiling a mailing list."
The two also frequented a rooftop after-hours boîte called the Paper Door, where Bruce Cockburn and Murray McLaughlin were regular acts. Significantly, it looked down onto a dumpy building that had had housed a Chinese laundry for 80 years but was used to store wicker furniture.
"It was the most derelict place," Ms. HABIB recalls with a laugh. "It was condemned, had no running water, no heat and no floor to speak of. But we said, 'Wouldn't it be a fabulous place to throw a party?' "
To their surprise, the space was for rent, and in 1982, "Richard, not me, put a [$2,500] deposit down on six-months' rent, thinking he could build a club." The couple had three months to renovate about 1,500 square metres of space.
Investors were brought in but money was short. The couple set up a flea market of Christmas trees in an event dubbed "Tree and Flea." Banks turned them down for loans, so another group of investors came in with the funds needed to finish the job, but charged a mob-like interest rate of 100 per cent over two years (successfully paid).
Meantime, nothing in the club was new. The lime-green wrought-iron front gates came from a wrecking company, and the banquette seating was from the Drake Hotel. Toilets were bought for $50 from a pinball parlour that was going under. The bar was salvaged from an Irish social club in Buffalo.
After $85,000 in renovations, the place opened on August 26, 1983, and was christened the BamBoo as a tribute to its former incarnation. There were lineups almost right away.
"It was always full," recalled Fergus Hambleton, lead singer for Toronto's poster band for reggae, the Sattalites, who became regulars. "It was partially that we're fabulous," Mr. Hambleton said half-jokingly, "but other than that, it was also a time when that club was right and the whole Queen Street thing was developing."
In Toronto, the 'Boo was to the eighties music scene what the El Mocambo was in the seventies or the Riverboat in the sixties. On any given night, one could hear a Nigerian-style juju group, a West African highlife act, ska, or a soca (soul calypso) band. Sometimes, jazz greats Buddy Rich and DIzzy Gillespie would follow reggae giants Bunny Wailer and Toots and the Maytalls.
The club couldn't have a liquor license unless it served food, so veteran chefs Vera KHAN handled the Caribbean fare, while Wandee YOUNG did the Thai cooking. Both put their stamp on a 1997 cookbook, The BamBoo Cooks. And rumour had it that rocker David Bowie simply had to have the BamBoo's ka kai soup whenever he was in town.
It all made Mr. O'BRIEN, in the eyes of Ms. HABIB, "really, really brave. When you're in his circle of people, 'no' doesn't come into your repertoire. I had to be dragged into this circle of the BamBoo, but when Richard was around, the possibilities were endless. He'd think big, act big, and I think that takes a fairly brave person."
Mr. Hambleton had a similar take. "Everybody at some point had a screaming argument with Richard because he just had a big personality. He brought an artistic flair to everything he did. He had a prodigious knowledge of all cultural things. He blustered. But at the bottom was this creative personality that was driven to share."
In 2000, Mr. O'BRIEN suffered a debilitating stroke that caused paralysis on his left side and put him in a wheelchair. The end of the BamBoo came in the summer of 2002, when the building's landlord announced he'd rented the space to another tenant, and gave the club 90 days to vacate. There was a final farewell bash, "Boo Hoo" on October 31 that year. Mr. O'BRIEN wasn't all that upset. "He thought it was a good sign to get out of Queen Street," Ms. HABIB said.
Besides, she'd been thinking of selling the place. "It was just too much running a club at night, especially by myself."
Months later, Mr. O'BRIEN became restless, and in March, 2003, he and some partners unveiled Bambu By The Lake, an even larger club/restaurant on Toronto's waterfront. "I really loved the old BamBoo," he explained in an interview, "but this really makes me forget it quick. We took the best of the old parts of the old BamBoo and incorporated them."
His involvement in the new venture lasted six months. According to Ms. HABIB, he lost everything, save for his Toronto Islands house, which he'd mortgaged to the hilt.
His final contribution to the city was an attempt to beautify the islands' grim concrete ferry terminal. He re-learned to use a computer well enough to Photoshop his colour-splashed ideas into the landscape, and called it Terminal Art.
Mr. O'BRIEN suffered a second massive stroke earlier this month. His last words were, "What's the big deal?"
Richard Kevin O'BRIEN was born in Montreal on July 28, 1948, and died in Toronto on October 14, 2007, of neurological complications. He was 59. He is survived by his mother, Catherine O'BRIEN, and sisters Colleen and Marylou. He also leaves his godson, Alexander HABIB. He was predeceased by his father, Joe O'BRIEN and his brother Gregory.

