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"BEC" 2003 Obituary


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BECHTEL o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-04-03 published
Valetta May ROSE
By Jim PATTERSON Thursday, April 3, 2003 - Page A22
Valetta May ROSE
Domestic worker, farmer and comic writer's muse. Born in Warsaw, Ontario, January 9, 1912. Died January 16, in Toronto, of a stroke, aged 91.
On January 16, 2003, Valetta ROSE, 91, spoke with her brother, Ken DRAIN, and her niece, Dora BARR, by phone from her home in Norwood, Ontario Then she got into a limousine to go to a large family party in Toronto, to celebrate her nephew David PATTERSON's birthday. On the way, she sat with her great-nephew Paul, his partner Cathy and their six-week-old daughter, Kira, and was delighted to have the baby beside her for the trip.
There were more than 100 people at the party, but Valetta held court, greeting family members. Then, at 7 p.m., she suffered a stroke, and died instantly in her daughter Beattie's arms.
Born on January 9, 1912, Valetta was the second child of David DRAIN and Christina EDWARDS, who farmed near Warsaw, Ontario The DRAIN household was full of fiddle, piano and song; people arrived by horse and sled for music in the parlour, food in the kitchen and children everywhere. When Valetta's mother went into labour to deliver her sister Cora, Valetta's older brother Ivan was told to take his 20-month-old sister to grandma's house. Ivan was 3 and the house was two kilometres away -- but those were different times. Off the pair toddled, perfectly capable and perfectly safe.
As teenagers, Valetta and Cora set off for Toronto to work as domestics, eventually earning a respectable $25 per month plus room and board.
In 1943, Valetta married the love of her life, Ted ROSE. They farmed together outside Warsaw for 32 years. One night just after they were married, they went to Peterborough to see a movie. Afterward, walking up George Street, Valetta mused aloud about how lovely it would be to own a bedroom suite like the one in a store's display window. The next day, Ted came home with the furniture. Valetta never did discover how he'd afforded it.
In 1975, Ted and Valetta sold the farm and retired to Norwood. Ted died in 1987.
Last year, Valetta set off for Scotland with her daughters Beattie and Judy, their husbands, Bob BECHTEL and David GORDON, and Judy and David's two sons, Ian and Paul. Valetta announced, "On this trip, I just want to enjoy being all together." For three weeks, they drove around staying at bed and breakfasts and exploring the islands off the north coast. She was planning another trip this year -- to Judy's home in Vancouver.
For 40 years, Valetta followed the advice of one Dr. JARVIS, whose book Folk Medicine taught the benefits of lecithin, and she followed his prescription for a daily teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with honey in a half glass of water to keep herself free from the worst of arthritis and other afflictions. Valetta knew that the secret of caring for others was simply to enjoy their company and, as the family "Information Central," loved to share stories of their successes.
She had her own place in Canadian cultural history. Filmmaker Norman JEWISON, a cousin, mentioned Valetta to writer Don HARRON, who immediately claimed her for use as the wife of his fictional character Charlie FARQUHARSON. Soon Valetta was credited with writing down Charlie's Hist'ry of Canada on those days when it was "too wet to plough." A highlight of Valetta's 90th birthday party was a card and framed photo from her "second husband."
Valetta made the best of every minute. She spent her last night on the bed that Ted had bought for her so many years before. Her spirit will delight family and Friends for years to come.
Jim PATTERSON is Valetta's sister Cora's youngest son. He was helped by Beattie, Ken, Cora HENDREN and Stephen PATTERSON.

