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"BLO" 2003 Obituary


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BLOCK o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-05-22 published
Trumpeter ran jazz club
By Mark MILLER Thursday, May 22, 2003 - Page R7
Toronto -- He was the voice of doom.
Every so often, out of the blue, he would call.
"Mark," he barked loudly into the telephone. "Paul Grosney," he continued, his voice dropping on the third syllable. "We've lost another one."
And now we've lost Paul GROSNEY. The Toronto trumpet player who kept the local community informed of deaths in the world of jazz has himself passed away. He died Saturday in his sleep at his Toronto home. He was 80.
An amiably gruff man with the proverbial heart of gold, Mr. GROSNEY liked to be in the know. As a teenager in his native Winnipeg, he would make the acquaintance of the American musicians who passed through town -- members of vibraphonist Red Norvo's band, for example, which played a fortnight at the Odd Fellows Hall.
"In those two weeks," Mr. GROSNEY remembered in 1994, "I got to know those guys very well. I got them up in the morning and put them to bed at night."
Mr. GROSNEY, who was born on February 10, 1924, spent some time in Toronto and New York after travelling overseas with an Royal Canadian Air Force variety show during the Second World War. Later, he served as the bandleader in several Winnipeg nightclubs, notably the Rancho Don Carlos, where he played for many important American entertainers.
In 1959, he returned to Toronto and continued his career in hotel, theatre and studio orchestras. He also ran a booking agency and acted as music director from 1973 to 1984 for the now-legendary jazz club Bourbon Street, where he matched visiting American stars with local rhythm sections.
In later years, Mr. GROSNEY led his own jazz group, the Kansas City Local, and was a featured soloist with other Dixieland and Swing orchestras. His recordings include the 1998 Compact Disk I'm Just Wild About Harry, a tribute to the American trumpeter Harry James.
Mr. GROSNEY's connections extended beyond music to show business more generally. He enjoyed a second career writing sketch material for Canadian and U.S. television variety shows, including The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and Bizarre.
He leaves his son Michael and sister Jeanette BLOCK.

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BLOCK o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-05 published
BLOCK, Matthew Alexander
Tragically died of injuries sustained when struck by a car on Hallowe'en evening. Matthew passed away peacefully with his family by his side at the McMaster Medical Centre on Saturday, November 1, 2003. He was 12 years old.
Matthew BLOCK (Cambridge, Ontario) is the cherished son of Kelly (née FLOOD) and Robert BROOK, dear brother of Stephen, Kevin, Andrew, Caitlin and Jenny, friend of Brent, and precious grand_son of Ellen and Denis CASE, Dennis and Patricia FLOOD, Stanley and Evelyn BROOK. He will also be sadly missed by his great aunts and uncles.
Loved nephew of Sheryl FLOOD and Douglas RITCHIE, Christopher CASE, Leslie (née CASE) and Rodney GIEBLER, Debbie and Jerry and Dave and Denise; and cousins Nicole and Alexander. Special friend of Keith, Lena, Zeo and Matthew BENNETT; Ted and Joe GIBBONS Doreen BROWN and Lloyd STEWARD/STEWART/STUART; and all of his many Friends and their families.
Matthew was a student at St. Joseph's School in Cambridge, and he enjoyed playing left wing with Hespler Minor Hockey. Matthew was also an aspiring chef who shared his passion for cooking with all who knew him.
We wish to thank all those who have given us their love and support, and we offer our heartfelt gratitude to the staff at Cambridge Memorial Hospital, McMaster Medical Centre, and specifically Dr. Holly SMITH, Nancy FRAM, and Chaplin Steve. We were comforted to know that Matthew gave the gift of life to seven families through organ donation.
Our dear Matthew will be greatly missed by all who knew him. It was a great joy and honour to have shared 12 years with him.
Friends will be received on Tuesday and Wednesday from 6: 00-9:00 p.m. at Littles Funeral Home and Cremation Centre, 223 Main Street East, Cambridge www.funeralscanada.com Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Clements R.C. Church, 745 Duke Street, Cambridge on Thursday, November 6th at 10: 00 a.m. Cremation to follow. In memory of Matthew, donations would be appreciated to ''Kids Can Play'' and to the school that he loved, St. Joseph's in Preston, for any educational needs.

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BLOCK o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-13 published
BLOCK, Renee Renata, M.S.W.
Died peacefully in her home in the presence of her family on Monday, November 10, 2003. Devoted and loving mother of David and Anita. Cherished by her many Friends. A superlative Social Worker. Predeceased by her brother Theo. Sincere thanks to the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care and the Bayview Community Hospice. A graveside gathering will be held at 2: 00 p.m. on Saturday, November 15th at Mount Pleasant Cemetery; meet outside the Cemetery Office at 1: 30 p.m. A Celebration of Renata's life will take place at a time to be announced. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Renata's memory can be made to Amnesty International, Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, Water Can, Toronto Humane Society. Arrangements entrusted to The Simple Alternative Funeral Centre, 416-441-1580.

