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"VEL" 2007 Obituary


VELDHUIS  VELLEND 

VELDHUIS o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2007-01-03 published
HADDOW, Elizabeth " Liz" Eileen (née HUTCHINSON/HUTCHISON)
Passed away peacefully on January 1, 2007 at Peterborough Civic Hospital in 54th year after a long battle with diabetic complications surrounded by her loving family. Beloved daughter of Eileen and the late George HUTCHINSON/HUTCHISON. Sadly missed by her beloved husband Ted HADDOW of Guelph and daughter Patricia VELDHUIS (Brent) of Guelph. Dear Sister of Laraine HUTCHINSON/HUTCHISON of Richmond Hill, Carol DOHERTY (Wayne) and family of Peterborough, Kathy SSAINTOMAS (Ken) and family of Peterborough. Loved Nana of Elicia, Rianna and Andrew. Also missed by long time Friends Kathleen Flynn and Rose Daypuk and many relatives and Friends that have been touched over the years. Liz spent many years in Copper Cliff, Elliot Lake and London. The family sincerely thanks all health service workers for their loving care and compassion. A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, January 4, 2007 at Northminster United Church, (300 Sunset Blvd. Peterborough) at 2 p.m. Private interment at a later date. In memory of Liz, donations may be made to the charity of your choice. Arrangements entrusted to Nisbett Funeral Home (705) 745 3211. Back In Her Father's Arms

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VELLEND o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-08-28 published
Teens mourn friend's 'death by misadventure'
The body of 17-year-old Taylor WHITNEY was found Sunday afternoon in a backyard after he failed to make his way home from a party
By Anthony REINHART, Page A10
As an avid athlete and the life of many a teenage party, Taylor WHITNEY rarely lacked for company.
With a ready supply of jokes and a put-on Irish accent, the 17-year-old left his many Friends in stitches whenever they got together, which was often.
Still, no one was there when he needed it most - in the wee hours of Saturday morning, as he struggled to make his way home from just such a gathering. As other teens filtered off into the night, Mr. WHITNEY wandered in the opposite direction of his parents' Toronto home and into a backyard, where his body was found by a neighbourhood search party on Sunday afternoon.
"Death by misadventure" is what the police called it after an autopsy yesterday; the Richview Collegiate Institute student apparently lost his footing and fell down an embankment behind a house on Edgehill Road, a leafy street lined with large, stately homes in the Royal York Road and Dundas Street West area of Etobicoke.
Toxicology tests, still pending, should reveal whether Mr. WHITNEY was intoxicated, but his Friends said he was experienced with alcohol and there was drinking at the party, which was hosted by a teenage boy whose parents were not home.
Yesterday, the dead teen's Friends struggled with guilt for not keeping tabs on Mr. WHITNEY, who would have started Grade 12 at Richview Collegate next week, and taken the football field wearing his usual No. 24, or "two-four" as he called it, in a nod to his zest for parties and beer.
"I feel kind of bad because at parties, if people start getting out of hand or people start drinking too much, I'm usually the one who takes care of them," said Tyler VELLEND, a close friend and fellow Richview linebacker. "The one time that I wasn't there to make sure he was okay, he went missing and ended up passing away."
Mr. VELLEND said he had planned to go to the party on Valecrest Drive with Mr. WHITNEY, but a last-minute chance to attend a football camp in Virginia came along. He didn't know anything was wrong until early Saturday morning, when text messages flooded his cellphone from Friends asking if he'd heard about Mr. WHITNEY's disappearance.
When Mr. VELLEND arrived home that morning, his mother Kathy, a Toronto police sergeant, was already organizing volunteers for a search. She directed groups of parents, teens and neighbours - including the boy who hosted the party and his parents - from a command post at St. George's Junior School.
When a friend sent a text message to Mr. WHITNEY's cellphone at 10 a.m., police were able to determine the message was received, which meant his phone must have been within two kilometres of a cellular tower at Royal York Road and Dundas Street West. The search was focused accordingly.
At about 2 p.m. Sunday, Ms. VELLEND got the call from one of the searchers.
"She was like, 'All right, you stay there at the meeting point,' " her son said, while she headed to the discovery site on Edgehill Road.
Then, with dozens of volunteers milling around him at the command post, young Mr. VELLEND got the call from his mother: "We're looking at him right now, but there's no signs of [life]."
"There was total silence, and I had a can of pop in my hand and I just dropped it," Mr. VELLEND said. "I broke down and collapsed on the ground."
Michael MASOTTI, another close friend of Mr. WHITNEY, was nearby when the search party found the body. He followed Mr. WHITNEY's parents down into the backyard, past a swimming pool to where the ground dropped off steeply toward a ravine that flanks the Humber River.
"There were logs and rocks at the bottom," Mr. MASOTTI said, confirming that it appeared Mr. WHITNEY's neck was broken. "I think it was quite sudden. He definitely didn't suffer."
Mr. MASOTTI, 16, said he attended the party briefly on Friday night, and described it as typical of many.
"It's a house party; I mean, there's always alcohol," he said, adding that he saw "nothing overly serious" going on.
"That's what's scary; it can happen to anyone at any time," he said. "It happened to him and he didn't deserve it. No 17-year-old deserves to die."
Asked if anything can be learned from Mr. WHITNEY's death, Mr. MASOTTI said, "This isn't going to change drinking [among teenagers]. The one thing it will change is how people treat their Friends.
"They have to stay with their Friends, and if you see someone who's having trouble, you don't just leave them. You pick them up and you get them to their door."
Earlier this year, Mr. MASOTTI said, he was with Friends, all of whom had been drinking before a school dance. During a subway stop along the way, one of them appeared intoxicated, but told the others he was okay. The others continued on, only to learn later that their friend had wound up in hospital to get his stomach pumped.
Paul CHORLEY, another friend who attended the party, said he and about 25 teens left the house when the party ended at about 12: 20 a.m. Saturday. Mr. WHITNEY was among those departing, but "I guess unnoticeably, he fell behind."
Mr. CHORLEY and Mr. MASOTTI later heard that Mr. WHITNEY accepted a ride soon afterward, but got out of the vehicle a short distance away. There, he began walking with two other teens he did not know well, and reportedly told them "this is my street" as he headed onto Edgehill Road, which was in the opposite direction of his family's home on Ravensbourne Crescent, three kilometres northwest.
Asked if Mr. WHITNEY appeared different than normal at the party, Mr. CHORLEY said no.
"He was just his usual self," he said. "There was no reason, really, to take precautions; no one was really watching him because nobody thought we had to."
Mr. CHORLEY's father, David, said it's too soon to discuss alcohol or parental supervision in the absence of firm details about the party, but spoke for countless parents when he described his feelings about teenagers.
"You worry about the kids all the time," he said, adding that Mr. WHITNEY was a good kid with loving, involved parents, like most in the neighbourhood where he has lived all of his 51 years.
"Everything was above board. There was constant communication within the parent group. That's why his mother got so upset when he didn't make it home in the wee hours." (Mr. WHITNEY's mother called the CHORLEYs' home at 4 a.m. to ask Paul if her son had gone home with him.)
Calling the young man's death "a very unfortunate, tragic accident" that has devastated parents in the neighbourhood as much as his peer group, the elder Mr. CHORLEY said when it comes to teens, "You do the best you can with what you've got, and they have to make choices, because you're not there."
Tyler VELLEND, who hopes to wear his friend's No. 24 this football season, wishes he had been.
"I don't want to regret it," he said, "but I feel that if I was there, I would have made a difference."

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