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"COX" 2003 Obituary


COX  COXETER 

COX o@ca.on.manitoulin.howland.little_current.manitoulin_expositor 2003-02-12 published
Alice Lucy WILLIAMS
Alice Lucy WILLIAMS passed away at the Collingwood Nursing Home, on Friday, February 7, 2003 in her 88th year.
Alice (McGIBBON) beloved wife of the late George WILLIAMS. Dear mother of Wilda and her husband Hazen WHITE/WHYTE of Providence Bay, Manitoulin Island and the late Eileen WILLIAMS and Robert Arthur WILLIAMS. Survived by her daughter-in-law Helen BOUTET. Loving grandmother of Bruce and the late Shirley WHITE/WHYTE, Wilma Eileen WHITE/WHYTE, Linda Darlene and her husband Bradford LEIBEL, Robert Bruce WILLIAMS, Julie Marie and her husband Joe STEWARD/STEWART/STUART and the late Douglas Allan WHITE/WHYTE, nine great grandchildren: Matthew WHITE/WHYTE, Marcus WHITE/WHYTE, Sarah HAMILL, Curtis MERRITT, Liana MERRITT, Joshua COX, Kimberly LEIBEL, Neil LEIBEL, Nicole STEWARD/STEWART/STUART and three great great grandchildren, Dominique, Tristan and Brayden. Funeral service was held at the Chatterson-Long Funeral Home, 404 Hurontario Street, Collingwood, on Tuesday, February 11, 2003. Spring Interment Silver Water Cemetery, Manitoulin Island.

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COX o@ca.on.manitoulin.howland.little_current.manitoulin_expositor 2003-09-10 published
Sidney William COX
In loving memory of Sidney William COX, on Saturday, September 6, 2003 at the Mindemoya Hospital at the age of 90.
Born in England in 1913. Beloved husband of the late Hollis (Nee MARSHALL) 1986. Loving father of Bill and friend Marilyn, Jack and wife Ruth Anne, Charlie and friend Norma, Anne and husband Frank HANER, Mary and husband Vance McGAULEY. Fondly remembered by 10 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. Survived by one sister Frances BREATHAT. Predeceased by brother Arthur and sister Kathleen FERGUSON. Brother-in-law Charlie FERGUSON. Sister-in-law Mazie AELICK and Leona MARSHALL. Sadly missed by friend Mildred. Visitation was held on Monday, September 8, 2003. Funeral service was held on Tuesday, September 9, 2003 at Saint Francis of Assisi Anglican Church, Mindemoya, Ontario. Burial in Mindemoya Cemetery. Island Funeral Home.

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COX o@ca.on.manitoulin.howland.little_current.manitoulin_expositor 2003-09-24 published
Charles Sidney FERGUSON
In loving memory of Charles Sidney FERGUSON on Saturday, September 20, 2003 at Mindemoya Hospital at the age of 76 years.
Born to William and Kathleen (née COX) FERGUSON on May 20, 1927. Beloved husband of the late Audis (née MARSHALL) 1991. Loving father of Sharleen and husband Ian VANHORN, Lori McLENNAN, all of Mindemoya. Special Poppa of Darryl VANHORN and friend Skye, Shannon and husband Marc DROUIN, Jessica McLENNAN. Cherished by great granddaughters Jamey and Taylor VANHORN. Fondly remembered by Susan LANKTREE- VANHORN. Will be missed by sisters, Monica and husband Jim CORRIGAN, Barbara and husband Caryl MOGGY, all of Mindemoya, brother William FERGUSON of M'Chigeeng and sisters-in-law Mazie AELICK and Leona MARSHALL. Funeral service was held on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 at St. Francis of Assisi Anglican Church, Mindemoya.
Cremation with burial in Mindemoya Cemetery. Island Funeral Home.

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COX o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-04-11 published
COX, Reverend Michael T., S.F.M.
Father Michael COX died peacefully, on April 9, 2003, after a lengthy battle with stomach cancer. He was the son of the late John Thomas COX and Catherine Anne MacKENZIE of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Born in Glace Bay, Father COX attended St. Anthony's Elementary and Saint Anne's High School, graduating in 1942. He joined the Scarboro Foreign Mission Society in September 1944 and was ordained to the priesthood in December 1950. He was assigned to mission in Japan in the summer of 1951 and worked there for 50 years, serving in various parishes. He returned to Canada in 2001 to retire. Father COX was the last surviving member of his immediate family. He was predeceased by sisters Elizabeth (who died in infancy,) Mary LAFFIN, and Sister Martha MARY, a member of the Sisters of Charity; and by his brothers Joe, Neil, George, and Father William, also a member of Scarboro Missions. Father Cox is survived by his sister-in-law Mrs. Kathleen COX of Glace Bay with whom he resided since January 2003, by several nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews, and by members of his Scarboro Missions community. The Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated Saturday, April 12, at St. Anthony's parish in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Father Cox will be buried beside his parents at St. Anthony's Parish Cemetery. Memorial donations can be made to Scarboro Missions or to a charity of your choice.