  C... Names     CS... Names     CSI... Names     Welcome Home

CSILLAG o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-11-19 published
Criminologist identified boredom as the policeman's greatest enemy
University of Toronto expert on crime and punishment took police officers to task for pushing too much paper, for doing little more than maintaining the status quo and for picking on 'pukers'
By Ron CSILLAG, Special to The Globe and Mail, Page S10
Is being a police officer boring? Consider the startling research on policing in Canada carried out in the 1980s by University of Toronto criminologist Richard ERICSON.
He found that the average number of reported crimes per police officer in Canada was 30 in 1962, rising to 45 in 1977 - or about one a week. He reported that officers on average spent about half their time on the job doing paperwork, and reporting to superiors about what they did with the other half.
He repeated what has virtually become an adage about police work - that the worst part of being a police officer is boredom. The police themselves, in his study, rated fewer than 7 per cent of incidents they dealt with as "exciting."
In a subsequent book, he examined what policing really is about in Canada and concluded that it is "concerned with the reproduction of order." In other words, maintaining the status quo.
To illustrate (and here he probably won few police Friends), he reported that a common diversion among officers was to pick on "pukers" - young males of lower socioeconomic background - and minorities of any sort. Patrol officers, Prof. ERICSON said, seemed to go out of their way to stop such people, run their names through the national database and look for ways of laying charges.
"The police sell themselves as crime fighters," Prof. ERICSON said in a 1984 interview, "but do not spend much time on this activity, per se." The bulk of the patrol officer's time was spent "doing nothing other than consuming the petrochemical energy required to run an automobile and the psychic energy required to deal with the boredom of it all."
Public Misinformed
Partly, he blamed a "relatively misinformed public" for buying into the belief that cops are around-the-clock crime busters.
"The general feeling is that crime is under the control of the government as long as you keep giving tax dollars," he said. The public's acceptance of this "creates a view among citizens that they should be deferential to the police."
A year-long study done by his department of an Ontario police force seemed to support that claim. It found "an amazing compliance" by more than 400 citizens, who dutifully turned over files to officers, remained in their presence even though not under arrest, and rarely objected.
Complaining can be risky. In 1981-1982, he found that about one third of all those who filed charges against Metro Toronto Police officers were taken to court by the municipality's lawyers for malicious prosecution. Only two were spared civil damages.
The time had come, he believed, for police officers to be treated just as human beings, with citizens "criticizing them, questioning them and resisting them."
A world-renowned criminologist who challenged assumptions, ruffled feathers and put U of T's Centre of Criminology on the map, Prof. ERICSON was described by colleague David Garland of New York University as "a serial specialist with the broadest of visions, a continually curious scholar who became expert in one field after another."
Indeed a polymath, he became authoritative in several fields relating to crime and society: Young offenders, detective work, policing, defendants in the criminal process, crime reporting in the media, risk, insurance and the regulation of financial institutions, and surveillance. Lauded by scholars around the world as creative, innovative, critical and highly rigorous - and by students as a warm, wise and nurturing teacher - Prof. ERICSON authored, co-authored or edited 17 books on crime and punishment, the first two when he was 27.
"He was a sociologist who took criminology as his chosen specialty but who had an expansive view of what criminology should be and whose work transformed the scope of that discipline," eulogized Prof. Garland, who is considered the English-speaking world's top criminal theorist. "He paid attention to complexity and to detail. His research projects were large, ambitious undertakings intended to address big theoretical questions."
Prof. ERICSON was educated at the Universities of Guelph and Toronto, and received his doctorate from the University of Cambridge. Most of his career was spent at U of T's Centre of Criminology, where he became director in 1992. For a decade, he was the first principal of Green College and professor of law and sociology at the University of British Columbia, and then won an appointment as professor of criminology at Oxford University, where he was a fellow of All Souls College, among other foreign postings. He returned to University of Toronto in 2004.
His work may have been big and theoretical, but it had real-world relevance. He was known for offering a shocking new vision of police work in which data gathered by law enforcement using surveillance and other technologies is not only not protected, but brokered to other institutions.
Links To Insurance
The police, he noted, have become information dealers to insurance companies and health-and-welfare organizations whose operations are based on knowledge of risk. These institutions, in turn, influence the ways in which police officers think and act.
