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"NEM" 2003 Obituary


NEMES o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-29 published
McMEHEN, Ruth Victoria (MILLER)
In Ottawa, Sunday, December 28, 2003. Ruth Victoria MILLER, born December 4, 1916. Widow of James McMEHEN. Beloved mother of Carol SCOTT- MILLER of Vancouver, Jo RODRIGUEZ (Gonzalo) of Santo Domingo, Gordon (Moira) of Toronto and Kathy NEMES (Laszlo) of Auburn, California. Adored by her 9 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. Devoted aunt to many nieces and nephews. She will be remembered for her incorrigible sense of humour, her kindness and affection, and her singular love for her family. She died as she lived, bravely and unselfishly. Friends may assemble Tuesday at Annunciation of our Lord Church, 2414 Ogilvie Road, Ottawa for Mass of Christian Funeral at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Elizabeth Bruyere Palliative Care Unit appreciated.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief.
So dawn goes down to day,
Nothing gold can stay.
- Robert Frost
Kelly Funeral Homes (613) 235-6712

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NEMETH o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-07-03 published
POTTER, Douglas Briant
died in Toronto on Sunday, June 29, 2003 after a prolonged struggle with Alzheimer's. Douglas is survived by his wife Josephine his son John and partner Mark KENNY; granddaughter Natasha, and her mothers Dr. Andrea NEMETH and Dr. Samantha KNIGHT of Oxford England. He was born in Leeds, England in 1925 to William Clifford POTTER and Francis (NEWTON) POTTER. Predeceased by his brother Jack who died tragically at age of 12. He served in the British Army where he was stationed in Italy. Following his time in the forces he immigrated to Canada in 1950. Douglas married Josephine DAGNALL in 1952, and later went on to found Industrial Process Equipment. We wish to thank the staff at the Laughlen Centre and Fudger House for all their support through Douglas's long illness. The family will have a private Service officiated by the Reverend Jeannie LOUGHREY. In his memory we will be planting a tree in the garden of the house he loved. If desired, donations may be made for Alzheimer Research through the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.

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NEMETH o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-17 published
Zoltan TOTH
By David EUSTACE, Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - Page A24
Husband, father, grandfather, landscaper, winemaker, blaster, friend. Born October 4, 1936, in Felpec, Hungary. Died August 11, in Toronto, of cancer, aged 66.
Zoltan TOTH always wanted a horse. Working in a steel factory in winter, on his parent's farm in summer, he gave all his money to his family, only asking that one day they would buy him a horse.
In 1956 at age 20, horseless still and facing the prospect of conscription, Zoltan decided his horse was elsewhere and joined the stream of refugees pouring from Hungary into Austria. There he waited for a response from the half-dozen countries to which he'd applied for asylum; Canada responded first and several weeks later he walked off a boat and onto the docks of Halifax.
For the next nine years, Zoltan prepared the ground for his life ahead. Inured to hard work from the years of both factory and farm work back in Hungary, he took whatever job presented itself: window-washing, baking, construction, mining, as well as the one at which he would end up working for the rest of his life: landscaping.
In 1965, he returned to Hungary with an iron for his mother and a new cocksure attitude he'd gained from having successfully weathered almost a decade in Canada. On his first date with a striking young school teacher named Zsuzsa (Susan) NEMETH, he proposed marriage. Miss NEMETH refused, but with characteristic doggedness, Zoltan persisted.
By 1969, Zoltan and Susan TOTH were living with a daughter and newborn son in a house on Finch Avenue in North York. By then, Zoltan had already begun to build the landscaping and snow-removal business that would have him working hard in the spring and summer, and have him standing at the end of the driveway in winter, a glass of homemade wine in one hand, wet-fingering the wind with the other.
But, while he embraced his new country, maintaining a quiet but fierce patriotism his whole life, he nonetheless successfully transplanted important rituals from his old country to his new one. For 30-odd years he and his buddies (Hungarian men who, like Zoltan, had come over on the boat years ago and cultivated a new life in Canada), would gather in their respective garages over successive October weekends and make wine. Grapes would be pressed and then, with frugality characteristic of men who had immigrated with nothing but their own ingenuity, the mash of grape skins and stems would be reconstituted with sugar water for a second pressing.
Zoltan had three rules for transplanting trees. "Pick a good plant, pick a good place for it, and vater the hell out of it."
In 1989, 33 years after leaving Hungary, he bought a Lincoln Continental -- his horse, he called it. Zoltan had fierce attachments but also knew how to transplant his dreams and desires to new places and new times. For almost 40 years, Zoltan ran a thriving landscaping business but his most successful transplant, the thing that took root quickly and grew strong and solid and beautiful, was himself.
David EUSTACE is a friend of the TOTH family.