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COX o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-05-06 published
SPRAGGE, Godfrey L.
Died suddenly, at Kingston General Hospital, on Sunday, May 4, 2003, in the presence of his sons John and Michael. He leaves behind a loving family, a circle of Friends who shared his passionate concern for peace and social justice, and who will miss him very much. He was married to Shirley (née COX) for forty-one years. They were a couple and best Friends for fifty years before her death in 1995.
Born in Toronto on January 4, 1929, he studied at Trinity College, Toronto, and worked as a land surveyor and Urban Planner before obtaining his Masters of Planning from Cornell University. He then went on to help found the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Queen's University, Kingston, where he taught for twenty-five years. Following his retirement from Queen's, he trained with Project Accompaniment to serve as an electron observer and witness for peace in Guatemala.
His passion for social justice led him to the Early Years Coalition and Better Beginnings, Kingston Electors On Line, and the Kingston Faith and Justice Coalition. He derived great strength from his involvement with men's support groups, and great pleasure from piano lessons and singing with the Kingston Choral Society and Open Voices Choir. His spiritual journey began with the Anglican Church and led to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
Since the death of his wife, he found great joy with his many Friends. He is survived by his sisters Elizabeth (J.D. WATSON and their three children) of Belfast, and Monica of Toronto sons John (Allison MacDUFFEE) and Michael (Lynne FORAN) of Toronto. He particularly delighted in his grandchildren Kathleen and Liam.
His family will receive Friends at the Robert J. Reid and Sons Funeral Home, 309 Johnson Street, Kingston, on Thursday, May 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. His life will be celebrated at a meeting for worship in the Quaker tradition on Saturday, May 10 at 1: 30 p.m. at the University Club, 130 Stuart Street, Kingston, Ontario. There will also be a Memorial Service at Trinity College Chapel on Monday, May 12 at 2 p.m. with a reception to follow in the Combination Private Dining Room. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the United Way serving Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington for the Success by Six Program, 417 Bagot Street, Kingston, Ontario K7K 3C1 or the Kingston Symphony Association, P.O. 1616, 11 Princess Street, Suite 206, Kingston, Ontario K7L 5C8.
Online Guest Book www.reidfuneralhome.com (613) 548-7973

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COX o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-06-18 published
Nova Scotia's marathon man
Cape Breton boy was Boston's most surprising victor
By Kevin COX Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - Page R5
Halifax -- Johnny MILES was first the determined champion, then the gentle grandfather of Canadian distance running.
His first major running prize was a sack of flour in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, in 1922 -- he finished third in the three-mile race but was first to sprint by the store. After four years of training including sprints behind his grocery cart, the humble, unknown 20-year-old Cape Breton delivery boy and Sunday-school teacher stunned the running world by defeating its best athletes to win the prestigious Boston Marathon.
It was a win that Mr. MILES and his father had calmly predicted to a policeman and a race official the day before. But even Johnny MILES had his doubts on that chilly April Monday as he pounded along the 26.2-mile course on his 95-cent shoes from the Co-op store in his hometown.
At the 22-mile mark, Mr. MILES was running stride for stride with leader and Finnish running legend Albin STENROOS when he looked over and saw a blank and exhausted expression on his rival's face.
"I knew right there that I had him and I had to make a move," he recalled with the gleam of a fierce competitor in his eye in an interview 54 years later. "He was rubbing his side and he had a stitch, so I didn't look back. I speeded up and I think that took the heart out of him."
He is still widely hailed among running raconteurs as the most surprising victor in the 107-year history of the event. Mr. MILES's time -- then a world marathon record -- was so unbelievable that race officials measured the Boston course -- and found it 176 yards short of the classic 26-mile, 385-yard distance.
"I don't know what all the fuss is about," he said in an interview in 1995. "I had a God-given gift and I used it."
Mr. MILES, his father and his mother arrived in Boston by train a few days before the marathon. The day before the race, father and son walked the course, got lost and ended up asking a burly Irish policeman for directions and received some advice that was not exactly a vote of confidence.