"It's fairly obvious, as any homeowner who's had a break-in knows," explained Mariana VALVERDE, acting director for the Centre for Criminology. "The only reason you call the police is to get a report that you can then submit to the insurance [company]. You don't actually expect the police to really find your lost CD player."
It wasn't that Prof. ERICSON had broken new ground. "It's just that nobody studied how it works, and the tremendous importance the police have by way of generating information for all sorts of agencies," Prof. VALVERDE said. "He put the work of police forces in broader context."
Prof. ERICSON also conducted the first major sociological study of the insurance industry, examining how it controls our institutions and daily lives in ways that are largely invisible, and how it functions as a kind of government beyond the state.
One alarming conclusion was that there's a lot less certainty than people may think in the insurance business - the very industry that is charged with transforming uncertainty into manageable risk.
Post 9/11 security measures, he argued, include disturbing new forms of "counter law" or "law against law," which criminalize not only those who actually cause harm, but also those merely suspected of being harmful.
Words such as vandalism are always being applied to youngsters breaking windows but almost never to "large corporations polluting the atmosphere… which in the aggregate is far greater."
Critical Of Media
And there's the matter of how the media report crime. After six months of studying how three Toronto newspapers - including The Globe and Mail - covered some high-profile sexual assaults in 1982, he found the news outlets rarely questioned the prevailing belief that it was up to women to curb their activities if they wanted to avoid sexual attack.
The articles presented a central image that sexual assault "was best controlled by having women take precautions that restricted their freedom," the study said.
"By locating the problem with the victim and by not questioning the cultural and social structures in general, and gender relations in particular, the news accounts functioned to acknowledge the existing order of values and social relations which perpetuate the subordinate place of women. The newspapers arguably perpetuated the views that it is something women do that contributes to attacks."
He rejected the old saw that journalists are mere observers. "I don't see the media as being in any way outside the process they are reporting on. The reporters, in the way they use sources, are active players. They don't reflect reality, they help to constitute the reality."
It seems incongruous that someone who tackled such bold subjects was described as not especially outgoing, often to the point of shyness. And despite being critical of police, his own son became an Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. "It was a very proud moment in Richard's life when Matthew was sworn in," Prof. VALVERDE noted. "So it's not as though he disrespected police, or didn't have an understanding of [their] day-to-day realities. I think his sympathies were always with the rank and file."
Don't tell that to the Peel Regional Police force on Toronto's western flank.
Perhaps the biggest stink Prof. ERICSON raised was in one of his books, Making Crime: A Study Of Detective Work, in which he accused the police he was observing of routinely forging, or "left-handing" the signatures of justices of the peace on search warrants.
Force Not Named
The force he observed was unnamed in the book (though he dropped one juicy hint by mentioning 19th-century British prime minister Robert Peel in the first sentence). Peel Regional Police revealed it was them, and went on the offensive.
"It wasn't a big deal because at that time, even when real signatures were placed on warrants, the warrant approval process accomplished little," recalled colleague Anthony Doob. "That was Richard's point: Real signatures, fake signatures… it didn't matter."
It did to police in Peel, who called the book "a crock of garbage" and said the force "seriously questions Prof. ERICSON's bias in policing." They also found evidence they said totally contradicted his allegations.
As Prof. Doob recalled, one Wednesday afternoon in August, 1980, two senior police officers visited the centre "and delivered what we saw as a serious threat to get additional details about activities described in the book. After Richard refused to answer most of the questions that were put to him, we made the decision that in order to protect the identity of the police officers he had observed, his data had to be placed somewhere secure."
That somewhere was in the attic of Prof. Doob's ex-wife's grandmother's cottage in rural New Hampshire. And Prof. ERICSON, despite the intimidation, stood his ground. "I'm not revealing sources," he said, "and if I did, I might as well pack in my books."
Richard Victor ERICSON was born in Montreal on September 20, 1948. He died in Toronto on October 2, 2007, after succumbing to multiple health problems. He was 59. He leaves Diana, his wife of 38 years, and their son Matt. He also leaves his brother John, and sisters Elizabeth and Kristine.
A memorial will take place at University of British Columbia's Green College on Friday, November 23, at 2: 30 p.m.

