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"DEM" 2003 Obituary


DEMAR 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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DEMARA o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-06-30 published
ADAM/ADAMS, James Bruce
Died peacefully on June 26, 2003 at the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital at the age of 78. Loving husband of Shirley (DEMARA,) for 49 years. Adored father of Kathy GRAY/GREY (of Meaford,) Jeff (Jennifer) of Vancouver, and Judy (Nick BEVERIDGE) of Burlington. Loving Grandpa to Katie, Adam, Will and Jimmy D. GRAY/GREY, and Molly and Paige BEVERIDGE. Younger brother to Angus (Grace) and Don (Betty). He was loved by many and will be missed by all. Friends and family will be received at the Ward Funeral Home, 109 Reynolds Street Oakville (905-844-3221) on Wednesday July 2, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. A memorial service will be held at Knox Presbyterian Church 89 Dunn Street Oakville on Thursday July 3, 2002 at 1 p.m. A reception to follow the service. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Bruce to Knox Church Memorial Fund or the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital would be appreciated.

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DEMARIA o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-17 published
Life was good for MAGNUSON
By Eric DUHATSCHEK, With a report from Allan MAKI Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - Page S1
It was one of those "catching up with" features newspapers run every so often. Last January, the Chicago Sun-Times profiled Keith MAGNUSON, one of the most popular players ever to pull on a Chicago Blackhawks sweater.
To the thousands who used to pack the old Chicago Stadium, MAGNUSON's ever-lasting appeal came from a rough-and-tumble playing style that produced a cracked cheekbone, three knee injuries requiring surgery, a torn Achilles' tendon, two broken ankles, a dislocated elbow, three broken jaws, a broken vertebra, a broken wrist, a dislocated shoulder, three missing teeth and more than 400 stitches.
MAGNUSON, after reflecting on his career, his hobbies and all the aches and pains that resulted from a 10-year National Hockey League career, observed: "Otherwise, I feel great. Cindy [his wife] and I are real proud of our kids."
"Life is good," MAGNUSON concluded.
Life for MAGNUSON ended at the age of 56 in a fatal automobile accident on Monday afternoon as he was returning home from a funeral for National Hockey League alumni association chairman Keith McCREARY, who died last week of cancer. MAGNUSON was the passenger in a car driven by former National Hockey League player Rob RAMAGE, the vice-chairman of the alumni association.
MAGNUSON played 589 National Hockey League games for the Blackhawks, and on his retirement in October of 1979, he joined the team's coaching staff, as an assistant to Eddie JOHNSTON. JOHNSTON, now the Pittsburgh Penguins' assistant general manager, remembered MAGNUSON yesterday as "the ultimate competitor. I mean, when Keith MAGNUSON put on the skates on, you didn't just get 100 per cent, you got 110 per cent every night. He just played with so much passion, it was unreal."
The Blackhawks made it to the Stanley Cup final twice in MAGNUSON's career, in 1971 and 1973, losing both times to the Montreal Canadiens. It was the heyday of hockey in Chicago. The Blackhawks had Dennis and Bobby HULL, the legendary Stan MIKITA and Tony ESPOSITO, a future Hall Of Fame member, in goal. MAGNUSON's job was to protect ESPOSITO, and he did it with a passion that JOHNSTON said was contagious in the Blackhawks' dressing room.
"What he always did very, very well was set the tone early in the game. He let the opposition know that when you dropped the puck in the game, "This was what you were going to see, guys, for 60 minutes.' "
MAGNUSON, who most recently was the director of sales for Coca-Cola Enterprises, grew up in Saskatoon as an all-round athlete. He was a boyhood chum of former National Hockey League coach Dave KING. The two attended Churchill elementary school and used to play 1-on-1 hockey: KING as a forward and MAGNUSON as a defenceman.
Eventually, MAGNUSON and four other teenagers from Saskatoon earned scholarships at the University of Denver and helped the Pioneers win two National Collegiate Athletic Association championships. MAGNUSON and Tim GOULD played every sport together and were also teamed as defence partners.