"My son needs to know the route because he's entered in tomorrow's race." The friendly officer smiled and said, "Tell your son to just follow the crowd."
On race day, Mr. MILES wore a red, homemade maple leaf on a white undershirt. His performance shattered the 1924 record held by the other race favourite, Clarence DEMAR, the four-time winner of the event.
"That boy ran the best marathon since that Indian [Canadian Tom LONGBOAT] in 1907," a stunned Mr. DEMAR was reported to have said.
A year later, he again challenged the gruelling course but suffered an embarrassing setback when he had to withdraw from the race with serious burns to his feet. His dad had taken a pair of his 95-cent sneakers and shaved down the soles with a straight razor so they wouldn't be so heavy. His feet -- tops and bottoms -- had bled.
It was a rare retreat. Mr. MILES, who trained on rural Cape Breton roads, dominated Canadian distance running through the late 1920s and early 1930s. He captured the Boston crown again in 1929 and won a bronze medal at the British Empire Games in 1931 and also ran the marathon in the Olympic Games in 1928 and 1932.
Born in Halifax, England, on October 30, 1905, Mr. MILES moved with his family to Cape Breton the following year. He worked as a grocery delivery boy at the time of his big win. But his first job as a young teen was in the Cape Breton coal mines. He went to work there to help support his family when his father went off to fight in the First World War.
Mr. MILES left the mines a few years later and entered his first contest -- a three-mile race in Sydney, Nova Scotia -- with the hopes of winning some fishing supplies.
He is revered in his home province of Nova Scotia even though he moved to Hamilton, Ontario, to train and take a job with International Harvester in 1927.
After his victories, some parents even named newborn children after the marathon hero. One of those babies, Johnny Miles WILLISTON, went on to become a driving force in establishing the Johnny Miles Marathon in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.
The victories on the tracks and roads by a local boy who had worked as a child coal miner at the age of 11 injected some joy and hope into Cape Breton's coal-mining towns at a time when the industry was going through tough times and work underground was brutish and dangerous.
After he hung up his thin-soled racing shoes in 1932, Mr. MILES became an ambassador for fitness and clean living. He became a manager at International Harvester and worked in many parts of the world for the company after being told by a company executive that he could make something of himself if he put the same effort into his work that he exerted in running.
When running regained popularity in the 1970s, he was startled to become a celebrity among the new set of competitors who recognized his accomplishments. While Quebec runner Gérard CÔTÉ would dominate the Boston Marathon in the 1940s, winning it four times, Johnny MILES's time of 2: 25:40 stood as the Canadian record for the event until Jerome DRAYTON ran 2: 14:46 in 1977.
He was taken aback in 1967 at being named to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
"That I should now be in the same illustrious company as the great stars of hockey, football, track and field, and other Canadian sports was a bit mind-boggling," he told author Floyd WILLISTON in the biography Johnny MILES: Nova Scotia's Marathon King in He was also caught off guard by being named to the Order of Canada in 1983.
"It's not going to change my life -- same hat size and shirt size," he told the New Glasgow Evening News.
Mr. MILES, who regularly attended races in the Hamilton area as a spectator in the 1980s, wondered how well he might have run with the technology offered to runners today.
"I think now I wouldn't eat steak before a race and I'd get these cushioned shoes and I'd know how to train," he said in an interview in New Glasgow at the marathon that was created and named after him in 1975 and still bears his name.
Mr. MILES and his wife Bess were fixtures at the Johnny Miles Marathon, which took place this past Sunday shortly after his death. Runners best remember him for his personal attention, anecdotes, quiet kindness and his enthusiasm for the sport.
Jerome BRUHM, a long-time Halifax runner and historian, remembered his first encounter with the running legend at the Johnny Miles Marathon in 1981.
"He was there and I'm nobody -- I'm just a runner. He came over and I said it was my first marathon and I was kind of nervous. He took me aside and talked to me and he said, 'Do you think you'll win the marathon'? Mr. BRUHM recalled this week. "I said, 'No, I'm a slow runner.' So, he said, 'Then go out there and do that -- finish the race and enjoy it.' He came over to me after the race and asked me how I did and how I felt. I thought that was fantastic that he would talk to me before the race and come over and check on me after the race."
He was a humble, personable man, Mr. BRUHM said.
"When he was inducted into the Canadian Running Hall of Fame, I went over to talk to him and he only wanted to talk about other people, not about what he had done."
Nova Scotia Premier John HAMM praised Mr. MILES for bringing international attention to his home province.