  C... Names     CS... Names     CSI... Names     Welcome Home

CSILLAG o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-11-26 published
Rev. Alex RAPSON, 99: Clergyman
Chaplain who endured the horrors of war is still remembered in Holland
To tend to the wounded and bury the dead, he never left anyone behind even if it meant entering a minefield. To escape a barrage, he once had to dive into the grave of his dead Commanding Officer
By Ron CSILLAG, Page S10
April, 1945, the district of Voorst, in the east-central Dutch province of Gelderland. The storied 48th Highlanders of Canada had arrived from Italy, where the regiment lost at least 250 men killed in action, plus another 1,000 wounded. Even so, the fruit trees were in bloom and the Nazi enemy a month away from surrendering. An end to the war was in sight, but the task ahead was no less daunting.
Handed the job of liberating 12 towns and villages in that part of the Netherlands, the Highlanders' first battalion massed on the free side of the Ijssel River. After engineers built a beachhead, they called for tank and artillery support.
Captain Alexander RAPSON, a United Church minister and one of two chaplains attached to the unit, was used to artillery fire and not bothered by it. "But holy doodle, the concussion of those shells passing so closely over us was great enough to lift the ground sheet covering me to keep out the drizzle and then let it fall back on my face," he wrote just a year ago in the Highlanders' newsletter, The Falcon. "There was no sleep while the shelling lasted."
In that thunderous barrage, a sergeant and the padre - then 36, older than most of the officers - set out by jeep for a regimental aid post. They turned downriver, drove through a marked-off minefield and arrived at the designated Dutch farm near the edge of the bridgehead.
"The shells arrived while I was trying to console a stretcher bearer who had brought in our first casualty with both feet missing," Mr. RAPSON recalled. "I had to leave him since one of those shells had blown one of his companions to pieces. The shell had landed dead centre in his ammunition pouches and hand grenades, all of which exploded, literally blowing him to bits, leaving his head and shoulders bare-naked like a Caesar's bust." Two companies had to march by the remains before they were buried on the spot since a battle gravesite had not yet been established.
"Tough stuff, eh?" Mr. RAPSON queried. "I'd forgive you, if, like the stretcher bearer, you said, 'That is as far as I can go.' "
It was a bad day that turned worse. While Mr. RAPSON tended to the dead and comforted the dying, the sergeant brought in the regiment's commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Donald MacKENZIE. He had taken a chunk of shrapnel right in the heart. The padre dug a shallow, makeshift grave, then heard a shell whistling in his direction. With nowhere to run, he dived into the grave, on top of the body. It probably saved his life.
The last two hours of daylight were spent searching in vain for the body of a missing Highlander, as Mr. RAPSON was responsible for burying all dead. He did not remember where he slept that night, but awoke to find a local telling him that the soldier's body was in his garage. Mr. RAPSON, his driver and an assistant were now eight hours behind their unit.
That was April 12, 1945 - a single day in battle.
Would he have done it all over again? "You bet your life we would!" he exclaimed at last year's Remembrance Day ceremony at Queen's Park in Toronto, where the Highlanders lay a wreath each November 11. "We would because we love this land and would give our lives to keep it free."
Scores more casualties, including burying 16 more dead, awaited the chaplain in those five horrible early spring days. He never left anyone behind, in either the Dutch and Italian campaigns, even if it meant going into a minefield to retrieve a fallen soldier (which he did once by walking in the tracks of a blown-up jeep). In battle, he toted an ever-present leather case that contained communion wafers, a goblet and a Union Jack to drape on an altar. He kept meticulous records of every soldier killed or wounded - when, where, and the nature of the wound.
"He was always in the front lines, through the smoke and shelling of combat, to be with his soldiers," said Geordie Beal, honorary lieutenant-colonel of the Highlanders, and whose father served with Mr. RAPSON. "He was a tower of strength and comfort for our men in combat; positive, caring, upbeat… a true 48th Highlander."
His father, Alexander, a Methodist minister, died unexpectedly in Saskatchewan before Alex RAPSON was born. His mother was homesteading in northeastern Alberta and didn't learn of her husband's death for two weeks. Young Alex was raised in rural Ontario and studied engineering at Queen's University for a year before switching to the University of Western Ontario, where he graduated with an arts degree in 1933. He paid his tuition by working on Imperial Oil tankers in the summers.
Mr. RAPSON married in 1935 and graduated in divinity from Emmanuel College, the United Church of Canada seminary at the University of Toronto, the following year. After serving in several pastorates in Ontario, he enlisted in the army in 1943 and was posted first to the Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury Regiment, an artillery unit serving in British Columbia. In the summer of 1944, he was sent to Britain, and that fall he joined the 48th Highlanders and, according to the Orillia Packet and Times newspaper, replaced a padre who had been driven insane by the horrors of the battlefield.
After the war, he returned to the ministry and worked in and around Sarnia, Ontario For a time, he left the pulpit for a few years to work as editor of Dow Chemical's in-house magazine, The Maple Leaf. He wanted to combine the two callings by becoming an industrial chaplain in the chemical business around Sarnia. The idea didn't pan out, and for a while he served as a municipal councillor in Sarnia before returning to the church.
In 1971, he retired - but only from employment.
An inveterate tinkerer since his days as an engineering student, he built a wine press and made the interior for a camping van (complete with curtains he sewed himself) when he was 86 years old. At 87, he bought a computer and learned to use it. There was a new garage roof at 89, then a sugar shack he built in panels and erected in the forest at his son's farm when he was 91.
And just last year, he was a "drummer" for a crew at the Orillia dragon boat races.
He liked the occasional cigar and nip of rum. "Grandpa would enjoy saying, 'I'm going to live to 100, or die in the attempt,' eulogized his grandchildren, Steve and Kate RAPSON. Two of his great-granddaughters planned to take him to school for show-and-tell, where he was all set to teach the children to sing Roll Out the Barrel.
He also loved teaching kids how to shoot peas with a spoon, "something I thought was hilarious as a kid," said Kate RAPSON, "then dreaded when he showed my kids."
As it turned out, he died three weeks shy of his 100th birthday. On his bedside table was a framed and signed photograph of a traditional Dutch windmill draped in the Canadian flag - a gift from the mayor of the district of Voorst presented last spring to some Canadians who were touring battlefields. The visitors were stunned to hear the mayor praise the Highlanders, and "Padre RAPSON of Orillia" specifically.
"It was pure serendipity," said Richard Johnston, who was among the tourists. "The mayor didn't know we were from Orillia. When he found out we were, and that we knew Rev. RAPSON, we were treated like royalty."
For years, Mr. RAPSON had spoken little about his war experiences and probably struggled with it. "I live, like hosts of others, with these memories!" he wrote last autumn. "Has the time come when oldies like me should speak out to say that the price of freedom is high and always will be, but is worth the price?"
He reasoned: "If we go down to the Legion to 'histe' a few, please do not be too hard on us. Just keep in mind that we know some things we do not talk about."
Alexander RAPSON was born in Kerwood, Ontario, on November 25, 1907, and died in Orillia, Ontario, on November 4, 2007, of complications after a stroke. He was 99. He leaves his son, David, daughter Louise, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Grace, and two sisters, Jean and Philena.

