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"GEL" 2003 Obituary


GELBER  GELFANT  GELLER  GELLMAN 

GELBER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-11 published
GELBER, Sylva Malka, OC, LL.D.
93 years old, Sylva Malka GELBER, whose years of activism in pre-Israel Palestine eventually propelled her to be the first director of the Canadian Department of Labour's Women's Bureau, died on December 9th, 2003, of complications from a stroke. She was 93 and lived in Ottawa.
During the heady years of pioneering in gains for women's rights and Medicare in Canada during the 1960s and 70s, she travelled the country, never shrill and always reasoned in her campaign for equality for women in the country's labour force. She took this pragmatic approach to the United Nations where she represented Canada on the United Nations Commission for the Status of Women between 1970 - 74.
A social and industrial activist at heart, she never lost her zest for a good argument on those issues which had been part of her adult life since she left her comfortable Toronto home in the early 1930s for the turmoil of Jerusalem and Palestine. There she became the first graduate of the Va'ad Leumi School of Social Work - now the Faculty of Social Work of the Hebrew University - and took on jobs incongruous with her upbringing which had included schooling at Havergal College, a private girl's school.
She worked in Palestine during the Mandate as a family counsellor, a probation officer and medical social worker at Hadassah Hospital, and then with the Palestine Department of Labour from 1942 - 48 when she returned to Canada. The adventuresome 15 years Sylva GELBER lived in the turmoil of Palestine are chronicled with affection, awe and frankness in ''No Balm in Gilead: A Personal Retrospective of Mandate Days in Palestine'' published in 1989. By the time she moved back to Canada, she could switch effortlessly among Hebrew and Arabic and English which impressed no one in bureaucratic Ottawa, but did startle the Capital's stuffy side, she often noted mischievously.
Her deep red lipstick and nail polish when paired with her fast sports cars belied the image of the traditional Ottawa civil servant she could never be, despite distinguished and proud accomplishments in promoting federal health insurance and Medicare until they became the law of the land.
Along the way, she accepted many appointments to serve Canada at International Labour Organization conferences, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations General Assembly. She was a member of the Order of Canada and was awarded honorary degrees from several universities including Queen's, Memorial, Trent, Guelph and Mount St. Vincent.
Sylva Malka GELBER was born in 1910 in Toronto to Sara (MORRIS) and Louis GELBER. Her father, a survivor of pogroms in Eastern Europe, was determined that her four brothers, all of whom attended Upper Canada College, and she, all receive worldly educations beyond their specific Jewish community. She always admired her father for this farsightedness in encouraging his children to become part of a broader society.
At the University of Toronto, she produced plays. She sang spirituals on a Toronto radio station, but her parents would have none of a show business career. She was packed off to Columbia University in New York; but even that did not satisfy her rambunctious spirit and soon she was on her way to distant Palestine.
Never domesticated as women of her day usually were, she paid little attention to her kitchen pantry when she finally settled in Ottawa; but always gregarious, she loved to entertain around the piano which she played by ear and with great gusto. Her library of records and Compact Disks, was always in use as music filled her life; and she has endowed an important annual prize through The Sylva Gelber Music Foundation, which is granted to an outstanding young Canadian musician at the early stage of his or her career.
In retirement, she energetically participated in the Canadian Institute of International Affairs and the Wednesday Luncheon Club of former cabinet ministers and civil servants, such as her neighbour, Jack PICKERSGILL, who thrashed over current political issues.
Sylva GELBER was predeceased by her four brothers, Lionel, Marvin, Arthur and Shalome Michael. She is survived by her four nieces and their husbands, Nance GELBER and Dan BJARNASON, Patty and David RUBIN, Judith GELBER and Dan PRESLEY, and Sara and Richard CHARNEY, all of Toronto; her sister-in-law, Marianne GELBER of New York; four great nephews and a great niece, Gerald and Noah RUBIN, and Adam, Andrew and Laura CHARNEY; as well as cousins Ruth JEWEL and David EISEN; David ALEXANDOR, and Ruth GELBER all of Toronto; and Ivan CHORNEY and Betsy RIGAL, both of Ottawa. At Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel, 2401 Steeles Avenue West (1 light west of Dufferin) for service on Thursday, December 11, 2003 at 12: 00 noon. Interment Beth Tzedec Memorial Park.