"We will always remember with pride his athletic accomplishments at the Boston Marathon and numerous other competitions as well as his success in business and accomplishments in life," the Premier said Monday.
In 2001, Boston Marathon officials celebrated the 75th anniversary of his startling 1926 win -- but at the age of 95, Mr. MILES said his health prevented him from attending the festivities. However, he promised to try to attend the 75th anniversary of his last Boston triumph.
Will CLONEY, long-time Boston Marathon official, had only praise for Mr. MILES. " There hasn't been a Johnny MILES in Boston since Johnny MILES."
Now there never will be.
Kevin COX is Atlantic correspondent of The Globe and Mail. He has completed 50 marathons -- including the Johhny Miles Marathon and the Boston Marathon.

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COX o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-08-01 published
COX, Elford Bradley ''E.B.''
Died peacefully, in his 90th year, on Tuesday, July 29th, 2003, at Toronto General Hospital, with loving family by his side. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth ''Bet'' (CAMPBELL,) daughters Sally SPROULE (Dale) and Kathy SUTTON (Steve,) grandchildren Jason HARLOW (Cindy KRYSAK) and Jennifer HARLOW and great-granddaughters Elizabeth and Terran HARLOW, as well as nieces Donna and Frances. He was predeceased by his brother Arthur Berwyn COX. He will be remembered with love also by his many Friends, particularly Dean ALLEN of Toronto. A family service will be held August 9th. A memorial service to celebrate E.B.'s life and work as one of Canada's foremost sculptors is being planned for September. Expressions of sympathy in the form of donations to favourite charities will be appreciated.

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COX o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-15 published
Sculptor 'entirely original'
A wood carver from a young age who made many public works, he was befriended by the Group of Seven and later carved their tombstone epitaphs
By Bill GLADSTONE, Special to The Globe and Mail Saturday, November 15, 2003 - Page F10
A Canadian sculptor who as a young man was adopted by the Group of Seven has died in Toronto. E. B. COX, who prided himself on achieving artistic and commercial success without ever taking a penny in government grants, was 89.
Mr. COX was a young associate, of some of the Group of Seven with whom he went on northern sketching trips; A. Y. JACKSON once complimented him on his "good sense of form." He later carved their tombstone epitaphs.
A wood carver from a young age, he came to master stone and even the delicate art of faceting and carving precious stones; he also tried metal, ceramics and glass. Because he liked to work fast, he pioneered the use of power tools to quicken the chiselling process, a technique that purists initially disdained as a form of cheating.
According to one 1990s guide-book, he had "more sculpture on view in Toronto's public places than any other single artist." His 20-piece Garden of the Greek Gods, originally installed in the 1950s on the Georgian Peaks near Collingwood, Ontario, was later relocated to the far more populous grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition near the Dufferin Gate. The only fully human representation in the group, an 11-foot-high statue of Hercules, was carved from a six-tonne piece of Indiana limestone -- "the biggest piece of stone used by a sculptor in Canada," according to friend and patron, Ken SMITH.
Among his many other public works are a fish fountain for a courtyard at the former Park Plaza Hotel, a stone bear for the Guild Inn, a stone Orpheus for Victoria College, lavish countertops and railings for historic bank buildings, a large seated lady for McMaster University and whimsical creatures for a school yard in Milton, Ontario
Having mastered big, he also excelled at small: He used to claim that he invented coffee-table art. He carved little totem poles to put himself through university, and became known for his small bear sculptures, which he sold at popular prices, especially at Christmas. "At university, I damned near starved," he would explain. "I don't believe in starving artists."
Influenced by Iroquois and West Coast Haida art, he focused on bears, beavers, birds and other animals as well as human torsos, masks and heads; he often caught the animals in quirky fluid poses and never failed to capture their essential natures. He once crafted an all-Canadian limited-edition chess set for the Hudson's Bay Co., with beavers as pawns, coureurs de bois as knights, Indian princesses as queens, and so on. He was "the great bridge between aboriginal art and modern art," according to Mr. SMITH and others. A picture book about him, featuring an essay by Gary Michael DAULT, was published by Boston Mills Press in 1999.
"He was entirely original," said Toronto sculptor Dora DE PEDERY- HUNT. "Absolutely nobody else did what he did. What style he had was entirely his. I call him a real good sculptor, a real good artist."
