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"LAS" 2003 Obituary


LASCHINGER  LASKIN  LASTEWKA 

LASCHINGER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-09-02 published
LASCHINGER, Alan Gordon (48 year employee of Domtar)
Born in Toronto, Ontario on April 11, 1915 and died on Saturday, August 30, 2003 at age 88, in Kingston, Ontario. Loving husband of the late Elsa Helen Claire Young of Lachine and Montreal, Quebec and the late Gweneth Woodburn Swift of Oshawa. Former resident at White Cliffe Terrace Retirement Residence, Courtice former resident of Oshawa and longtime resident of Montreal, Quebec; 57 year summer resident at Lake MacDonald, Quebec. Survived by sons John (Carol), Alan (Elizabeth), Fraser and daughter Susan. Will also be missed by sister Margaret Garrett (Cecil), sisters-in-law Merlie and Ada (Broadbridge), grand_sons Brett and James (Leslie), granddaughter Jan and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews together with members of Gwen's and Ada's families. Predeceased by brothers James (Elizabeth) and Charles (Merlie) and sister Eleanor Raper (Frank). Cremation has already taken place. Memorial service at Kingsview United Church, 505 Adelaide Ave. E. (at Wilson) Oshawa on Saturday, September 6, 2003 at 1: 00 p.m. If desired a donation to the charity of your choice would be appreciated and may be made through McIntosh-Anderson Funeral Home Ltd., 152 King St. E., Oshawa (905-433-5558)
The measure of a Man
Not - ''What did the sketch in the
newspaper say''
But - ''How many were sorry when he
passed away?''

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LASKIN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-03-26 published
Died This Day
Bora LASKIN, 1984
Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - Page R9
Lawyer and judge born at Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ontario, on October 5, 1912; educated at University of Toronto and at Harvard; in 1937, called to Ontario Bar; 1940 to 1965, taught law at University of Toronto; in 1965, Appeal; in 1970, appointed to Supreme Court of Canada; in 1973, named Chief Justice of Canada known as brilliant legal scholar, especially in constitutional and labour law; author of Canadian Constitutional Law (1963) and British Tradition in Canadian Law (1969).