  C... Names     CS... Names     CSI... Names     Welcome Home

CSILLAG o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-12-10 published
Priest from Japan ministered to displaced Japanese Canadians
He arrived in Canada for a three-year posting and stayed 26 years. 'He was kind of a reverse missionary. He would write his Sunday sermons in between periods of Hockey Night in Canada'
By Ron CSILLAG, Special to The Globe and Mail, Page S10
Toronto -- Upon their arrival in Canada in 1953, Paul Ken IMAI, his wife and two children constituted five per cent of all immigrants from Japan that year. In the decade after the Second World War, just 409 Japanese émigrés were permitted to come to this country.
Racial hysteria kept all but a trickle of Japanese out of Canada until 1967, when the government introduced the point system, which judges potential newcomers primarily on their labour market skills and adaptability to Canada, rather than racial or ethnic backgrounds.
A particularly dark chapter in Canadian history began in late 1941. Just weeks after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and its invasion the following day of Hong Kong, which led to the death or capture of 2,000 Canadian troops, Canada invoked the War Measures Act and declared Japanese Canadians to be enemy aliens.
In British Columbia, where most of them lived, it meant that 22,000 persons of Japanese origin, including Canadian citizens, were uprooted. The evacuees were relocated to B.C.'s Interior, scattered about or placed in internment or work camps. They lost everything. Their homes, fishing boats, businesses and personal items were taken or destroyed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Their land was set aside for returning veterans.
Four months after the war ended, Ottawa made Japanese Canadians an offer: Be dispersed or return to Japan. About 4,000 people went back to Japan (voluntarily, the government insisted). About 9,000 settled in Ontario.
That's where Rev. IMAI, an American-trained Anglican priest, found a community still recovering, trying to make a life in the country that had treated them so miserably. Not many of them were Christian, fewer still were Anglican, but those who were encountered a gentle, compassionate man who would be a calming influence in their lives.
"They were uprooted. They wanted to go home but were not allowed," remembered Grace, his soft-spoken wife of 60 years. It was a community still in shock. Her husband "visited people and listened to them. That was a very good thing for them, to talk about it," she went on. "But maybe he couldn't do as much as he wanted."
Though small in number, Mr. IMAI helped solidify Japanese Anglicans in Toronto, Hamilton, London, St. Catharines and Montreal. As a parish priest, he conducted hundreds of baptisms and weddings, and held Bible classes in Japanese. It was supposed to be a three-year posting; it lasted for 26 years.
A much-loved pastor, priest and teacher who combined Japanese serenity with Christian saintliness, Mr. IMAI represented a distinct minority. In Japan, where European missionaries were not as successful as elsewhere in the Orient, fewer than one per cent of the population is Christian. Japanese tend to borrow freely and without conflict from Buddhism and Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan, sometimes with Christian holidays and traditions thrown in. Mr. IMAI studied and was conversant in Shin (Japanese) Buddhism, Zen and Shinto, but never considered those as alternatives to his beloved church.
He was born of samurai ancestry in Manchuria, then under Japanese control. His father was a wealthy railroad magnate and devout Anglican who wrapped his new son in white and offered him to God's service. He named him Ken, which means "offering" in Japanese.
Mr. IMAI attended Saint Paul's University in Tokyo and studied at the General Theological Seminary in New York from 1938 to 1940. He was ordained to the priesthood at Christ Church Cathedral in the city of Sendai.
His family concedes the only gaps in his biography occur during the war years. He never spoke about them. He felt that as a Christian, he could not support war, and delivered an anti-war sermon from the pulpit in the city of Akita around 1941, only to notice a man in the back row of the sanctuary leave right after it was over. It turned out that the stranger was a member of Japan's secret police, and Mr. IMAI was drafted into the Japanese army right away.
He served in the dangerous position of scout, and saw front-line action in the Philippines and New Guinea, where he was captured by U.S. troops. Japanese soldiers had standing orders to kill themselves with a poison pill upon capture, but Mr. IMAI and a group of others didn't have their suicide pills, so they asked to be shot in the chest. The Americans declined.
Imprisoned in New Guinea, Mr. IMAI was soon shipped to a prisoner of war camp in near the town of Cowra in Australia. Located about 300 kilometres west of Sydney, N.S.W., the facility was home to some 4,000 Axis inmates. A guard from New York befriended the young priest and even presented him with a cake on his birthday. Hunger was the PoW's constant companion, and they wondered what the crocodiles in nearby streams tasted like.
The Cowra camp became famous when on August 5, 1944, more than 500 Japanese PoWs escaped, or died in the attempt. At the sound a bugle, hundreds of PoWs charged the wire yelling "Banzai."
The authorities had earlier been tipped off about a planned breakout and purposely rearmed the guards by replacing their rifles with machine guns. The gunners mowed down scores of prisoners before being overwhelmed by sheer numbers, and two were killed. In all, about 350 PoWs got away but by all accounts few of them expected to get very far. Some killed themselves, had it done for them by a comrade or were shot avoiding recapture. Within 10 days, all 230 survivors had been rounded up. For his part, Mr. IMAI did not make it back to Japan until 1946.
He took a job as chaplain at a girls' school in Tokyo. Six years later, he was called by the Missionary Society of the Church of England to minister to Japanese-Anglicans in the Toronto area, then the second-largest such community outside Japan (the first was in Los Angeles). At the same time, he was awarded a scholarship to take a master's degree in theology at the University of Toronto's Trinity College.
"He was kind of a reverse missionary," his son, Shin, said. "He loved this country. He would write his Sunday sermons in between periods of Hockey Night in Canada." It was a peripatetic congregation in those days, more recently settling at St. Andrew Japanese Congregation, located in St. David's Anglican Church on Donlands Avenue.
"There was a lot of emphasis on education," recalled Shin IMAI. "They really pounded that into us. My parents always said, and this is fairly common among immigrants, that you have to be - no insult to anybody - better than white people in order to be treated the same as white people."
Mr. IMAI maintained a resolute silence about his war experiences. But there were times at night, his son says, when his father awoke screaming.
He was appointed an honorary canon of Saint_James Cathedral in Toronto. Two years later, he and others translated Anglicanism's central text, the Book of Common Prayer, into Japanese. In her will, Shizuko MORITSUGU, the woman who handwrote the edition's kanji script, specified that a copy be placed in her coffin.
Mr. IMAI retired as parish priest in 1978. For the next five years, he served as a chaplain at a Japanese school in England, then as dean of King Alfred's College in Winchester, Wessex.
Back in Toronto, he taught Japanese Bible classes for 11 years, before Parkinson's disease sidelined him in 1997. As far as his family knows, he voiced no opinion on the same-sex controversy now tearing apart the global Anglican communion.
Rev. John WILTON, the IMAIs' own priest, said he encountered "holy ground" whenever he visited Mr. IMAI. Mr. WILTON summons a scene that is sad yet dignified. Deaf, wracked by Parkinson's, and with most of his English gone, Mr. IMAI could do little else in his final days but make the sign of the cross.
Paul Ken IMAI was born in Manchuria on November 10, 1911, and died in Toronto on November 27, 2007. He was 96. He leaves his wife Grace YACHIRO, children Shin, Margaret and Rei, and seven grandchildren.