The younger of two brothers, Elford Bradley COX was born on July 16, 1914, in Botha, Alberta., where his family made a short-lived attempt at farming; he learned to carve by watching his maternal grandfather whittle kindling by the fireside. He persisted in sculpting even though his pious father was vehemently opposed to the creation of "graven images," he told Toronto Life magazine in 1997. The family returned to Bowmanville, Ontario, where E. B. spent most of his childhood, and where his mother died suddenly after an epileptic attack when her favoured son was a young teenager. When it was time for him to go to university, "his father sent him off with $5, a suitcase and a wish of good luck," said Kathy SUTTON, the younger of his two daughters.
Studying languages at the University of Toronto from 1934 to 1938, Mr. COX was befriended by German professor and painter Barker FAIRLEY, who introduced him to A. Y. JACKSON, Fred VARLEY and Arthur LISMER of the Group of Seven.
Mr. COX started teaching languages at Upper Canada College, but soon left to join the war effort as an intelligence officer, interrogating prisoners of war in Europe.
Afterward, he resumed teaching at Upper Canada College, and devoted part of a summer to a school canoe trip on the Mississauga River the next summer he escorted a group of boys on an even more adventurous trip down the Churchill River in the barren lands. "That was just unheard-of in those years," recalled Terence A. WARDROP, who joined that expedition and became Mr. COX's lifelong friend and solicitor. "It was a big trip and it was almost historic the rivers and some of the lakes were unmapped in 1948."
Quitting his teaching job in 1949, Mr. COX married the former Betty CAMPBELL, bought a farm near Palgrave, Ontario, and discovered that he could survive as a full-time artist. (Although he considered government subsidies poisonous, he once applied for a government grant to study Canadian stones suitable for sculpting -- and was turned down. "I did my stone research without their damn-fool money," he told The Globe and Mail in 1970.) Moving to a rural property in north Toronto and later to a Victorian house in eastern Toronto, he separated from his wife but remained on excellent terms with her and their daughters.
Being partial to pranks, he once purchased a canoe for his wife as a gift and, to achieve maximum surprise, paddled it to the dock at the family cottage in a rented disguise. Along with his love of humour, Friends recall his sharp wit and his ability to cut through social pretense. "He said he wanted his gravestone to read, 'I told you I was sick,' " recalled art dealer John INGRAM. " That's what I remember about him -- his great sense of humour and just what a wonderful compassionate guy he was. He tried to give this air of being an old curmudgeon, but in fact, he was anything but."
Becoming a mentor to many young artists, Mr. COX generously shared his tools and experience with them. "He didn't have much mentoring when he was learning to be an artist -- people didn't help him so he took the opposite tack," said his daughter Kathy.
Always enthusiastic and full of ideas, he was usually in his workshop early in the morning -- and kept on working even after losing his sight in his final years. His home was full of fine sculpture and painting, including a portrait of Mr. COX by Mr. FAIRLEY that hung over the mantel. "It was a lovely place, and by the time you got out of there, you were in a buying fever," Mr. SMITH recalled. "E.B. himself was part of the fun of buying stuff. People were just charmed by the atmosphere he created." He was also famously not particular about the prices he asked from genuine admirers of his work.
As for his art's place in the world, he was confident it would last, at least in the physical sense. "We'd have these long philosophical talks about whether there was an afterlife and what legacy to leave behind," friend Eric CONROY recalled. "He'd say that his stone works would be there long after Rembrandt's paintings had crumbled."
E. B. COX died in Toronto on July 29, leaving his wife Betty, daughters Sally SPROULE and Kathy SUTTON, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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COX o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-18 published
Nova Scotians proudly recall a political icon
By Kevin COX, Thursday, December 18, 2003 - Page A10
Halifax -- To many Canadians, Robert STANFIELD was a hard-luck opposition leader in the wrong place at the wrong time, but in his home province, he inspired fierce pride as a political icon.
Yesterday, the flags flew at half-mast at Province House, where he served four terms as premier from 1956-1967, and mourners signed a book of condolences for Mr. STANFIELD, who died in Ottawa at 89 on Tuesday.
"Robert STANFIELD brought a remarkable understanding of our country based on respect, strength and civility that was, and is, missing in public life," Premier John HAMM said yesterday. Mr. HAMM's low-key country style has been compared to that of Mr. STANFIELD. "We will always wonder how Canada would have moved forward with Robert STANFIELD as prime minister."
Colleagues remembered him as a compassionate, honest and decent leader who reluctantly entered partisan politics in 1949 to rebuild the Progressive Conservative Party after it had been shut out in the provincial election three years earlier.
He took the unusual step of refusing to attack the governing Liberals under long-time premier Angus L. MacDONALD, and instead chose to build up the Tory organization, which would dominate the province for decades.