"We never missed a shift," said GOULD, whose wife, a nurse in Calgary, woke him early yesterday to inform him of MAGNUSON's death. "He was the greatest guy and a good friend."
GOULD said he and MAGNUSON used to dream up ways to get MAGNUSON to hockey, football and baseball games on Sunday.
MAGNUSON's parents were Baptists and considered the Sabbath a day of rest. It became GOULD's job to sneak into the MAGNUSON home while they were at church and take Keith's equipment to the rink or the diamond.
"Of course, if we scored a goal or a run, our names would be mentioned in the newspaper the next day," GOULD said. "But we thought we were keeping it secret."
GOULD said MAGNUSON was best known among his Friends for having a poor memory. Once in Saskatoon, MAGNUSON drove his dad's car to the rink for a Blades game, only to drive home with a teammate, the two of them completely immersed in the game they had just played.
The next morning, MAGNUSON's father asked where the car was. "Keith had to run back to the rink to get it," said Dale ZEMAN, another of MAGNUSON's former junior and college teammates. "There was also the night Keith and I went bowling when we were freshmen at Denver. We came out and couldn't find the car. It had rolled backwards three blocks because Keith forgot to put it in park."
GOULD said: "He was awful forgetful. We're having a reunion in June [for Denver University hockey] and we had a card printed up, and Keith's quote on it was: 'I'm going to be there -- and Cliff [KOROLL] is going to remind me.' The memories, that's what get you through this."
MAGNUSON is survived by his wife, his daughter, Molly, and his son, Kevin, a former University of Michigan defenceman who had a tryout with the Blackhawks. Recently, after a short playing career in the East Coast Hockey League, Kevin had gone back to school for his law degree, JOHNSTON said.
"To have something like this happen, this close to the holidays, the timing couldn't be worse. It's never good, but geez, here he is, going up there for a funeral for Keith McCREARY and then to have something like this happen.
"God, it's awful," he said. "We'll miss him. He was such a big part of the community in Chicago, an icon. Everybody knew Keith MAGNUSON. It's an awful tragedy."
San Jose Sharks general manager Doug WILSON, another of MAGNUSON's close Friends, was badly shaken by his former teammate's death. WILSON said he thought of MAGNUSON as something of a father figure. "Keith has had a profound influence on my life." Really, all I can say is, all my thoughts and prayers are with Cindy and the kids right now."
Jim DEMARIA, the Blackhawks executive director of communications, worked closely with MAGNUSON in his role as the founder and president of the Chicago alumni association.
"Any time you needed something, you could call Maggy," DEMARIA said. "He was the first guy in line to help any kind of charity you had. I mean, he was just that kind of person. And when the team wasn't doing real well, he was down in the room, talking to the coaches, telling the players, 'keep your chin up, keep working, things will turn around.' He was a real positive guy."

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DEMERS o@ca.on.simcoe_county.nottawasaga.collingwood.the_connection 2003-10-24 published
Man charged in NEUMANN crash
A 19-year-old Georgian Triangle man has been charged with a number of offences, after police concluded their investigation into the motor vehicle crash that claimed the life of 16-year-old Jessica NEUMANN.
Police said the Collingwood teen was a passenger in a Honda car with three other teens and the driver, which was travelling west on local Airport Road near the intersection with Fairgrounds Road, at 12: 40 a.m., on September 10.
The Huronia West Ontario Provincial Police said that the car was travelling at a high speed when it suddenly veered into the south ditch, and rolled several times, coming to rest on its roof.
NEUMANN was ejected from the rear passenger seat, and died as a result of her injuries. The other passengers, as well as the driver, were treated for host of injuries, ranging in severity.
The driver, David DEMERS, has been charged with impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm, dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
He will make his first court appearance in Collingwood on November Page 7

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DEMERS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-06-15 published
Radio pioneer built network
He founded Ontario's first French-language radio station in 1951 when his local station denied francophones airtime.