  C... Names     CS... Names     CSI... Names     Welcome Home

CSILLAG o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-12-21 published
Famous for his Canadian Football League 'sleeper play,' he became Ottawa's local hero
In November, 1960, he executed an unusual and dangerous manoeuvre that put the Rough Riders on the road to the Grey Cup. He turned down two National Football League teams and later entered politics
By Ron CSILLAG, Special to The Globe and Mail, Page S6
November 20, 1960, Toronto's Exhibition Stadium. The Canadian Football League's Eastern Conference final was being played, with the Argonauts pitted against the Ottawa Rough Riders. It was a two-game affair, with the point total to decide the outcome. Ottawa had won the first game, 33-21, but in the second, they were trailing 20-14 in the fourth quarter. One more Toronto touchdown would send the Argos to the Grey Cup.
Then came a manoeuvre so outrageous, it was actually banned: the famous "sleeper play," in which Ottawa quarterback Ron Lancaster spotted tight end Bob SIMPSON during a player exchange that no one else noticed, least of all the Toronto defence.
Only Mr. Lancaster, who went on to become a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation sports announcer and Canadian Football League head coach, can call it: "It was kind of crazy," he recalled in a telephone interview from Hamilton. "We were in our own end. Toronto was winning. If they score again, they're gonna beat us, so we need to move the football.
"We ran a play, and getting up off the field, heading back to the huddle, I ain't got nothing to do. So I'm just kind of looking around, and Bobby's walking to the sidelines. He just sort of walked. He wasn't drawing attention to himself. It was a spontaneous thing. He just kind of had his head down, his hands on his hips, just kind of walking to the sidelines - and he stopped. Didn't do anything elaborate. Just kind of blended in.
"And I look at him and he gives me this sign. He just stands there. So I hurry up and tell 'em to snap the ball. I throw it to him and he runs [from] somewhere around our 25 down to their 25. Next play, we run it down to the 1, put it in the end zone and scored, beat 'em 21-20, won the East and went to the Grey Cup and won it."
It was a jaw-dropping play for the fans, the most famous sleeper play ever executed in the Canadian Football League - and also the last. The league outlawed it immediately. But it was typical of the kind of guy Mr. SIMPSON was: brash, bold, cheeky, fun.
A swift runner with huge, glue-like hands and impressive playing numbers, he "was as great an all-around athlete as you're going to find," Mr. Lancaster said. But he was always remembered for that play.
"Over the years, there must have been a quarter of a million fans who came up to me and said they were in Lansdowne Park [in Ottawa] and saw the sleeper play," Mr. SIMPSON once told his friend Pat MacADAM, a sports columnist for the Ottawa Sun. "I didn't have the heart to tell them the game was played in Toronto."
A native of Windsor, Ontario, Mr. SIMPSON was a year old when his father walked out on his mother. At Patterson Collegiate and later Assumption College, now federated with the University of Windsor, he excelled at basketball, football and track, running the 100-yard dash in 10 seconds flat. He played on two provincial championship basketball teams in high school before joining the famed Tillsonburg Livingstons.
He was tearing up the field for the Windsor Rockets of the Ontario Rugby Football Union when the Rough Riders snapped him up in 1950. But he was granted leave to play for Canada's basketball team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. He played five games but Canada was eliminated.
In his 12-year Canadian Football League career, he caught 274 passes, including a single-season career-high 47 in 1956, for a total of 6,034 yards. He scored 65 touchdowns - 12 of them defensive. The record stood until Terry Evanshan broke it in 1975. He set another record for most yards receiving in a game (258) in a 1956 contest against Toronto.
He was an Eastern division all-star eight times at four different positions - end, flying wing, running back and defensive back - and was a three-time nominee for the Schenley Award given to the league's most outstanding Canadian. He was runner-up in 1956, the year he was also nominated as the Canadian Football League's most outstanding player.
Mr. SIMPSON was inducted into the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame in 1976, the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame the same year.