He overcame the tragic death of his first wife, Joyce, in a car crash in 1954 and took the Conservatives to power two years later.
Senator John BUCHANAN, who was Nova Scotia premier for 13 years, recalled campaigning as a political rookie under Mr. STANFIELD's banner in 1967.
"Bob STANFIELD was a household name in this province. In my constituency, I would meet people I had never known before and they'd look at the badge I was wearing and say, 'Good, you're a STANFIELD man.'"
Mr. STANFIELD's folksy, earnest manner, coupled with an often self-deprecating dry wit, disguised an ambitious reform program that he brought to the economically depressed Atlantic province with a tradition of political patronage.
Under Mr. STANFIELD, the Tories undertook sweeping education changes, building several new schools, introducing vocational institutions and providing more funds for universities.
But his most controversial move was to establish one of the first provincial economic development agencies in Canada -- Industrial Estates Ltd. -- to attract industry to the province.
Entrepreneurs including grocer Frank SOBEY signed on to provide provincial money to bring businesses to Nova Scotia.
The agency had a couple of embarrassing failures that cost the government millions of dollars, but also created thousands of jobs.
Mr. BUCHANAN also spoke of Mr. STANFIELD's calm demeanour.
The senator recalled Mr. STANFIELD placidly watching in a Halifax curling club as the results came in from the 1972 election when the tally was seesawing and jubilant supporters believed that he would become prime minister.
"About 11 p.m., he just decided that he and his wife would go back to the hotel and they were going to get a good night's rest and see what would happen the next day," Mr. BUCHANAN recalled.
The next morning, Mr. STANFIELD found out the Liberals had won the election by two seats.
The homespun, Lincolnesque qualities that endeared Mr. STANFIELD to Nova Scotians were no match for the emotional Trudeaumania that swept the country in the 1968 election campaign.

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COXETER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-04-04 published
Mathemetician touted as geometry genius
Friday, April 4, 2003 - Page R13
Toronto -- The Canadian mathemetician who was considered the greatest classical geometer of his generation has died. Professor H. S. M. COXETER was 96.
Prof. COXETER, who went by the Christian name Donald (a shortened version of Macdonald, one of his middle names), dominated the math department at the University of Toronto for 60 years and was legendary in the field of hyperdimensional geometries. In particular, his work on icosahedral symmetries laid the groundwork for a 1996 Nobel Prize won by two Texan scientists who discovered the Carbon 60 molecule.
British-born, Prof. COXETER came to Canada in 1936 to perform work that influenced such luminaries as the Dutch artist M.C. ESCHER and Buckminster FULLER, who described him as "the geometer of our bestirring 20th century, the spontaneously acclaimed terrestrial curator of the historical inventory of the science of pattern analysis."
Prof. COXETER, who at one time headed the Canadian Mathematical Society and in 1997 was appointed a Companion to the Order of Canada, died on Monday.
Staff

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COXETER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-04-12 published
'He kept a little flame of geometry alive'
Superstar University of Toronto mathematician considered himself an artist, but his seminal work inevitably found practical applications
By Siobhan ROBERTS Saturday, April 12, 2003 - Page F11
Widely considered the greatest classical geometer of his time and the man who saved his discipline from near extinction, Harold Scott MacDonald COXETER, who died on March 31 at 96, said of himself, with characteristic modesty, "I am like any other artist. It just so happens that what fills my mind is shapes and numbers."
Prof. COXETER's work focused on hyperdimensional shapes, specifically the symmetry of regular figures and polytopes. Polytopes are geometric shapes of any number of dimensions that cannot be constructed in the real world and can be visualized only when the eye of the beholder possesses the necessary insight; they are most often described mathematically and sometimes can be represented with hypnotically intricate fine-line drawings.
"I like things that can be seen," Prof. COXETER once remarked. "You have to imagine a different world where these queer things have some kind of shape."
Known as Donald (shortened from MacDonald,) Prof. COXETER had such a passion for his work and unrivalled elegance in constructing and writing proofs that he motivated countless mathematicians to pick up the antiquated discipline of geometry long after it had been deemed passé.
John Horton CONWAY, the Von Neumann professor of mathematics at Princeton University, never studied under Prof. COXETER, but he considers himself an honorary student because of the COXETERian nature of his work.
"With math, what you're doing is trying to prove something and that can get very complicated and ugly. COXETER always manages to do it clearly and concisely," Prof. CONWAY said. "He kept a little flame of geometry alive by doing such beautiful works himself.