By Randy RAY Special to The Globe and Mail Monday, June 16, 2003 - Page R7
He started in business as a butcher, and later was a soldier and a hotelier, but Conrad LAVIGNE's first love was show business. Whether he was operating the television stations in Northern Ontario that became the largest privately owned television broadcast system in the world, appearing at the staid proceedings of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or at conventions, Mr. LAVIGNE often delighted those within earshot with jokes, stories, witty comments -- even singing.
Like the time he sang grace during the annual meeting of the Association for French Language Broadcasters in the 1970s.
"Members of the head table, including myself and Premier Bill DAVIS, walked into the room and stood behind our chairs," recalls Pierre JUNEAU, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission from 1968 to 1975.
"Mr. LAVIGNE, who was chairman of the French-language broadcasters group, began singing grace in French, and with his very strong voice. People felt sort of strange with this."
When he was done, Mr. LAVIGNE looked at Premier DAVIS and quipped: "Well, Mr. Premier, this is to show you that when you are chairman, you can do whatever you like."
J. Lyman POTTS, former vice-president of Standard Broadcasting, remembers the time in the early 1960s when Mr. LAVIGNE appeared before the Board of Broadcast Governors -- predecessor of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission -- in support of a radio or television station licensing application.
At the beginning of his presentation, Mr. LAVIGNE expressed his regrets that Board of Broadcast Governors member Bernard GOULET had died at few days earlier. Then, without skipping a beat, he looked toward the ceiling and said: "If Bernie were here today, I think he would vote for my application."
"It broke up the room," says Mr. POTTS. "If ever a meeting got dull he'd liven things up. It was a joy to find him at meetings. He was a unique personality."
Mr. LAVIGNE, who was born in the small town of Chénéville, Quebec, on November 2, 1916, and raised in Cochrane, Ontario, died in Timmins, Ontario on April 16 following a lengthy battle with emphysema. He was 86.
Friends, family and business associates say Mr. LAVIGNE had show business in his blood in his late teens. On many evenings, the young man who moved to Timmins from Cochrane at age 18 to open a small grocery store and butcher shop with his uncle would act in plays in the hall of a local church. But he didn't get into the entertainment business in a big way until after he helped Canada's war effort, got married and started his life as an entrepreneur in the hotel business.
In 1942, he sold his butcher shop and enlisted in the Canadian infantry. He became a commando training officer while stationed at Vernon, British Columbia, and in 1944 headed overseas. While on a furlough from Vernon he returned to Timmins and married Jeanne CANIE. The couple raised seven children.
Mr. LAVIGNE returned to Canada in 1946 and bought the Prince George Hotel in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, which at the time was a booming gold-mining town. He sold the business in 1950.
He entered the world of media and entertainment by founding CFCL, the first French-language radio station in Ontario in 1951, in what, essentially, was his way of ensuring the area's large French-speaking population had a voice in the North.
Michelle DE COURVILLE NICOL of Ottawa said her father launched the station after a group of francophones that he was part of in Kirkland Lake was told by the manager of an English-language radio station that they would no longer be given regular air time to discuss issues of interest to French people.
"He was very proud of being a francophone," says Ms. DE COURVILLE NICOL. " When he was told that his compatriots would no longer be welcome on the local station he said, 'Oh, ya!' and got the idea of starting a French-language radio station. He moved to Timmins, applied for a licence and got it."
CFCL soon attracted a faithful audience, especially in Northwestern Quebec, where it could be heard more clearly than French stations in Montreal.
In a 1988 interview with Northern Ontario Business, Mr. LAVIGNE remembered the time he hired a relative unknown named Stompin' Tom CONNORS to perform live on CFCL. The radio station was located above a jewellery store and the pounding from Mr. CONNORS's size-11 boots caused china to fall off the shelves in the store below.
Radio was his first love until the mid-1950s when, on a business trip to southern Ontario, he saw his first television broadcast, on WHAM from Rochester, New York He fell for the concept of television and he and an engineer friend drove to Rochester and learned everything they could about the magic medium of television.