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NEMIGAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-08-30 published
A man of uncommon passion and drive
Despite hints of scandal, the scrappy former Liberal member of parliament, who spent a lifetime fighting for social safety nets, earned a reputation as a tireless crusader for the working people
By Ron CSILLAG Special to the Globe and Mail; With a report from staff Saturday, August 30, 2003 - Page F8
He died with his boots on.
John MUNRO, a Trudeau era Liberal warhorse once described as a rumpled fighter who had gone too many rounds, had just put the finishing touches to a barn-burning speech, to be delivered to a Rotary Club, on the evils of concentration of media ownership when he suffered at heart attack at his desk in his Hamilton home on August 19. He was 72.
It was almost just as well that he went suddenly, his daughter, Anne, said in a eulogy, for her father could not stand suffering. Rather, he would not abide it. Suffering had no place in Canada, he reasoned, which is why his name is so closely associated with such social safety nets as medicare, the Canada Pension Plan and improvements to Old Age Security.
More than 500 well-wishers, including old political pals, steel-workers, artists, business people and labourers, packed the James Street Baptist Church last Saturday to laud Hamilton's favourite son, a scrappy lawyer who earned a reputation as a tireless crusader for working people, despite the recurring taint of scandal.
As the Member of Parliament for Hamilton East from 1962 to 1984 and through five cabinet posts, he was proudly on the left of the Liberal Party, alongside people such as Allan MacEACHEN, Judy LAMARSH, Lloyd AXWORTHY, Eugene WHELAN -- and probably Pierre TRUDEAU himself -- fighting for medicare, against capital punishment and in favour of a guaranteed annual income. As minister of national health and welfare, he didn't win the battle for a guaranteed annual income, but he did get the Guaranteed Income Supplement that has made life easier for many seniors. He was also known and often ridiculed -- for being a chain-smoking health minister.
Prime Minister Jean CHRÉTIEN, who entered Parliament a year after Mr. MUNRO, mourned the death of his former cabinet colleague. "We were very good Friends, and I'm terribly sorry that he passed away. He was a very good member of Parliament, and he was a very good minister and a guy who worked very, very hard in all the files that were given to him."
The political bug bit early. At 18, Mr. MUNRO ran for president of the Tribune Society at Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton. Mark NEMIGAN, a lifelong friend, remembers his resourcefulness: "He went to a local bus stop and festooned all the park benches with banners reading, 'Vote for John.' It worked too. He had uncommon drive and passion, even then."
Born in Hamilton on March 26, 1931, to lawyer John Anderson MUNRO and Katherine CARR, a housewife, John Carr MUNRO became a municipal alderman at the age of 23 while attending law school at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.
"I have no idea how he did that," Mr. NEMIGAN says. "The guy didn't sleep."
Mr. MUNRO took his first run at federal politics in the seat of Hamilton West in 1957, but was beaten by Ellen FAIRCLOUGH, who went on to become Canada's first female cabinet minister. In 1962, he switched ridings, and won the seat he would hold for the next 22 years.
With the election of Mr. TRUDEAU in 1968, a string of cabinet positions followed for Mr. MUNRO: minister without portfolio, amateur sport, health and welfare, labour and Indian affairs and northern development, the last earning him the hard-won respect of aboriginal groups.
In the 1968 general election, an aggressive young poll captain named Sheila COPPS worked on Mr. MUNRO's re-election bid. She would go on to replace him in the seat in 1984.
Tom AXWORTHY, who was Mr. TRUDEAU's principal secretary, recalled that the prime minister often turned to Mr. MUNRO for support on progressive positions at the cabinet table: "When we had those kind of debates, he would kind of look over to MUNRO when he wanted to hear the liberal perspective on the issue."
Mr. MUNRO's support for the decriminalization of marijuana led to a perk in December, 1969: A 90-minute chat about drugs with John LENNON and Yoko ONO, fresh from the duo's "bed-in" at Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Documents unearthed this spring by a researcher for an Ottawa Beatles Web site revealed that Mr. LENNON joked that while Mr. TRUDEAU and Mr. MUNRO, then health minister, were members of the "establishment," they were both "hip."
