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"OSU" 2008 Obituary


OSULLIVAN 

O'SULLIVAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-03-29 published
O'SULLIVAN, Pat
Died a year ago on March 29, 2007. Dear Pat, we all love and miss you. Keep on solving the cryptics. Nuala, Eileen, Sean, Bernadette, Imelda, Philomena, Veronica and Gabrielle.

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O'SULLIVAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-05-06 published
COUCHMAN, Robert " Bob" George James
(21 February 1937-3 May 2008)
Suddenly, at Kingston, Ontario, Bob COUCHMAN, adventurer, campaigner, poet, friend and family man. Bob was the former Executive Director of Toronto and Whitehorse Family Service Associations, the Donner Foundation and other private philanthropic activities. In a career spanning five decades, he was active in dozens of causes related to social justice, especially in relation to families and young people. Bob had a profound spiritual connection to the wilderness, which took him from a boyhood in East Toronto, via Algonquin Park to the vast beauty of the Yukon and Northern British Columbia, where his heart felt truly at home. He leaves behind many loved ones his immediate family and those he made his family during a lifetime of loving and connecting with others. We are Bruce COUCHMAN, Barbara O'SULLIVAN (née COUCHMAN), Stephen COUCHMAN, Michael COUCHMAN, Frances O'SULLIVAN, Matthew COUCHMAN, Ruth O'SULLIVAN, Samuel COUCHMAN, Catherine Smart- COUCHMAN, Brian O'SULLIVAN, Jane COUCHMAN, Carolyn MOORE, Kyn and Gwynne BARKER, Bill Found and each to those who held him dear. Friends may visit at the Rosar-Morrison Funeral Home and Chapel, 467 Sherbourne Street on Thursday, May 8th from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held at St. Simon - The Apostle Anglican Church Bloor and Sherbourne) on Friday, May 9th at 10: 30 a.m. Cremation to follow. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date in Whitehorse. In lieu of flowers, a donation to a charity you feel passionate about, an act of rebellion in aid of a just cause and a gesture of thanksgiving for life's beauty would be deeply appreciated.