Back in Timmins, Mr. LAVIGNE bought a hill in the north end of the town, named it Mont Sacré-Coeur, built a road to the foot of his hill, and began blasting rock and working in earnest to put a television station on the air. By 1956, CFCL-television was a reality.
"There was always the fear of failure because of the sparse population," Mr. LAVIGNE said at the time. "But we had an engineer with us named Roch DEMERS, who later became president of Telemedia, and together we started putting up rebroadcasting stations between 1957 and 1962."
Kapuskasing's rebroadcasting station was the first such facility in Canada, and it added another portion of the sparsely populated northeastern Ontario market to the growing station's network. Eventually, Mr. LAVIGNE built rebroadcasting stations in Chapleau and Moosonee, Ontario and Malartic, Quebec, and by the time expansion was completed, CFCL-television served 1.5 million people. Eventually, he built the station into the world's largest privately owned system.
For many years he appeared on a very popular CFCL program known as the President's Corner, during which he would sit on camera in a comfortable chair and read and respond to letters from viewers.
Between 1962 and 1970, Mr. LAVIGNE's television network entered the world of high technology with its own microwave network. Mr. LAVIGNE had the northeastern Ontario television market virtually all to himself for about 20 years until the Canadian Television Network (CTV) arrived on the scene. He reacted by building new stations in North Bay and Sudbury with a rebroadcasting station in Elliot Lake to serve Manitoulin Island. Expansion continued in 1976 with the purchase of a bankrupt television station in Pembroke, in the Ottawa Valley. Eventually, Mr. LAVIGNE's private network stretched from Moosonee to Ottawa, and from Hearst to Mattagami, Quebec
"When we first started we had the market all to ourselves," he told Northern Ontario Business. "We had 20 hours a week of local programming, and it was beautiful. We gave the North a unified voice. One time, during a forest fire near Chapleau, our messages arranged for accommodations for 1,000 people in Timmins."
Mr. LAVIGNE divested himself of his broadcasting holdings in 1980, primarily because he was refused permission to operate a cable television service in the North. He remained a director of Mid-Canada Television, the network that grew from his little Timmins station in 1956, and was chairman of the board of Northern Telephone Ltd. For a number of years, he served on the board of the National Bank of Canada, and for 10 years served on the board of ICG Utilities (formerly Inter City Gas.)
His life after broadcasting also included 20 years as a property developer in the Timmins area.
"He was always a physically active person," says Ms. DE COURVILLE NICOL. "In the years he was setting up his television stations he would often go out with the engineers. He was not as happy sitting behind his desk."
Mr. LAVIGNE was elected to the Canadian Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1990. His wife died in 1995. He leaves Ms. DE COURVILLE NICOL and six other children, Marc, Andrée, Nicole, Jean-Luc, Pierre and Marie-France.

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DEMJEN o@ca.on.manitoulin.howland.little_current.manitoulin_expositor 2003-07-09 published
In loving memory of Hugh THIRD, who passed away Wednesday, July 3rd, 2003 at the Sudbury Regional Hospital - Laurentian Site.
Beloved husband of Lois (CLAIR) THIRD of Sudbury. Loving father of Lisa Gladstone and Krista THIRD both of Toronto and David THIRD (fiancée Jody LANDRY) of Val Caron, stepchildren Christina DEMJEN (husband Attila) of Keswick and Gregory MUCIN (wife Lisa) of Sudbury. Cherished grandfather of Molly, Tyler, Amy, Ric and Holly. Dear son of William and Eunice THIRD predeceased. Dear brother of George of Little Current, Elaine McGAULEY (husband Dwight predeceased) of Tehkummah and Ed predeceased (wife Lilly of Gore Bay). Sadly missed by nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Hugh's life was held at the Jackson and Barnard Funeral Home on July 7th, 2003. Cremation at the Parklawn Crematorium.

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