"Mr. MUNRO's speech [on the decriminalization of marijuana] was the only political speech I ever heard about that had anything to do with reality that came through to me," Mr. LENNON is quoted as saying in the 12,000-word document.
Contacted by a reporter in May, Mr. MUNRO recalled that the incident, and his stand on cannabis, didn't go over well. "Yeah, I was in a little hot water at the time," he laughed. "Everybody thought I wanted to give the country to the junkies."
Mr. LENNON and Ms. ONO made a distinct impression, he said. "The more I think about it, the more I remember he and his wife were very polite and committed people."
In 1974, the water became considerably hotter when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided Mr. MUNRO's campaign headquarters during a probe into kickbacks and bid rigging on Hamilton Harbour dredging contracts.
Around the same time, Mr. MUNRO was criticized for accepting a $500 campaign donation from a union whose leaders were under investigation.
In 1978, he was forced to resign from the cabinet when it was revealed that he had talked to a judge by telephone to give a character reference for a constituent on the day of the person's sentencing for assault. But he bounced back with a tenacity that Mr. TRUDEAU was said to have admired and in 1980 won reappointment to the cabinet.
Mr. MUNRO's stamp on Hamilton was legendary, from the reclamation of land that gave the city Confederation Park, to the Canada Centre for Inland Waters, to the fundraising of more than $50-million for the local airport, renamed in his honour in 1998. "Without a doubt, he was the feistiest, most stubborn person I knew in public life," former mayor Bob MORROW remarked. "I don't think we will ever meet his equal of scaring up funds for Hamilton."
When Mr. TRUDEAU retired in 1984, Mr. MUNRO ran for the Liberal leadership and prime minister. He finished a poor fifth in a field of six. There began what his daughter called the "decade from hell," starting with a four-year Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation so vigorous, the Mounties even considered using a helicopter to track Mr. MUNRO because the officers assigned to tail him couldn't keep up with his car.
That investigation killed a re-election bid in 1988 and scuttled his marriage to Lilly Oddie MUNRO, a minister in the former Ontario Liberal government. It eventually produced 37 flimsy charges of breach of trust, conspiracy, corruption, fraud and theft stemming from his years as Indian affairs minister. After a trial that dragged on for most of 1991, the judge threw out nearly all the charges without even calling for defence evidence. The Crown later withdrew the rest.
Mr. MUNRO welcomed the verdict as "complete exoneration" but was left with legal bills estimated at nearly $1-million and a reputation in ruins. Swimming in debt (he had to rely on Ontario Legal Aid), he filed a civil suit in 1992, claiming malicious prosecution and maintaining he had been targeted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to embarrass him. He attempted a political comeback in 1993, only to have Mr. CHRÉTIEN refuse to sign his nomination papers. Mr. MUNRO responded by filing an unsuccessful court challenge seeking to strip Mr. CHRÉTIEN of his power to appoint candidates.
Mr. MUNRO, who had returned to an immigration law practice in Hamilton, felt betrayed by the government's refusal to pay his legal bills, and it took an emotional toll.
"I'm not mad at the world," he said in 1996. "I realized this could totally destroy me if I didn't live a day at a time. You have to impose discipline, or you're finished. The motivation to carry on is voided. There's nothing to look forward to except endless grief."
He finally won nearly $1.4-million in compensation from Ottawa in 1999, but most of the money went to pay taxes, legal bills and other expenses. He could have avoided problems by declaring bankruptcy, but insisted on clearing his debts.
"He was no saint, but he was dedicated and hardworking," said his daughter Susan. "He was deeply hurt."
Mr. MUNRO had no interest in the personal trappings of wealth, she said, adding that he had a weakness only for Chevy Chevettes and homemade muffins. Good thing too, for a proposal for bankruptcy he filed in 1995 showed a monthly living balance of $476.
His last political gasp came in 2000 when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Hamilton. Asked in 1996 about writing his memoirs, he said: "I'm not ready. There's no last chapter yet."
Mr. MUNRO leaves his third wife, Barbara, and four children.

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