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LASKIN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-04-30 published
Doctor gave the 'gift of life'
'Test-tube' baby expert helped introduce In Vitro Fertilization program at the University of Toronto
By Carol COOPER Special to The Globe and Mail Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - Page R9
Nine months ago, a long-time patient of Dr. Alan SHEWCHUK offered the reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist a choice of pictures depicting her daughter to add to his collage of kids' photos from grateful parents. Upon choosing one, he flipped it over and read an inscription: "Thank you for the gift of life."
Dr. SHEWCHUK had unknowingly made an apt choice, one that spoke of the joy his work brought to his patients and their families.
"It was wonderful to have the experience [of having a child]. It was truly a great gift of life, "said the woman, who conceived under Dr. SHEWCHUK's care. Her reaction was typical of those he treated and it drove him: "They [his patients] were just so happy and that was the kick that he got out of it, "said Valerie SHEWCHUK, his wife of 42 years.
Dr. SHEWCHUK, who throughout his career directed the Toronto General Hospital's reproductive biology unit, helped start the University of Toronto's In Vitro Fertilization program, ran a private practice, taught medical school and co-founded a private infertility clinic -- with many activities overlapping -- died of cancer on March 29 at the age of 66.
Known as "Big Al" to many colleagues for his tongue-in-cheek persona of the grand old man of infertility treatment, the good-looking doctor worked briefly as a model and worked evenings at a variety store to pay his way through medical school.
After completing his training, Dr. SHEWCHUK practised family medicine in Toronto's Little Italy. There, in order to communicate with his patients, he learned Italian, adding to the French, German and Ukrainian he already knew. Three years later, he left to study obstetrics and gynecology, completing his residency in 1969. That year he became an associate staff member of Toronto General Hospital and a clinical research fellow in what was later named its reproductive biology unit.
Appointed a staff member at the hospital in 1972, Dr. SHEWCHUK attended more than 3,000 births during his career.
"He just loved delivering babies, "said his daughter Melanie, who worked with her father for 25 years. "He said, when you pulled out a baby, the baby was the most perfect thing in the world. And you hand it to the parents and the parents are just elated."
witnessing the joy of birth motivated Dr. SHEWCHUK to help those who suffered the sorrow of infertility.
"As each decade brought new things to the field of infertility, he kept up and tried to enhance people's fertility in the best way he could with the tools he had at the time, "said Nancy BRYCELAND, the nurse manager who worked with Dr. SHEWCHUK in the reproductive biology unit he headed from 1974 to 1988. One of those tools was in vitro fertilization. Dr. SHEWCHUK travelled with colleagues to Melbourne, Australia, late in 1983 to study the technique and in January, 1984, was among those who began the University of Toronto in vitro fertilization program located at Toronto General.
On June 21 of that year, Dr. SHEWCHUK told the Ontario Medical Association that a Toronto woman participating in the in vitro fertilization program was four-months pregnant, The Globe and Mail reported. In November, 1984, the program's first baby was born.
Dr. SHEWCHUK was born in Toronto on October 18, 1936, the middle of three sons of a schoolteacher of Ukrainian descent and a Ukrainian father who immigrated to Canada during the First World War. Interned in northern Ontario for two years because of his Austro-Hungarian citizenship, Dr. SHEWCHUK's father later worked as a house painter and carpenter.
Dr. SHEWCHUK was a gifted athlete who played quarterback in high-school football and turned down the chance to pursue professional baseball. Instead, he attended the University of Toronto medical school.
As an assistant professor with the school from 1976 to 1983, following time as a clinical instructor and lecturer, Dr. SHEWCHUK demanded a lot of his students, including standards of professional dress. The doctor, who himself wore a lab coat, required they wear a shirt and tie in the presence of patients and sent them home to change if they appeared otherwise.
"He was a great motivator, "said Dr. Matt GYSLER, a former student of Dr. SHEWCHUK's and now chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Ontario "He made this area [reproductive medicine] sound interesting."
Appreciative patients brought babies and gifts of baking to his office.
"Dr. SHEWCHUK was like a father figure to his patients, "said Dr. Murray KROACH, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the Toronto East General Hospital. "He had a presence that gave confidence and he was motivated very strongly to expand this area of reproductive biology."
Said one patient: "He was larger than life and had a magical quality." She remembers how Dr. SHEWCHUK told her that he had slept poorly the night before her ultrasound, worrying about the success of her pregnancy. "He balanced hope with reality," another said.
With a heavy workload, Dr. SHEWCHUK reluctantly stopped delivering babies in the late 1980s. In 1992, along with three others, Dr. SHEWCHUK established START, a private infertility clinic.
"Dr. SHEWCHUK was a great idea man, "said Dr. Carl LASKIN, one of the clinic's co-founders. "He was a real character who would never just accept that it was just by the book. The obvious was never the way he liked to think."
During clinical meetings when colleagues presented sound physiological reasons for a patient's problems, Dr. SHEWCHUK would often counter with an "off-the-wall" explanation. "Many times he would be absolutely wrong, "Dr. LASKIN said, "but he pushed everyone to think differently."
Two and a half months before his death, Dr. SHEWCHUK wrote a letter to a married couple who had seen him. In it, he encouraged them not to give up hope and reminded them that they could adopt. They would make wonderful parents. And he said that people like them were the reason he came to work. They had given him joy, said the man who himself brought joy to so many.
Dr. SHEWCHUK leaves his wife Valerie and children Melanie, Leslie and Alan.