With his skills on both sides of the line and his leadership as co-captain (with Kaye Vaughan), Ottawa won Grey Cups in 1951 and "He had these great big hands," remembered George Brancato, who played with Mr. SIMPSON in Ottawa and against him in Montreal. "He could catch the ball. He had a real soft touch. He knew the game so well. And he loved life. He enjoyed himself all the time."
He also famously turned down two offers from National Football League teams in the United States. The first came from the New York Giants, who noticed Mr. SIMPSON after they became the first National Football League team to play outside the U.S. on August 12, 1950, when they met Ottawa in a preseason exhibition game at Lansdowne Park. New York won 27-6 and wined and dined Mr. SIMPSON - unheard of for a Canadian player at the time.
The story, according to Mr. MacADAM, is that he listened to his mother, who said to him: "Do you want to be a little fish in a big pond?" and turned down the Giants. Besides, the money wasn't nearly as good as he was making in the Canadian Football League. At his peak, Mr. SIMPSON probably earned $10,000 a year.
Around the same time, he turned down an offer from the Baltimore Colts. Ottawa sportswriter Earl McRAE waxed, "Imagine: Johnny Unitas passing to Bob SIMPSON."
Mr. SIMPSON's career ended in 1962 after a car accident with a tractor that dislocated his already bashed-up hip. After retirement, he was elected to Ottawa City Council, representing Wellington Ward for two terms. "It was right after the Grey Cup in 1960 and he was the hero," retired sportswriter Gerry Redmond told The Windsor Star. "He could have been elected prime minister."
He went on to a variety of occupations. He owned a cleaning company for a time, coached a local high-school football team and worked in the Rough Riders head office as a public relations man. He bought the Locanda restaurant on Laurier Avenue from Paul Anka's family. "It was a great watering hole and restaurant but Bobby overestimated Ottawa nightlife," Mr. MacAdam wrote in the Ottawa Sun. He also "tore up one too many of his Friends' bar tabs." He opened a night spot, Club 70, his Ottawa jersey number, but it stayed empty.
Still, he never lost his outsized zest for life. "Any time Bobby SIMPSON was around, you heard him," Mr. Lancaster said. "He was just naturally loud. He was really a fun person to be around. If you were around him, I guarantee you're going to have a good time."
Mr. MacADAM had similar memories: "You could hear him coming a block away. Make that two blocks. You knew you were not going to receive a handshake. His standard greeting was a slap across the back that threatened to separate your shoulder blades. A crushing bear hug was an automatic. Bobby SIMPSON didn't just fill a room he lit it up with his infectious good humour."
He and a group of rambunctious beer-drinking buddies were institutions at the Belle Claire Hotel's bar and, when it closed, the Churchill Arms on Carling Avenue.
"Good-natured insults flew fast and furious and Bobby was the butt of a few memorable ones," Mr. MacADAM wrote. "But he had a good sense of humour and gave as good as he received."
As with many former athletes his weight ballooned, to 270 pounds. When a doctor advised that he drop to 180, Mr. Brancato exclaimed: "His bones weigh 180 pounds!"
One day, Mr. SIMPSON walked into the Arms, grinning like a Cheshire cat.
As Mr. MacADAM related, "he told us the greatest honour he had ever received" was bestowed on him at the annual Easter Seals "Timmy" event for disabled children at Maple Leaf Gardens. Traditionally, "Timmy" was carried from the back of the hall to a platform by wrestler (Whipper) Billy Watson. But Mr. Watson was recovering from surgery and the honour fell to Mr. SIMPSON.
"I never felt so proud or so humble," Mr. SIMPSON said.
For 14 years, he worked as a clerk at various liquor stores in Ottawa. In 2000, Ottawa sports fans celebrated an event billed as "No. 70 turns 70."
Did he miss playing? "Every day," said his wife, Mary. "He would have paid them to play. I don't think he ever found anything really to replace that. He just loved it."
That his glory days were long past never seemed to get him down, though. In fact, there was a Dixieland band at his funeral, playing You Gotta Be a Football Hero.
Robert Lee SIMPSON was born April 20, 1930, in Windsor, Ontario He died of cancer on November 27, 2007, in Ottawa. He was 77. He leaves his wife, Mary, daughters Lynn and Mary Leigh, sons Rob, Gary and Mark, and seven grandchildren.