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GELBER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-18 published
Sylva Malka GELBER
By Dan BJARNASON, Thursday, December 18, 2003 - Page A28
Pioneer; amateur blues singer; British sports-car zealot. Born December 4, 1910, in Toronto. Died December 9 in Ottawa, of complications from a stroke, aged 93.
She'd wheel around Ottawa in her Jaguar, driving by ear, oblivious to her terrified passengers (me, for instance) as the scenery in sedate Rockcliffe Park whipped by in a blur.
Sylva GELBER lived her whole life on the other side of the speed limit. And it was fun to be with her for even part of the ride.
She was a pioneer from the same mould as those who settled the Canadian Prairies.
She was on the ramparts in the battles for women's' rights at a time when no one had much of a roadmap.
She was an architect of what became our hospital system.
She was exhausting to keep up with.
Sylva grew up in a stodgy Toronto of the 1920s, went to a private girls school and could have settled into a comfortable life -- and we'd have never heard of her. But she dropped out of the University of Toronto through sheer boredom, tried her hand at Yiddish theatre, and sang blues and spirituals on the radio. None of this took. So, at 22, in 1932, she went off to Palestine where Jewish pioneers there were struggling to build a new society. Sylva wanted to be part of it.
She intended to stay one year, but stayed for 15. Sylva worked as a family counsellor, probation officer, and social worker. She knew the giants on the scene: Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, David Ben Gurion. During the Second World War, she listened to the British Broadcasting Corporation night after night as Rommel's Afrika Corps plunged forward. Rommel was stopped on the doorstep of Alexandria, but it was a close-run thing. Sylva, decades later, chronicled these times in her thrilling memoir, No Balm In Gilead: A Personal Retrospective of Mandate Days in Palestine.
Deeply committed to a Jewish presence in this ancient land, she also was immensely fond of the Palestinian Arabs, their language, history and culture. It broke her heart that in the late 1940s, the two peoples slid into war. She left on the eve of Israeli independence, with bullets whistling around her ears, taken to the airport in a wild dash in a taxi -- driven by a sympathetic Christian Arab.
Back in Canada, she entered the civil service in Ottawa with the departments of health and labour and helped to craft this nation's first hospitalization program. She became the first head of the women's bureau in the Department of Labour. She saw women's equality as a simple uncomplicated issue of fairness and decency. She wasn't shrill. She didn't harangue. And she was hard as nails.
She represented Canada at a string of United Nations conferences. She established an endowment for young Canadian musicians, many of whom went on to great prominence. She was a member of the Order of Canada. The impatient young kid who never graduated, ended up with honorary degrees from a half-dozen universities.
She loved her fast cars and drove them with total disregard for the laws of physics. And she was utterly unreasonable about the colour red: red (scarlet, really) lipstick, red nail polish, red scarves. If she had been an American, Hollywood would have made her into a movie.
She set up an elaborate recording system at home and taped herself belting out innumerable Broadway songs just for the fun of it. Sylva never got the Ethel Merman completely out of her system.
In early December, my wife and I had planned to see the wacky musical, The Producers, when it opened in Toronto. But then Sylva died. We were to see the show on a Wednesday night; her funeral would be the next morning. What to do? We went to The Producers anyway. We sensed Sylva was there, roaring away with the rest of us.
Dan BJARNASON is Silva's nephew-in-law.

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GELFANT o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-10-29 published
FOGELL, David 1923-2003
Born December 22, 1923 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died October 27, 2003 at home with his family in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was predeceased by his parents Melach and Surka, brother, Ben and sisters Dora and Netty. Dave is mourned by his wife, Estelle, children, Melanie and her husband Ken GOLDSTEIN, Wayne and Mark. He will be greatly missed by his grandchildren Carie and her husband Stuart, Daniel, Sarah, Kylie; Sammy, Benji and their mother Dorothy ULLMAN as well as great-grand_son, Kade. He will never be forgotten by his many relatives and Friends. Dave was an incredibly charismatic and an intensely joyful human being. He felt deeply and loved unquestioningly. Those who were fortunate enough to be part of his life will be forever enriched by having known him. Dave approached everything in his life with meticulous attention. He had very humble beginnings yet he always remembered those who helped him throughout his life. He had a rare passion for living extending to everything and everyone. His seemingly endless energy led to numerous accomplishments and successes. He will be remembered most for his ability to make those around him feel loved. The funeral is Wednesday, October 29, 2003 at the Beth Israel Cemetary, 1721 Willingdon, Burnaby, at 12 noon. The pallbearers are Sammy and Benji FOGELL, Daniel GOLDSTEIN, Lanny GOULD, Howard DINER and Joel ALTMAN. Honourary pallbearers are Zivey FELDMAN and Harry GELFANT. The family would like to thank caregivers Denyse TREPANIER and Bryan WALKER as well as Dr. Larry COLLINS and Dr. Victoria BERNSTEIN. If desired, donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Fund or the Jewish Family Service Agency.