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LASKIN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-10-02 published
He fought the Teamsters -- and won
Worker won protection for part-timers in a court battle that involved the most powerful union in North America
By James McCREADY Special to The Globe and Mail Thursday, October 2, 2003 - Page R13
Gerry MASSICOTTE was a man who didn't like being pushed around, and one of his fights made him famous, at least for a while. He won a precedent-setting case involving unfair labour practices, not just against his employer but also the Teamsters, the most powerful union in North America. The legal battle lasted about three years, in what was mostly a one-man fight in a case that was heard in the Supreme Court of Canada.
He didn't take no for an answer when the union said it wouldn't handle his grievance, insisting that he deserved better because he had paid his dues.
"His fight was based on the simple principle of taxation without representation," said Ray KUSZELEWSKI, now a Halifax lawyer but back in the late 1970s another Teamster with a problem with the union. The Teamsters not only refused to represent Mr. MASSICOTTE, but it negotiated a lower wage, from $6.85 an hour to $6, in Mr. MASSICOTTE, who has died at the age of 55, was a man who could not be pigeonholed. He had a degree in social work and worked as a professional for more than 10 years before the intensity of the work forced him to leave.
Gerald Manley MASSICOTTE was born on October 22, 1947, in Toronto. His father worked at the Post Office, his mother worked in restaurants. Eventually she ended up owning her own place, The New Brazil, at Runnymede and St. Clair in Toronto. Later, Mr. MASSICOTTE and his wife, Elaine, would take it over.
Mr. MASSICOTTE went to Runnymede Collegiate and graduated with a degree in social work from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. He worked for many years as a social worker in group homes for children and in halfway houses. He then took on part-time work, including a stint at Humes Transport, loading refrigerated trucks. He did that for 2½ years, before he was fired.
That started his long crusade against the Teamsters. On Aug.16, 1979, he filed a grievance asking his union to protest his firing.
"I claim that I have been unjustly terminated and must be reinstated immediately," began his grievance letter to local 938 of the Teamsters. The answer came back that the union would not represent him, and that he had no protection as a part-time employee, in spite of paying union dues of $18 a month.
At the time, Mr. MASSICOTTE and others were unhappy with the way the Teamsters were run and he set out to prove that it did him wrong.
The case went to the Canada Labour Relations Board. The union argued that the safe, clean environment it negotiated with Humes Transport was a great benefit for a part-timer like Mr. MASSICOTTE. The union also informed him that his pay would be lowered so the company could pay full-time employees more. In late January, 1980, the Labour Relations Board ruled in favour of Mr. MASSICOTTE, ordering the union to pay costs. But the Teamsters wouldn't quit. The union took the case to the Federal Court of Appeal in October, 1980, but lost.
"The union and the employer have established the price of their labour, and in MASSICOTTE's case, reduced that price drastically without asking him," wrote the court.
The case went to the Supreme Court, and the Chief Justice, Bora LASKIN, confirmed the lower court's ruling in May, 1982.
"It was one of the few cases in which a union member took his union to court for not representing him," said Brian IHLER, the lawyer who worked with him on the case.
It set a precedent that all unions in Canada would have to represent all their dues-paying members.
By the time the Supreme Court ruling came down, Mr. MASSICOTTE had moved on with his life. A keen cook, he took courses at George Brown College. He also became well-known again, but for his food this time. He renamed his mother's restaurant, the Northland Truck Stop and Café.
Mr. MASSICOTTE later moved into his wife's father's business, selling and servicing small pumps, used soft-drink machines and even kidney dialysis machines. He and his wife ran the company, Potter-Blersh. He died of cancer on July 15.
Gerry MASSICOTTE leaves wife Elaine BLERSH; siblings Debbie, Jeff, Ron and Jim; and mother Joan.