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BECK o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-08-06 published
Linda STEARNS: 1937-2003
As ballet mistress and artistic director of the esteemed Montreal company, she nurtured personality, flair and a risk-taking approach to dance
By Paula CITRON Wednesday, August 6, 2003 - Page R5
In the cutthroat, competitive world of dance, Linda STEARNS was an anomaly. As artistic director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, she never played games or held grudges. Whether good or bad news, she bluntly told her dancers what they had to hear, and in return, her open-door policy allowed them to vent their own feelings. National Ballet of Canada artistic director James KUDELKA, who spent almost a decade as a member of Les Grands Ballets, likens her approach to wearing an invisible raincoat upon which unhappy dancers spewed their venom. At the end of their tirades, she would serenely remove the garment and say, "Now let's talk."
Linda STEARNS died at her home in Toronto on July 4, at age 65.
She was born into privilege on October 22, 1937. Her father, Marshal, was an investment broker; her mother, Helen, was heavily involved in charity work. The family lived in the posh Poplar Plains area of central Toronto, where Ms. STEARNS attended Branksome Hall.
Despite their wealth, the STEARNS children (Linda, Nora and Marshal) were expected to earn their own livings. Helen STEARNS had studied dance in her youth, but a career was never an option. When eldest daughter Linda showed a strong talent, history might have repeated itself had not Marshal Sr. set aside his reservations after seeing his daughter perform.
After graduating from high school, Ms. STEARNS went to London and New York for advanced training. It was the great Alexandra Danilova, one of Ms. STEARNS's New York teachers, who pointed the young dancer in the direction of the upstart Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Ms. STEARNS joined Les Grands in 1961, and was promoted to soloist in 1964. In a Who's Who of Entertainment entry, Ms. STEARNS was once listed as joining the company in 1861, and she liked to joke that, at 103 years, she held the record for the longest time spent in the corps de ballet. In fact, one of Ms. STEARNS's hallmarks was her sense of humour, much of it at her own expense.
Les Grands was known for taking dancers who did not necessarily have perfect ballet bodies, but had personality and flair, a policy Ms. STEARNS continued during her own administration.
Although Ms. STEARNS had very unballetic, low-arched feet, she was a fine classical dancer. She excelled, however, in the dramatic repertoire: Mother Courage in Richard Kuch's The Brood, or the title role in Brydon Paige's Medea. In later years, while teaching and coaching, Ms. STEARNS wore high heels to conceal her hated low arches -- while showing off her attractive ankles.
Her performing career was cut short in 1966 when artistic director Ludmilla CHIRIAEFF recognized that Ms. STEARNS would make a brilliant ballet mistress, and by 1969, Ms. STEARNS was exclusively in the studio. In fact, giving up performing was one of the great disappointments of her life, although she did in time acknowledge that she had found her true destiny. Ms. STEARNS's astonishingly keen eye allowed her to single out, in a corps de ballet of moving bodies, every limb that was out of position. She could also sing every piece of music, which saved a lot of time, because she didn't have to keep putting on the tape recorder. Because of her intense musicality, Ms. STEARNS also insisted that the dancers not just be on the count, but fill every note with movement.