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GELLER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-07-04 published
WELCH, Dr. Robert Hamilton
Died peacefully, at home in Toronto, on Tuesday, July 1, 2003, in his 90th year. Beloved husband of Jane (Penny) Simpson (née COYNE.) Devoted father of Thomas Gordon (Anne LAMBERT,) James Coyne (Hélène QUESNEL), Sarah Jane (Edward GELLER) and Margo Hamilton. Adored grandfather of Emily, Jackson, Brennen, Julia and Philippe. Predeceased by his brothers Albert Gordon and Thomas Alan.
Bob WELCH was born in Toronto, educated at University of Toronto Schools and U of T, and served his country as Surgeon-Lieutenant Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve in World War 2. He was in family practice and associated with St. Michael's Hospital for nearly 50 years. He was a great diagnostician who practiced the art of medicine with compassion for both patients and their families. A famous raconteur with a gentle sense of humour, he was also an avid reader who was engaged with life until the end. While he lived and worked in Toronto, he cherished his summers in Prince Edward Island from the 1950's on. Greatly loved and deeply missed.
The family will receive Friends at the Humphrey Funeral Home - A. W. Miles Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Eglinton Avenue East), from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, July 3rd. Private service in Toronto and interment at Fortune, Prince Edward Island In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Michael's Hospital, 30 Bond Street, Toronto M5B 1W8 or Bay Fortune United Church Cemetery Fund, c/o John Aitken, Souris, Prince Edward Island C1A 1B0.