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BLOOM o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-10-08 published
Observers hail ASPER contribution
But views on Israel and direction of news coverage also provoked controversy
By Richard BLOOM and Paul WALDIE Wednesday, October 8, 2003 - Page B7
In its early days, CanWest Global Communications Corp. may have had the dubious moniker of The Love Boat network, but there is no doubt Izzy ASPER made "very significant" contributions to Canadian media, industry observers said yesterday.
At the same time, his actions as head of the media empire weren't without controversy.
Mr. ASPER died yesterday at 71. A tax lawyer by training, he is more commonly known as the founder of Winnipeg-based CanWest the parent of the Global network of television stations, and which, in 2000, engineered a multibillion-dollar purchase of Southam Newspaper Group, National Post and other assets from Conrad BLACK's Hollinger Inc.
Glenn O'FARRELL, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, said Mr. ASPER left a huge broadcasting legacy.
"The Canadian broadcasting system has been built over the last number of decades through the efforts of some fairly significant entrepreneurs, and Izzy ASPER was clearly one of those," Mr. O'FARRELL said. "He brought an incredibly astute vision of what could be done and what should be done in the name of strengthening Canada's place both domestically and internationally."
Mr. O'FARRELL worked at CanWest for 12 years and said working for Mr. ASPER was stimulating. "It was absolutely a privilege to work with somebody who possessed the depth and the breadth of his intellectual curiosity and interests."
Mr. ASPER also provoked controversy over the years with his views on Israel and his drive to converge news coverage at CanWest's newspapers.
In 2002, he fired Russell MILLS, publisher of the Ottawa Citizen, after an apparent conflict over editorial independence. At the time, CanWest forced papers across the chain to carry editorials written by officials in the company's head office. The policy sparked a barrage of complaints about a lack of editorial freedom at the papers. The removal of Mr. MILLS prompted a wave of protests against CanWest from Parliament to media organizations around the world. Mr. MILLS sued and reached a settlement with the company a few months later.
Mr. ASPER's staunch defence of Israel also left him open to charges that CanWest's papers do not fairly cover events in the Middle East. In a speech last year, he attacked media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and accused several media outlets of having an anti-Israel bias. He singled out coverage by CNN, The New York Times, British Broadcasting Corp. and Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and said anti-Israel bias was a "cancer" destroying media credibility.
He has often criticized the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in particular for what he has called the broadcaster's anti-Israel coverage. Yesterday, a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. official declined to comment on Mr. ASPER's views.
Still, amid the controversy, Christopher DORNAN, director of Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication, praised Mr. ASPER's role in Canadian journalism.
"We're still, in the entertainment area, overshadowed by the exports of the juggernaut to the south. What's really ours is non-fiction, it's journalism... in as much as Israel ASPER built CanWest into a major, major player in that sector, his contribution is clearly significant."
Added Mr. DORNAN: " There are uncharitable souls that would argue that CanWest's contribution to the Canadian cultural landscape was negligible.
"Because when CanWest built itself as a network, in the early days, it was known as The Love Boat Network -- all they did was buy cheap, populist American programming, got ratings and contributed very little to Canadian cultural production. They made very little programming of their own and what they did make was in grudging compliance with Canadian content regulations," he said.
Mr. DORNAN argued that the Canadian media industry is not about keeping the Americans at bay, but instead about funnelling in highly desired American content in the most advantageous way possible.
Mr. ASPER built a television network that now employs "people from network executives to janitors. Those jobs would not have existed had he not done that. And now, of course, they do actually make some programming," Mr. DORNAN said.
Vince CARLIN, chairman of the School of Journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto, agreed, noting that history books won't likely describe him as a great endorser of Canadian culture.
"That's not what he was about. He was a businessman," said Mr. CARLIN, the former head of Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Newsworld, who had met with Mr. ASPER on numerous occasions.
"He learned how to use those [business] skills to create very dynamic business enterprises, but [CanWest] would never put cultural considerations ahead of business considerations," Mr. CARLIN said.
He explained how in his company's early days, Mr. ASPER insisted to government officials that his chain of television stations was not a "network" but instead a "system," because being dubbed a network was less advantageous from a business perspective. When regulations shifted, Mr. ASPER changed gears, calling the stations a network, Mr. CARLIN said.
Mr. ASPER was also involved in a bitter legal battle with Robert LANTOS, a prominent Toronto-based filmmaker. Mr. ASPER sued Mr. LANTOS for libel over comments he made during a speech in 1998. In the speech, Mr. LANTOS described Mr. ASPER as "the forces of darkness, whose greed is surpassed only by their hypocrisy." Mr. ASPER said the comments left the impression he was dishonest and disloyal.

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