Ms. STEARNS loved playing with words -- she was a crossword-puzzle addict, for example -- and gave the dancers nicknames, whether they liked them or not. Catherine LAFORTUNE was Katrink, Kathy BIEVER was Little Frog, Rosemary NEVILLE was Rosie Posie, Betsy BARON was Boops, and Benjamin HATCHER was Benjamino, to name but a few. One who escaped this fate was Gioconda BARBUTO, simply because Ms. STEARNS loved rolling out the word "G-I-O-C-O-N-D-A" in its full Italian glory. The dancers, in turn, called her Lulubelle, Mme. Gozonga and La Stearnova or, if they were feeling tired, cranky and hostile -- and were out of earshot -- Spoons (for her non-arched feet) and even less flattering names. As reluctantly as she became ballet mistress, Ms. STEARNS became artistic director, first as one of a triumvirate in 1978 with Danny JACKSON and Colin McINTYRE (when Les Grands and Brian MacDONALD came to an abrupt parting of the ways;) then with Jeanne RENAUD in 1985 and finally on her own in 1987. She retired from Les Grands in 1989. Both Mr. JACKSON and Mr. McINTRYE still refer to Ms. STEARNS as the company's backbone.
These were the famous creative years that included the works of Mr. KUDELKA, Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch, Nacho Duato and George Balanchine. Les Grands toured the world performing one of the most exciting and eclectic repertoires in ballet. It was a company that nurtured dancers and choreographers, many of whom reflected Ms. STEARNS's risk-taking, innovative esthetic.
She also had time to mentor choreographers outside the company, including acclaimed solo artist Margie GILLIS. Her post-Grands career included writing assessments for the Canada Council, setting works on ballet companies, coaching figure skating, and most recently, becoming ballet mistress for the Toronto-based Ballet Jörgen. When she was diagnosed with both ovarian and breast cancer two years ago, she continued her obligations to Ballet Jörgen until she was no longer able, never letting the dancers know how ill she was.
Ms. STEARNS loved huge dogs -- or what Ms. GILLIS refers to as mountains with fur -- and always had at least two. Her gardens were magnificent, as was her cooking. Her generosity was legendary, whether inviting 20 people for Christmas dinner, or hosting the wedding reception for dancers Andrea BOARDMAN and Jean-Hugues ROCHETTE at her tastefully decorated Westmount home. After leaving Montreal, whether, first, at her horse farm in Harrow, Ontario, or at the one-room schoolhouse she lovingly renovated near Campbellville, northwest of Toronto, former colleagues were always welcome.
She continued to keep in touch with her dancers, sending notes in her beautiful, distinctive handwriting. Her love of sports never left her, and after a hard day in the studio, she would relax watching the hockey game. Religion also filled her postdance life, with Toronto's Anglican Grace-Church-on-the-Hill at its epicentre. Ms. STEARNS was very discreet in her private life, although another disappointment is that neither of two long relationships resulted in marriage or children.
Ms. STEARNS was always ruthlessly self-critical, always striving for perfection, never convinced she had rehearsed a work to its full potential. As a result, she never made herself the centre of her own story. Her homes, for example, did not contain photographs glorifying the career of Linda STEARNS. Only at the end of her days, as she faced death with the same grace with which she had faced life, was she finally able to appreciate how many lives she had touched, and accept her outstanding achievements with Les Grands Ballets. Linde HOWE- BECK, former dance critic for the Montreal Gazette, sums up Ms. STEARNS perfectly when she says that she was all about love -- for her Friends and family, for life, but most of all, for dance.
Paula CITRON is dance critic for The Globe and Mail.