"I'm reminded of a quotation from Walter Pater's book The Renaissance. He was describing art and poetry, but he talks of a small, gem-like flame: 'To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.' "
Prof. COXETER's oeuvre included more than 250 papers and 12 books. His Introduction to Geometry, published in 1961, is now considered a classic -- it is still in print and this year is back on the curriculum at McGill University. His Regular Polytopes is considered by some as the modern-day addendum to Euclid's Elements. In 1957, he published Generators and Relations for Discrete Groups, written jointly with his PhD student and lifelong friend Willy MOSER. It is currently in its seventh edition.
Prof. COXETER's self-image as an artist was validated by his Friendship with and influence on Dutch artist M. C. ESCHER, who, when working on his Circle Limit 3 drawings, used to say, "I'm Coxetering today."
They met at the International Mathematical Congress in Amsterdam in 1954 and then corresponded about their mutual interest in repeating patterns and representations of infinity. In a letter to his son, Mr. ESCHER noted that a diagram sent to him by Prof. COXETER that inspired his Circle Limit 3 prints "gave me quite a shock."
He added that " COXETER's hocus-pocus text is no use to me at all.... I understand nothing, absolutely nothing of it."
While Mr. ESCHER claimed total ignorance of math, Prof. COXETER wrote numerous papers on the Dutchman's "intuitive geometry."
Though Prof. COXETER did geometry for its own sake, his work inevitably found practical application. Buckminster FULLER encountered his work in the construction of his geodesic domes. He later dedicated a book to Prof. COXETER: "By virtue of his extraordinary life's work in mathematics, Prof. COXETER is the geometer of our bestirring twentieth century. [He is] the spontaneously acclaimed terrestrial curator of the historical inventory of the science of pattern analysis."
Prof. COXETER's work with icosohedral symmetries served as a template of sorts in the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the Carbon 60 molecule. It has also proved relevant to other specialized areas of science such as telecommunications, data mining, topology and quasi-crystals.
In 1968, Prof. COXETER added to his list of converts an anonymous society of French mathematicians, the Bourbakis, who actively and internationally sought to eradicate classical geometry from the curriculum of math education.
"Death to Triangles, Down with Euclid!" was the Bourbaki war cry. Prof. COXETER's rebuttal: "Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But the Bourbakis were sadly mistaken."
One member of the society, Pierre CARTIER, met Prof. COXETER in Montreal and became enamoured of his work. Soon, he had persuaded his fellow Bourbakis to include Prof. COXETER's approach in their annual publication. "An entire volume of Bourbaki was thoroughly inspired by the work of COXETER," said Prof. CARTIER, a professor at Denis Diderot University in Paris.
In the 1968 volume, Prof. COXETER's name was writ large into the lexicon of mathematics with the inauguration of the terms "COXETER number," " COXETER group" and "COXETER graph."
These concepts describe symmetrical properties of shapes in multiple dimensions and helped to bridge the old-fashioned classical geometry with the more au courant and applied algebraic side of the discipline. These concepts continue to pervade geometrical discourse, several decades after being discovered by Prof. COXETER.
Prof. COXETER became a serious mathematician at the relatively late age of 14, though family folklore has it that, as a toddler, he liked to stare at the columns of numbers in the financial pages of his father's newspaper.
He was born into a Quaker family in Kensington, just west of London, on February 9, 1907. His mother, Lucy GEE, was a landscape artist and portrait painter, and his father, Harold, was a manufacturer of surgical instruments, though his great love was sculpting.
They had originally named their son MacDonald Scott COXETER, but a godparent suggested that the boy's father's name should be added at the front. Another relative then pointed out that H.M.S. COXETER made him sound like a ship of the royal fleet so the names were switched around.
When Prof. COXETER was 12, he created his own language -- "Amellaibian" a cross between Latin and French, and filled a 126-page notebook with information on the imaginary world where it was spoken.
But more than anything he fancied himself a composer, writing several piano concertos, a string quartet and a fugue. His mother took her son and his musical compositions to Gustav HOLST. His advice: "Educate him first."
He was then sent to boarding school, where he met John Flinders PETRIE, son of Egyptologist Sir Flinders PETRIE. The two were passing time at the infirmary contemplating why there were only five Platonic solids -- the cube, tetrahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron. They then began visualizing what these shapes might look like in the fourth dimension. At the age of 15, Prof. COXETER won a school prize for an English essay on how to project these geometric shapes into higher dimensions -- he called it "Dimensional Analogy."