  C... Names     CS... Names     CSI... Names     Welcome Home

CSILLAG o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-12-27 published
Backbone of Saint Michael's Choir School groomed 'young gentlemen'
For more than 60 years, 'the guardian of the school's character' served in many capacities but mostly she taught the students liturgical music and religion, as well as their ABCs
By Ron CSILLAG, Special to The Globe and Mail, Page S7
Toronto -- Kathleen (Kay) MANN could have easily become a Roman Catholic nun, but chose instead to teach. The decision proved almost moot; she viewed her job as a religious calling. Besides, teaching was no mere whim - she did it for an astonishing 65 years at the same school.
"My work is equivalent to that of an apostolate," she reflected in 1987. "It gives me great joy. I love my work and my faith."
Ms. MANN combined those as can few who do not take religious vows. She was a fixture at Toronto's famed Saint Michael's Choir School as a firm but much-loved teacher, administrator and conductor, and maintained a spotless attendance record since the school's founding in 1937 - missing only one day, when she fractured her elbow playing softball, her other passion.
Over six decades, thousands of boys learned liturgical music and religion, as well as their ABCs, from Ms. MANN, who served the school in virtually every capacity and taught every one of its administrative and choir directors.
"I was her boss for 24 years, but she was always my teacher," remembered Harry HODSON, a pupil of Ms. MANN's in the early 1950s who went on to become the school's principal and director. "She was a guardian of the school's character."
Proper and punctilious, with a straight back and earnest smile, Ms. MANN (Miss MANN to her students) was a gentle and inspiring instructor, and kept her boys on the straight and narrow. "She was not a softie by any means," Mr. HODSON said. "She wanted the very best from her boys but was probably one of the fairest people you'll ever come across. She wanted to raise young gentlemen and, along the way, turn them into singers."
Several of her choirboys went on to find fame in singing, among them Michael Burgess, operatic tenor Michael Schade, jazz crooner Matt Dusk, members of the Crew-Cuts and Four Lads, and Kevin Hearn of Barenaked Ladies.
"She didn't joke around a lot. She was pretty serious and dedicated and made us work hard," recalled Mr. Hearn, a student from Grades 3 to 11. "When I look at my self-discipline skills, she's certainly the person who had a major influence on helping them develop. She was a beautiful person."
Mr. Hearn, who still does the vocal exercises he learned from Ms. MANN, went to visit his old teacher a few years ago. "She asked how I was doing and what I was doing. I said I was in a band. She asked what it was called. When I told her, she just sort of shook her head, looked at me and said," - and here he lowers his voice for effect - " 'Oh, Kevin …' "
Mr. Dusk, with three jazz CDs under his belt, remembers Ms. MANN as "a kind of second mother to us. She taught us that singing is praying twice, that music can be fun but spiritual."
For years, she was equally dedicated to softball, and even turned down a professional contract. "I thought my teaching was more important," she told the Toronto Star in 1987. "Playing ball would have only lasted a few years."
Born into a working-class family in Toronto, Ms. MANN displayed her mettle and sense of fair play early, once challenging a neighbourhood tough to "Take off your glasses and fight."
She learned to play baseball in the schoolyard at age 12, recalled her sister, Doris McGRATH. "In those days, there wasn't much to do but go to the school playground."
She entered a local girls' league, developed a wicked pitching arm and hot bat, and never looked back. Newspaper reports of the day described her as "a sterling pitcher… speed-ball hurler&hellip one of the best."
She played for 23 years, starting at age 13 with the Nationals, going on to the Toronto Ladies, followed by corporate teams such as Peoples Credit Jewellers, Simpsons and Clayton's. She guest pitched for several world tournaments in Detroit and was offered a contract to play in the women's big leagues in Chicago. She declined.
The softball-and-music combination led to decades of "perfect-pitch" puns.
Meantime, Toronto's Cathedral Schola Cantorum, founded in 1926 to train boys for Saint Michael's Cathedral's choir, added elementary grades in 1937 and was rechristened Saint Michael's Choir School. A 19-year-old Ms. MANN began as an assistant to founder Monsignor John Edward RONAN. She is remembered as the last of the school's co-founders.
Armed with a teaching certificate from the Toronto Normal School, she started instructing traditional academic subjects, as well as Gregorian chant, sight singing, choral music and voice. The life of a chorister was hard, Mr. HODSON recalled. It started in Grade 3, went to Grade 13, "and for nine of those, from Grade 5 on, you were singing every Sunday of the school year at the cathedral."
Although stern, Ms. MANN had a way of easing tension. She would hold up small cards facing the choir that said, "No smoking," or "chicken lips." Darren Dais, a former student and now a Dominican priest, recalled that she installed two rear-view mirrors on her piano, which faced away from the class, to keep an eye on trouble-makers. The jingle of the huge ring of keys she carried alerted the more rambunctious singers to settle down before her arrival.
Her interest in Gregorian chant led to additional studies in New York, the Catholic University of America in Washington, and Boys Town in Nebraska. She also held a Bachelor of Sacred Music degree from the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome, through an affiliation with the choir school.
She was awarded two papal medals, the Bene Merenti in 1964, and the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice ("For Church and Pope") in 1987, on the school's 50th anniversary. She was inducted into the Order of Ontario in 1997.
Ms. MANN was at the school seven days a week, usually arriving straight from 7: 30 a.m. mass at the cathedral next door. Weekends were spent on paperwork. For a time, she pinch-hit as the secretary at night. She taught at the summer school until the mid-1960s. And she taught singing to nurses at Saint Michael's Hospital and the Catholic Youth Organization's glee club.
Despite plenty of opportunities, she never married. Her students were "her boys" and she unabashedly mothered them. "Children nowadays need somebody to be firm, consistent and loving," she told the Star.
From 1967 until her first "retirement" in 1984, Ms. MANN was the school's vice-principal. In 1984, the school persuaded the archdiocese of Toronto to retain her as an "adviser in sacred music," a position she held for almost 15 years. And from 1985 on, she conducted the elementary and junior boys' choirs. She was 85 when she finally stopped working.
After slipping into a deep sleep on her final day of life, she waved her hands in the air for a few minutes. At first puzzled, her family realized that she was conducting. Then she crossed herself, folded her hands on her chest, and died.
At her packed funeral service, several men approached the family to say, "Kay is the reason I'm a gentleman."
Kathleen Mary MANN was born in Toronto on August 31, 1919. She died of cancer in Toronto on December 8, 2007. She was 88. She was predeceased by her brothers Leo and Raymond KILLORAN. She leaves her sister, Doris McGRATH.

  C... Names     CS... Names     CSI... Names     Welcome Home

CSILLAG - All Categories in OGSPI

CSIMA o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-08-24 published
CSIMA, Adele
Passed suddenly on August 13, 2007, while visiting family in Europe. Retired Professor, University of Toronto, continued active supporter of University Women's Club and several Hungarian community organizations in Toronto. Loving mother of Peter FISCHHOFF, Cathy PATRICK, Les and Jeffrey CSIMA, devoted grandmother of Michael, Jennifer, David, Daniel, Jonathan FISCHHOFF, James and Robert PATRICK, Trevor, Lisa, Doug, Tom CSIMA, Linda, Erik, Amanda, Darryl CSIMA. An informal reception is planned for family and Friends to meet at Holiday Inn, 590 Argus Road, Oakville, Saturday, August 25, 3: 30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Donations to Canadian Diabetes Association are welcome.

  C... Names     CS... Names     CSI... Names     Welcome Home

CSIMA - All Categories in OGSPI