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BECK o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-09-24 published
COBLENTZ, Harry Stagg
Born in London, England, June 12, 1926 and died on Saturday, September 20, 2003. He dearly loved, and was dearly loved by, his wife Josephine (Craig) and his children, Linda (Bernard BECK,) Jenny (Edmund STELMACHER,) Craig (Bonnie CAMERON,) and Eliza (Michael KENDRICK.) He will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by his grandchildren, Amy (Warren STEVENS,) Andrew, Aaron, Bianca, Ailish, Maggie, Hunter, Parkes, and Rennie, and great-grand_sons Sajen and Cannon.
He was educated at King's College, Durham University and University of North Carolina. He worked in the Planning profession in London, England, Toronto Township, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Phoenix, Arizona. He was professor of planning at Waterloo, Arizona State, and Pennsylvania State Universities.
Friends and family will gather to celebrate his beautiful life at Saint John's Anglican Church in Elora, Friday, September 26 at 3: 30 p.m. In memory of his lifelong passion for learning, teaching, and books, remembrances to the Waterloo Region Library, Elmira Branch, Children's Department, would be greatly appreciated by his family.

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BECK o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-27 published
DEVEAU, Robert
Died suddenly on December 21, 2003. Husband of Trixie; father of Damien, Kylie and Jordana; son of Adele (deceased) and Adolph brother of Jerry and Diane of Connecticut; uncle of Paul and Nicholas BECK, Toronto and E.J., Elizabeth and Christopher, U.S.A. A larger than life personality, a passion for his work with art, especially carpets, drew us into his world, which will be sadly diminished by his absence. A service will be held at St. James Chapel, Cabbagetown, 635 Parliament Street, on Monday, December 29, 2003 at 11 a.m. All Friends are invited. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a Memorial Fund at the Board of Trade, Woodbridge, in his honour.

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BECKER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-03-22 published
Died This Day -- Abigail BECKER, 1905
Saturday, March 22, 2003 - Page F11
Farmer and homemaker born in Frontenac County, Upper Canada, on March 14, 1830; in 1848, settled on Long Point, Lake Erie in November, 1848, rescued crew of schooner aground in storm crew clung to frozen rigging all night, not daring to enter the raging surf; waded shoulder-high into water and helped seven men reach shore; cook refused and remained lashed to the rigging until next day; awarded medals for heroism; received $350 collected by grateful people of Buffalo, New York, and a handwritten letter from Queen Victoria accompanied by £50; in later years, aided six other shipwrecked sailors and saved a boy from a deep well raised 17 children; died at Walsingham Centre, Ontario; "Heroine of Long Point" commemorated by plaque in Port Rowan, Ontario, and by the Abigail Becker Conservation area.

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BECKERMAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-06-21 published
WALLACE, Matthew Maurice ''Mo'' (Long term Confederation Life Employee, World War 2 Veteran, avid bridge player)
Died peacefully, on June 19, 2003, in his 81st year, at the Toronto East General Hospital. Loving husband of 55 years to Hazel and much loved father of Sean, Tony and his fiancée Barb SECKER, Erin WALLACE and her husband Steve BROWN, and Laura WALLACE. Cherished Grand-Dad and ''Zaide'' of Naomi and Colin BROWN, and Sarah and Rachel BECKERMAN. Sadly missed brother of Virginia WALLACE and predeceased by his dear sister Barbara. Fondly remembered Godfather of Jeanne SHEMILT and her family. ''Mo'' will always be remembered by his many Friends and relatives. As he wished, his body has been donated to the Division of Anatomy at the University of Toronto. Mo's family will receive Friends at the Sherrin Funeral Home, 873 Kingston Road (west of Victoria Park Avenue), Toronto (416) 698-2861, on Sunday, June 22, 2003 from 4 - 6 p.m. We will celebrate a life lived well in the funeral home chapel on Monday at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Anne Frank House, would be appreciated by the family.

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BECKETT o@ca.on.manitoulin.howland.little_current.manitoulin_expositor 2003-01-22 published
James Athey BECKETT
At Chelsey Park Nursing Home, London on Sunday, January 19, 2003 James Athey Beckett of London, formerly of Kitchener and born in Sunrise Kentucky, in his 88th year. Beloved husband of Ruth (MILLSON) BECKETT. Dear father of Ruth Ann BASTERT and Nancy BELL of Sheguiandah, Manitoulin Island, Mary Lou BECKETT and Chuck EBERLEY of Ottawa, Sandy Lee BECKETT of London. Dear grandfather of Peggy, Shawn, Ian and Wendy, Matthew and Aaron. Also survived by nine great-grandchildren. Predeceased by brothers John and Bud and a sister Suzanna. Friends called at the C. Haskett and son Funeral Home, 223 Main Street, Lucan on Monday, January 20 where the funeral service was held on Tuesday, January 21 with Reverend Fred McKINNON officiating. Cremation with interment St. James Cemetery, Clandeboye. Condolences may be forwarded through www.haskettfh.com