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O'SULLIVAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-06-04 published
Activist began as angry young man and retired as 'an angry old man'
Born on the wrong side of the tracks, he spent a lifetime tackling issues of extreme poverty, health care and unemployment only to conclude that 'things are worse than they were when I started'
By Gay ABBATE, Page S8
Toronto -- Bob COUCHMAN treasured a family anecdote of his mother as a little girl. Her parents, although poor, scraped together enough money early one winter to buy her a new pair of serviceable shoes. She put them on, went out to play and returned at day's end barefoot. She had given her shoes to a child with feet swathed in rags. Decades later, that same strong spirit of giving would become a hallmark of her son's life, taking him from working with street gangs and youth in the pool halls and back alleys of Toronto to the head of family service agencies and charitable foundations.
During a career that spanned 51 years, Mr. COUCHMAN was always "a connector, an agitator and an enabler," said his son Stephen - who, along with his sister Barbara, inherited his father's social conscience. Both offspring continue their father's work with social agencies and charitable groups, he in Canada, she in Portsmouth, England.
Mr. COUCHMAN's goal in life was to leave the world a little better and he worked tirelessly toward that end. In a speech in 2001 to the Yukon Family Services Association after his retirement as its executive director, Mr. COUCHMAN spoke of the progress made during his decades in the social advocacy field, such as universal health care, reduction in extreme poverty and unemployment insurance. But for him, the greatest advance was the social and health research into the functioning of healthy communities. And his greatest disappointment with this advance was society's failure to learn from the research, he said in that same speech. "Our discounting and even rejection of this research fuels my anger."
He went on to state: "In my early days, I was considered an angry young man, a classification which was certainly in cultural vogue during the late 1950s… As my career got under way, I found myself rebelling against the status quo and challenging weak assumptions. I now end my career almost as I began it. However, I now have obtained the status of an angry old man."
His conclusion, after so many years in the trenches? "And now I recognize, if anything, things are worse than they were when I started. I need another lifetime to keep kicking the system in the shins."
Mr. COUCHMAN wrote of his years dealing with social problems in his 2003 book Reflections on Canadian Character: From Monarch Park to Monarch Mountain. The title refers to his journey from his Toronto neighbourhood to the majestic mountain in British Columbia. The book, part memoir, is also a critique of how the social safety net has been allowed to deteriorate and how societal attitude has changed from the traditional one of neighbours helping each other, which he witnessed growing up. "Generally, the Canadian character has shifted from one of social responsibility and obligation to one another, to one of rights and entitlement," he wrote.
In a 1989 article in The Globe and Mail, he wrote that Canadians and their government must re-establish society's commitment to a social contract that provides for the essential needs of Canadian. He wrote that it was a sad state that philanthropic dollars meant to provide for creative service innovation, risk-taking research and the enrichment of people's lives had to be used to provide the basics of life for those with no other means.
As a crusader for social justice, Mr. COUCHMAN was not afraid to take politicians to task for their stance on social issues. He was highly critical of attempts by the Mike Harris government to reduce Ontario's deficit, in part, through welfare cuts. In 1994, he wrote in this newspaper that the welfare initiative was an "ill-considered policy generated by ill-informed minds."
Mr. COUCHMAN's sense of social justice extended to his personal life. When the Anglican Church that he attended in Whitehorse rejected same-sex marriage, Mr. COUCHMAN became an outspoken critic, warning that many parishioners would desert over the issue. Eventually, he was one of them, leaving to join the United Church.
Mr. COUCHMAN served on the boards of many organizations, including the United Way of Greater Toronto. He was a founding director of the White Ribbon Campaign, vice-chair of the Vanier Institute of the Family and co-chairman of the Canada Committee for the International Year of the Family in 1994.
The eldest of two sons born to Bob and Mary COUCHMAN, a working-class couple, he grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in east-end Toronto. The family lived in the Monarch Park area south of Danforth Avenue, which was in those days the dividing line between the haves to the north and the have-nots to the south. Mrs. COUCHMAN was a homemaker, her husband a lawn-bowl repairman and a maintenance worker at East General Hospital. The family never owned a car and Robert was 16 before the family had a telephone. With only a single income to rely upon, times were lean. Even so, his mother continued her life of giving - when there was food on the COUCHMAN table, all the neighbourhood kids ate, too.
As a youth, Mr. COUCHMAN participated in some of the programs offered by the Broadview Young Men's Christian Association and, as a teenager, he volunteered his time, working with troubled youth. After completing Grade 12 at Riverdale Collegiate, he attended teachers college and then spent one year teaching in a one-room school in Etobicoke, west of Toronto. At 20 he started teaching at Ionview Public School in Scarborough, and five years later the Etobicoke Board of Education hired him as director of the department of student services. "He loved teaching but left because of the challenge of working with at-risk students," said his first wife, Jane COUCHMAN.
While teaching full time and working at the Young Men's Christian Association, he took summer and correspondence courses at Queen's University in Kingston, earning his B.A. He then obtained a masters in education from the University of Toronto.
He left the Etobicoke school board in 1974 to become executive director of the Family Services Association of Toronto. During his 15 years with the association, he helped create a camp for children with special physical needs and a domestic response team to address domestic violence. "Christmas was always about turkey, gifts and calls from the domestic response team," Stephen COUCHMAN recalled.
In 1989, Mr. COUCHMAN was named president of the Donner Canadian Foundation, which provides financial support to charitable organizations and to groups doing research in public policy and education. This position was quite a coup for Mr. COUCHMAN, said his friend Tom Brodhead, president of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. "You don't find social activists running foundations," he said. "He led Donner into some imaginative projects."
In 1999, Mr. COUCHMAN moved north to become executive director of the Yukon Family Services Association (since renamed Many Rivers), retiring in 2001, in part because of ill health.
He met his first wife, Jane BARKER, in 1959, in the Toronto church where he sang in the choir. They married two years later, had two children and divorced after two decades, yet remained good Friends. Four years after the divorce, he met his second wife, interior designer Carolyn MOORE, on a blind date. They married two years later, had a son and in 1996 moved to Atlin, a small community in northwest British Columbia, a two- or three-hour drive from Whitehorse. The couple went their separate ways in The move to the Yukon in 1999 was the realization of a long-held dream to live in the North, where he enjoyed backpacking, canoeing and cross-country skiing. He used his first teacher's pay check to buy a canoe and then purchased a Volkswagen Beetle to carry it up north. His love for the outdoors was rooted in the family's annual summer vacation in Muskoka. He also took part in numerous expeditions to the Canadian Rockies, the Himalayas, the Swiss Alps and Nepal.
Always a writer of poetry and a story teller, Mr. COUCHMAN turned his pen to plays, particularly murder mysteries, when he moved to Whitehorse. There, he also became a thespian, acting in his own plays.
After retiring, Mr. COUCHMAN continued to consult with various organizations on social issues. "He worked thoughtfully and quietly toward making a difference in the lives of thousands of people who will never know his name," said Stephen COUCHMAN.
Robert George COUCHMAN was born February 21, 1937, in Toronto. He died of a massive heart attack on May 3, 2008, watching a film with his son Michael in a movie theatre in Kingston. He was 71. He leaves his brother Bruce, daughter Barbara O'SULLIVAN and sons Stephen and Michael. He also leaves former wives Jane COUCHMAN and Carolyn MOORE.

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O'SULLIVAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-06-07 published
GOULD, Grant Allenby, M.D.
(March 12, 1918-April 24, 2008)
In Newport Beach, California. Born in Uxbridge, Ontario to Thomas and Alma GOULD and predeceased by siblings Thomas Bruce, Winnifred (Mac) CANNINGTON, Russell Herbert (Florence) and nephew Glenn. Survived by his loving companion, Anne McKNIGHT and family; children, Marilyn Anne (MORTIMER- LAMB), Sheila Arlene, Grant Anthony (Dianna) grandchildren Geoffrey, Stephanie, Jaimie, Kimberley and Sasha sister-in-law Eileen GOULD- BAILEY of Uxbridge, nephew Doctor Tom JOHNSON and family of Lindsay, Ontario, niece Mary Jane PRESTON and family of Port Hope, Ontario. Also survived by Gia DESILVA, his assistant, devoted friend and caregiver in his final days, and dear Ed O'SULLIVAN, thank you. Dad graduated from the University of Toronto Medical School and interned at the Ottawa Civic Hospital before joining the Royal Canadian Navy in World War 2 where he met and married Sheila NEIL, R.N. Upon residency at the Halifax Naval Hospital, Nova Scotia, he was posted overseas, serving on the HMCS Regina. In the Normandy invasion, his ship was torpedoed while rescuing survivors in the English Channel. Blown off the bridge and with a crushed chest he performed heroic surgical and medical care of the crew for which he was decorated by King George VI. Brilliant physician and general surgeon, accomplished pianist, small-aircraft pilot, magician, honorary member Newport Beach Tennis Club, mechanic to his 2-door. '70 Cadillac DeVille convertible, craftsman and devoted animal lover, to name a few of his many talents and loves. A tremendous intellect and unique human being, you will be greatly missed, Dad. God Bless you. Donations may be made to Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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