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LASTEWKA o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-26 published
A scholar and a gentle man
'Fine example of a great Canadian' who founded Ontario's Brock University was once private secretary to prime minister Mackenzie KING
By Ron CSILLAG, Special to The Globe and Mail Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - Page R9
In an almost Zen-like fashion, James GIBSON knew the value of not acting. In the late 1960s, when a group of student radicals seized part of Brock University, hoping to be dragged away kicking and screaming, Dr. GIBSON, who had helped found the institution a few years earlier, reacted in a way no other university president did when faced with the same problem: He did nothing. The protesters, he reasoned, may have had legitimate grievances, but their unseemly actions offended his firm sense of propriety. In time, the students simply went away.
It was an effective, though uncharacteristic, action for a man who embodied Brock's Latin motto: "Surgite," freely translated as "push on." That he did, through some 65 rich years of advancing higher education and in public service, most notably as a private secretary to former prime minister Mackenzie KING, whose penchant for soothsaying and assorted eccentricities Dr. GIBSON kept mainly to himself until later in life.
Just five days before his death in Ottawa on October 23 at the age of 91, Dr. GIBSON was doing what he loved: Watching a new group of graduates receive their diplomas at the fall convocation of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, the school he had launched as founding president in 1963.
At a recent memorial service at Brock, David ATKINSON, the university's president and vice-chancellor, recalled a man whose attributes a strong moral fibre, clarity of thought and a general uprightness, all tempered by a warm and gentle touch -- harkened to a quaint, bygone era. "It's unlikely we will meet anyone like him again," Dr. ATKINSON said.
In the House of Commons on October 27, Dr. GIBSON was praised by St. Catharines Liberal member of parliament Walt LASTEWKA as "a fine example of a great Canadian."
Dr. GIBSON, whose knowledge of Canadian history and government were legend, was in the news this past summer as the oldest of over 1,000 Rhodes Scholars who flew to England for a five-day bash honouring the centenary of the trust. With his brother William, also a Rhodes Scholar, Dr. GIBSON dedicated a re-leaded stained-glass window at the chapel of Oxford's New College.
A normally discreet man, he had sharp words for former prime minister Brian MULRONEY, not an Oxford graduate, who surprised guests at the alumni dinner -- and raised a few eyebrows -- when he took a seat on the podium alongside Oxonians Bill CLINTON and Tony BLAIR, and guest Nelson MANDELA. Many alumni, Dr. GIBSON included, felt that Mr. MULRONEY, who had been invited by The Independent newspaper chain, had no business being there. Though upset, Dr. GIBSON retained his dignity, saying simply, "I was offended."
James Alexander GIBSON was born in Ottawa, in 1912, to Canadian-born parents of Irish-Scottish stock with strong Methodist and Quaker leanings. Raised in Victoria, he graduated with a B.A. in history from the University of British Columbia at age 18. Less than a year later, he was one of the youngest boys at Oxford.
"That was the real dividing line in my life," he told The Globe and Mail last July. "The economic depression was beginning to take over and some of the graduates in my year at University of British Columbia ended up digging ditches, but I had a guaranteed income for three years."
The annual stipend was only £400 but it enabled Dr. GIBSON to live comfortably and travel to the rest of Europe when he wasn't studying modern history, debating in the Oxford Union Society and keeping wicket for the New College cricket squad, the Nomads.
Back in Ottawa and armed with a doctorate in history, he joined the Department of External Affairs. On his second day on the job, he was whisked to the prime minister's office for a six-month secondment that lasted nine years. Mr. KING, who was also External Affairs minister, blocked Dr. GIBSON's promotions to postings abroad three times because "he told me I stopped him getting into trouble."
The prime minister was a notorious taskmaster, calling on his assistant to work most evenings and weekends to draft letters and speeches. Throughout, "Dad never complained about anything," said his daughter Julia MATTHEWS. " But as he got older, he loosened up a little."
According to his daughter, he came to describe the famously erratic leader as "a very grumpy man and a very lonely man, insensitive, and quite damaging to work for."
Ultimately, it occurred to the clan that perhaps the unmarried prime minister was simply jealous of Dr. GIBSON's status as a beloved family man and father of three children. "Whenever we went on a family holiday, Dad always got called back," remembered Ms. MATTHEWS.
But a high point came in the spring of 1945, when Dr. GIBSON accompanied Mr. KING and 380 other delegates to San Francisco and the founding of the United Nations. During the historic two-month conference, Dr. GIBSON got personal glimpses of such leaders as the Soviet Union's Andrei GROMYKO and Britain's Anthony EDEN, but the task at hand, he later recalled, was to keep the Canadian prime minister "on the rails."
Fearing he would never advance in the public service, Dr. GIBSON resigned in 1947 and took a teaching post at Ottawa's Carleton University, where he later served as the first dean of arts and science and deputy to the president. By the early 1960s, he was courted by a group of community leaders in the Niagara peninsula to establish Brock University. When he began as founding president, the school had seven faculty (known as "the magnificent seven"), 29 students and a "library" consisting of a shelf of books. Today, it boasts more than 15,000 students and 47,000 alumni.
His first order of business at Brock was the creation of a library.
Now housed in the campus's Schmon Tower, it has become something of a landmark on the Niagara Escarpment. Dr. GIBSON, fondly known by faculty as "James A.," remained as Brock's president until 1974. He was named to the Order of Canada in 1992, and the library was named after him in 1996.
He was also a leading figure in the Unitarian faith, serving for a time as chaplain of the Unitarian Congregation of Niagara.
Asked what dinner-table conversation was like at home, Ms. MATTHEWS sighed good-naturedly. "Oh, God. There was a lot of current events. He had all the answers. He was always lecturing, but he could be really charming." Even after his vision started to fail, he travelled, read and wrote. "He never felt old."
After moving from his beloved St. Catharines to an Ottawa retirement home, Dr. GIBSON lectured residents on "governors-general I have known."
Dr. GIBSON was predeceased by his wife of 57 years, Caroline (née STEIN,) and leaves three children, seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, his brother, and a sister, Isobel SEARLS.
His final days were summed up poetically by Josephine MEEKER, a former professor at Brock. After attending the university's convocation last month, Dr. GIBSON "went for a long walk, returned to his residence, went into the lounge area, took off his coat and folded it up, put it on the back of his chair, sat down, folded his hands in his lap, closed his eyes, and died."

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