Prof. COXETER's father took his son along with his essay to meet friend and fellow pacifist Bertrand RUSSELL. Mr. RUSSELL recommended Prof. COXETER to mathematician E.H. NEVILLE, a scout, of sorts, for mathematics prodigies. He was impressed by Prof. COXETER's work but appalled by some inexcusable gaps in his mathematical knowledge. Prof. NEVILLE arranged for private tutelage in pursuit of a scholarship at Cambridge. During this period, Prof. COXETER was forbidden from thinking in the fourth dimension, except on Sundays.
He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1926 and was among five students handpicked by Ludwig WITTGENSTEIN for his philosophy of mathematics class. During his first year at Cambridge, at the age of 19, he discovered a new regular polyhedron that had six hexagonal faces at each vertex.
After graduating with first-class honours in 1929, he received his doctorate under H. F. BAKER in 1931, winning the coveted Smith's Prize for his thesis.
Prof. COXETER did fellowship stints back and forth between Princeton and Cambridge for the next few years, focusing on the mathematics of kaleidoscopes -- he had mirrors specially cut and hinged together and carried them in velvet pouches sewn by his mother. By 1933, he had enumerated the n-dimensional kaleidoscopes -- that is, kaleidoscopes operating up to any number of dimensions.
The concepts that became known as COXETER groups are the complex algebraic equations he developed to express how many images may be seen of any object in a kaleidoscope (he once used a paper triangle with the word "nonsense" printed on it to track reflections).
In 1936, Prof. COXETER was offered an assistant professorship at the University of Toronto. He made the move shortly after the sudden death of his father and following his marriage to Rien BROUWER. She was from the Netherlnds and he met her while she was on holiday in London.
As a professor, Prof. COXETER was known to flout set curriculum. Ed BARBEAU, now a professor at the U of T, recalled that at the start of his classes, Prof. COXETER would spread out a manuscript on the desks at the front of the room. During his lecture, he would often pause for minutes at a time to make notes when a student offered something that might be relevant to his work in progress. When the work was later published, students were pleasantly surprised to find that their suggestions had been duly credited.
Prof. COXETER was also known to show up to class carrying a pineapple, or a giant sunflower from his garden, demonstrating the existence of geometric principles in nature. And he was notorious for leaping over details, expecting students to fill in the rest.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's resident intellectual, Lister SINCLAIR, was one of Prof. COXETER's earliest students. He once recounted that Prof. COXETER would "write an expression on the board and you could see it talking to him. It was like Michelangelo walking around a block of marble and seeing what's in there."
Asia Ivic WEISS, a professor at York University, Prof. COXETER's last PhD student and the only woman so honoured, describes an incident that perfectly exemplifies Prof. COXETER's math myopia. Going into labour with her first child, she called him to cancel their weekly meeting. Prof. COXETER, who never acknowledged her pregnancy, said not to worry, he would send over a stack of research to keep her busy when she got home from the hospital.
Despite several offers from other universities, Prof. COXETER stayed at University of Toronto throughout his career.
Like his father, he was a pacifist. In 1997, he was among those who marched a petition to the university president's office to protest against an honorary degree being conferred on George BUSH Sr. Prof. COXETER recalled with disdain Robert PRITCHARD's telling him, "Donald, I have more important things to worry about."
After his official retirement in 1977, Prof. COXETER continued as a professor emeritus, making weekly visits to his office. These subsided only in the past several months. On the weekend before his death, he finished revisions on his final paper, which he had delivered the previous summer in Budapest.
In his last five years, he survived a heart attack, a broken hip (he sprung himself from the hospital early to drive to a geometry conference in Wisconsin) and, most recently, prostate cancer.
Considering his 96 years of vegetarianism and a strict exercise regime, he felt betrayed by his body. "I feel like the man of Thermopylae who doesn't do anything properly," he commented recently after an awkward evening out, quoting nonsense poet Edward LEAR.
Prof. COXETER died in his home, with three long last breaths, just before bed on the last day of March.
His brain is now undergoing study at McMaster University, along with that of Albert EINSTEIN. Neuroscientist Sandra WITELSON is tryng to determine whether his brain's extraordinary capacities are associated with its structure.
Prof. COXETER met with her at the beginning of March and learned that the atypical elements of Einstein's brain, compared with an average brain, were symmetrical on both right and left sides.
Prof. WITELSON said she wondered whether there might be similar findings with Prof. COXETER's brain. "Isn't that nice," he said. "I suppose that would indicate all my interest in symmetry was well founded."
Prof. COXETER leaves his daughter Susan and son Edgar. His wife died in 1999.
Siobhan ROBERTS is a Toronto writer whose biography of Donald COXETER will be published by Penguin in 2005.

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