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GELLMAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-05-10 published
Programmer was a 'people person'
Computer consultant advised clients not only on technology, but on the psychology that made the technology work for the company
Harvey GELLMAN was the first person in Canada to get a PhD based in computer studies.
By Marina STRAUSS Saturday, May 10, 2003 - Page F11
He broke new ground in the computer field long before most Canadians even knew what a software program was, or that computers would so profoundly change their way of communicating and doing business.
Known as the dean of computer consulting, Harvey GELLMAN had a hand in purchasing the first computer in this country in 1952 he ran one of the first software programs and was the first to get a PhD based on computer studies. Last month, Dr. GELLMAN died suddenly in Florida at the age of 78.
He made his name as a consultant who advised clients not only on technology, but on the psychology that made the technology work for a company -- with a knack for matching people's skills to the job at hand, colleagues say.
Most important, Dr. GELLMAN put the clients first, always looking out for their best interests rather than simply the consultant's bottom line, says Jim HAYWARD, his partner at Toronto-based Gellman Hayward and Partners for 18 years until it was sold to Montreal-based CGI Group in 1992.
What particularly distinguished Dr. GELLMAN as a consultant was his departure from others in refusing just to analyze a problem and deliver a report to the client, Mr. HAYWARD says.
Instead, Dr. GELLMAN would find out exactly how far the client was ready to go in implementing any change recommended in a report and then guide the client through the change process.
This fundamental shift took root in the mid-1970s, when Dr. GELLMAN became frustrated that too many consultants simply handed over a report and then walked away from the problem, Mr. HAYWARD says.
"The trick is to work beside the client and walk with them, but don't take the problem away from them, " he says. "It's like therapy."
Together, they applied this form of business therapy at Gellman Hayward, which grew from four partners to about 100 employees before it was sold, boasting a client list that read like a Who's Who of corporate Canada.
Indeed, the firm at one time or another advised all the big banks, Bell Canada, Imperial Oil, Labatt Breweries, Eaton's, Hudson's Bay, Spar Aerospace, TransCanada PipeLines, Noranda, Falconbridge, Inco, Atomic Energy of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
"It was all the big names, says CGI president Serge GODIN, who worked closely with Dr. GELLMAN after the 1992 acquisition and credits him with helping to manage its huge surge in staff mostly through acquisitions -- by integrating and streamlining the various systems.
"Harvey GELLMAN is a brand name, Mr. GODIN says. "He was quite something, very strong, brilliant -- with a big heart."
He was a man of few words, with a deep-seated respect for and interest in people, colleagues and family.
"He would say, 'The janitor and the president are the same, ' recalls Paul GELLMAN, the younger of his two sons, who also is a computer consultant. "He believed it and he lived it."
From the security officers at Dr. GELLMAN's apartment building in Florida, where he lived half the year in his retirement, to the secretary in his doctor's office -- all were touched by him and upset by his death, Paul says.
Born in 1924, Dr. GELLMAN was the middle of five children of Polish parents who immigrated to Toronto in 1928. His youngest brother Albert says nobody in the household ever quarrelled: a calm reigned in the family and reverberated in the future computer guru.
Still, Dr. GELLMAN's life threatened to take an entirely different course early on, when he dropped out of high school to work in an electrical manufacturing plant and help the family make ends meet.
The factory had an electrical test set that only Dr. GELLMAN was able to figure out, Mr. HAYWARD says. The budding tech whiz realized that he wasn't so dumb, went back to school -- and the rest is history.
He attended the University of Toronto, graduating with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics in 1947. The following year, the university's newly established Computation Centre, headed by Professor Calvin (Kelly) GOTLIEB, invited him to join and study electro-mechanical devices.
Dr. GELLMAN subsequently was involved in purchasing a huge Ferranti computer from England for $250,000. It was the first computer bought in Canada, sponsored in part by one of the centre's clients Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.
"The machine would fail every five minutes, Dr. GELLMAN was quoted as saying years later when he was inducted in the industry-sponsored Canadian Information Productivity Awards hall of fame. "We would sit at the monitor and watch the diagonal array of dots, and when a dot dropped, we would stop the machine, reset it and carry on."
He wrote a small program on punch paper tape to help users print efficiently from the computer, one of the first software programs to be run in Canada, and soon he produced the first printout for a computational problem, according to information supplied to Canadian Information Productivity Awards.
In 1951, he obtained his PhD in applied mathematics, the first doctorate in Canada for which the theoretical calculations depended on a computer.
That same year, he became head of computing at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and, by 1955, he founded H. S. Gellman and Co. Ltd. in Toronto to advise the growing number of companies seeking his help.
Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. was his first client and remained one throughout his consulting career.
"He was doing a lot of pioneering work on operating systems, and operating systems that deal with controlling nuclear-power plants, says Bob BANTING, manager of information technology security at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. "He understood the programming and the technical stuff, but he also knew how to manage people.... He was very good at assessing skills."
He hired top talent, sizing up job candidates in minutes, and was able to move seamlesslessly from being a good programmer to a good "people person, Mr. BANTING says.
Dr. GELLMAN's early work was computing based on mathematical equations, but the firm quickly moved into what became known as information technology.
His busy consulting firm was swallowed in 1964 by a subsidiary of de Havilland and subsequently by AGT Data Systems before he left with Mr. HAYWARD to form Gellman Hayward.
But by the early 1990s, the firm was "stuck" and started to seek a buyer, Mr. HAYWARD says. "We didn't know how to get to the next level."
When CGI acquired it in 1992, Dr. GELLMAN stayed on as a senior vice-president until he retired six years later.
In 1997, he co-wrote Riding the Tiger, a book that helps business managers use information technology effectively. He was often quoted in the media on managing information systems, and wrote articles on the topic for The Globe and Mail.
In addition, he received many honours during his career, including being named International Systems Man of the Year in 1967. He was a founding member of the Canadian Information Processing Society, among other professional bodies.
In his personal life, he was a private man and a steadfast father and grandfather nine times over. He was devoted to Lily, his wife of 57 years. They were teenage sweethearts, best of Friends and "a model of how we all should live, " says his son Paul.
When Paul's older brother, Steven, decided to pursue a career as a composer and musician, Dr. GELLMAN had some reservations, aware of the risks of such an unconventional and insecure profession.
"Before I left home to study at Juilliard, he said to me, 'I understand you wanting to become a musician. Become the best musician you can be; but I am concerned that you don't become just a musician, ' " Steven says.
"Dad was reminding me to become a full human being, to develop many facets of my life, just as he did."
Dr. GELLMAN and his wife spent a lot of time in Israel, where they had family. In the mid-1970s, he took a six-month sabbatical from work for an extended stay.
He was also part of a small discussion group called the Senge Circle, started more than a decade ago among business colleagues to discuss Peter Senge's management book, The Fifth Discipline. It evolved into regular breakfast meetings to chew over different business tomes.
The last meeting was in October before he went to Florida when the group delved into the Peter DRUCKER classic, The Practice of Management. Dr. GELLMAN was struck by how relevant the book was almost 50 years after he first read it.
Dr. GELLMAN, who died on April 23, leaves his wife Lily, sons Steven and Paul, and siblings Dorothy, Albert and Esther.

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