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

"NAB" 2007 Obituary


NABLO o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-11-24 published
VICHERT, Gordon Stewart (1934-2007)
Gordon VICHERT was born to missionary parents, Clarence VICHERT and Constance WELCH, in Ibin, West China, and was raised in Ya-an speaking Mandarin and English. In the nineteen thirties, this remote part of China was frontier country: before the age of one, Gordon had survived a riverboat sinking and a bandit attack that killed his nurse as he lay in her arms. His schooling was handled by his parents until he returned from China to attend King Edward High School in Vancouver and Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, Washington, where he received both the Bausch and Lomb Science Award and the Good Citizenship Award for his thorough knowledge of the U.S. constitution. As editor of the school newspaper, Gordon interviewed Senator Joe McCarthy who, he felt, was embarrassed by questions much more challenging than expected. The subsequent article in the school paper led to calls to have Gordon expelled.
After high school, Gordon worked in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Despite the offer of a scholarship to Reed University, he chose to attend McMaster in Hamilton, the university of many of his forebears, and where his great uncle, Harold Stanley STEWARD/STEWART/STUART, was Dean of Theology. At McMaster, he proceeded to a degree in Honours English, winning a number of prizes and medals, including the Alexander Scholarship. During several summers, Gordon taught English and worked as a labourer for Frontier College at Niagara, Wawa, and Kitimat, British Columbia. Winning an Honour "M" for editing the student newspaper, debating and other activities, he graduated with high honours from McMaster in 1957.
He completed his M.A. at Saint Michaels College at the University of Toronto before he and his wife, Nancy NABLO, traveled to Enugu, Nigeria, where he taught English Literature for 2 years at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology and where their daughter Nicola Constance was born.
A second daughter, Rebecca Suzanne, was born during a short period teaching at McMaster, before Gordon completed his Ph.D. at Birkbeck College, University of London, England on a Commonwealth Scholarship. Research for his Ph.D at the British Museum included certain ancient volumes which could be viewed only under the supervision of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Returning to Ontario, he became a member of the McMaster Faculty of English for several years and loved hiking on the Bruce Trail with Nicola, Rebecca, and young son Marcus Gregory.
Gordon left academic life to become both a candidate and an administrator for the Ontario New Democratic Party, first in Hamilton and later in Toronto, holding the positions of General Secretary and Ontario President. As a candidate for the New Democratic Party in the riding of Hamilton-Wentworth, Gordon was among the first in the long fight to clean up pollution in Hamilton and preserve Coot's Paradise and other wilderness areas. Gordon enjoyed telling the story of giving an impassioned anti-pollution speech at an all-candidates meeting; after what he thought was an especially well-reasoned plea for new environmental policies, he turned the microphone over to one of his opponents, the front runner in the election, who cleared his throat and intoned gravely, "I too, am for pollution."
Gordon and his second wife, Janice McARTHUR, moved to Saskatchewan where he worked with Premier Allan Blakeney as a special assistant and speech writer, and where he organized the Cultural Policy Secretariat. A son, Keir John, was born in Regina.
Seconded to Roy Romanow in November of 1981, Gordon was among the advisors assisting in the "Kitchen Accord" which many believe helped enshrine the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Constitution.
Those who encountered Gordon in the political world knew his principles, historical expertise, and passion for debate made him a great ally and formidable opponent.
In Saskatchewan, as he was enjoying a new career and new family, Gordon was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Relocating to West China, he taught English for two years in Xining, near his boyhood home, and where virtually no Westerners had been seen since before the Cultural Revolution. When he passed through his childhood town, local people could be heard calling his father's name. During this period, Gordon and Janice's daughter Hilary Jane (Ning Ning) was born, within view of the Tibetan Himalayas.
Gordon and his family settled in Vancouver, British Columbia where he lectured in English Literature for the University of British Columbia and the Open Learning University as much as his health would allow. For a two-year term, he was appointed by the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor to the Medical and Health Care Services Appeal Board.
It was Gordon's belief that higher education should be available to anyone who wanted it, not just those who could afford it. He particularly enjoyed his work at Frontier College and at the Open Learning University. Doctor VICHERT will be remembered by his students as a vibrant and accomplished lecturer whose particular interest was Eighteenth Century Satire.
Eldest of three boys, Gordon was brother to Bruce and to Alan, both of British Columbia.
Gordon's Friends and family are grateful that he so easily shared his love of conversation, travel, political observation, literature, hiking and film. Everyone who knew him continues to benefit from this generosity.
Donations in Gordon's memory to the Pacific Parkinson's Research Centre or the Bruce Trail Society are gratefully requested in lieu of flowers.
Please write to for information about a memorial service to be held in early 2008.

  N... Names     NA... Names     NAB... Names     Welcome Home

NABLO - All Categories in OGSPI