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BECKETT o@ca.on.manitoulin.howland.little_current.manitoulin_expositor 2003-05-07 published
Ruby WILLSON
In loving memory of Ruby WILLSON, May 15, 1937 to April 30, 2003.
Ruby WILLSON, a resident of Ice Lake, died at the Mindemoya Hospital on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 at the age of 65 years. She was born in Kagawong, daughter of the late Nelson and Lillian (TRUDEAU) PIERCE.
Ruby was an "Adventuress" and enjoyed life to its fullest. She had worked as a hostess at Harbour Island as well as being a navigator on sail boats, and had sailed many places, including the open seas. She enjoyed many things, such as needlework, baking, reading and especially loved to entertain and host people. Her favourite place was Harbour Island. A loving wife, mother and grandmother, she will be sadly missed, but many happy memories will be cherished. Dearly loved wife and best friend of Chuc WILLSON. Loving and loved mother of Dennis BECKETT and Deanna BENOIT both of Kagawong, Rob BECKETT of Pefferlaw and Juanda GEORGE of Espanola. Proud grandmother of James, Charles, Kevin, Crestienne, Aaron, Brandon and Sheldon. Also survived by Lake WILSON and his daughter Jasmine. Dear sister of Sandra JAMES. Predeceased by husbands Robert BECKETT, Carl REINGUETTE and John PETRIE and brother Reynold PIERCE.
A private family funeral service will be conducted at the Culgin Funeral Home, followed by cremation. A public memorial service will be conducted at Lyons Memorial United Church on Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 11: 00 a.m. with Pastor Maxine McVEY officiating. If so desired, donations may be made to Strawberry Point Christian Camp or the Mindemoya Hospital Auxiliary. Culgin Funeral Home 282-2270.

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BECKETT o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-09-06 published
BECKETT, Charlotte Mae (Died April 28, 2003)
BECKETT, John ''Jack'' (Died July 27, 2003)
A graveside service for both Charlotte and Jack BECKETT will be held on Saturday, September 13, 2003 at 2 o'clock at Wilfrid Cemetery, Wilfrid, Ontario -- near Pefferlaw, Ontario. The family wish to thank everyone for their expression of sympathy and show of condolence during their time of sorrow.

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BECKMAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-15 published
GENSER, Bonnie
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Bonnie GENSER, who died on Sunday, November 29th, 2003. She died peacefully, without pain, with her family by her side. She was predeceased by her husband Harold GENSER who died in 1980, and her siblings Rebecca JAUVOISH, Lottie BECKMAN, Bessie MELEMADE, David LEVIN, Rosie LEVIN, Esther POLLOCK and Harry LEVIN. She leaves to grieve her death and celebrate her life, three daughters, Naomi COHEN (Jared SABLE,) Toronto, Barbara BUTLER, Winnipeg, Susan STARR (Don STARR), Toronto, London, six grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren. In addition to her immediate family, she is remembered by her sisters-in-law Esther Genser KAPLAN, Myrna LEVIN, Beverley LEVIN and Marion Vaisley GENSER, and many nieces and nephews.
Bonnie served in a leadership capacity in various areas of the community; president of the Bride's group, National Council of Jewish Women, president of Lillian Frieman Chapter of Hadassah, founder of the Shaarey Zedek Girl Guides, and later as a commissioner of the Manitoba Girl Guides. During her many visits to Israel she served as a volunteer in areas of agriculture, education, archaelogy, and social services.
She lived life to the fullest, and will be remembered for her dynamic personality, wit, charm, generosity, and infectious smile which made everyone feel special.
We wish to thank Vangie, Claire, Amy, and Ruth for their loving care.
Pallbearers were her grand_sons Scott COHEN, Paul RAYBURN, Josh BUTLER, Sheldon POTTER, granddaughters Hally and Misha STARR, and nephews Michael and Daniel LEVIN. Honorary pallbearers were Don STARR, Jared SABLE, Perry RAYBURN, and Mayer LAWEE.
Rabbi Allan GREEN officiated and her granddaughter Leanne POTTER spoke on behalf of the family. Donations in Bonnie's memory may be made to The Bonnie Genser Fund in the Women's Endowment Fund of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, C-400-123 Doncaster Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3N 2B2, (204) 477-7525 or www.jewishfoundation.org or the charity of your choice.

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