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"SEG" 2003 Obituary


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SEGAL o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-02-07 published
Michael EDELSTEIN
By Leah KESHET Friday, February 7, 2003, Page A20
Mathematician, husband, father, grandfather. Born March 21, 1917, in Mlawa, Poland. Died January 27 in Vancouver, British Columbia, of natural causes, aged 85.
Michael EDELSTEIN was born to a respected, well-to-do, traditional Jewish family: His grandfather, Zisha ZILBERBERG, owned a large brick tenement building and a grocery store; his father, Baruch, prospered in the leather trade.
As a young child, Michael received a Jewish education. During his impressionable teen years, Michael discovered a copy of Darwin's Origin of Species abandoned in his grandfather's attic by a fleeing soldier. The discovery led him toward a life of science, and away from religion. As an adolescent, he excelled in mathematics and physics. He was an avid reader, astute in current events, and a scholar of history, who retained detailed knowledge of turbulent events of the two centuries spanned by his life.
Rising anti-Semitism in Poland of the 1920s and 1930s blocked higher education for Jews (via "Numerus Clausus" -- the quota system). His sister Sarenka persuaded Michael to study abroad at the fledgling Hebrew University of Jerusalem (in then-Palestine). He arrived alone in that bewildering land in 1937. There he struggled with the language and culture, and was beset by loneliness and homesickness. Ultimately, this dislocation spared his life. The firestorm that erupted over Europe in 1939 was to consume his family in the Holocaust.
On the Mt. Scopus campus of Hebrew U., conditions were rough, stipends meagre, and hunger and deprivation were rampant. War interrupted his studies: With the onset of the Second World War, Michael enlisted in the British Army, serving in Italy and Egypt. He later fought in the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, and participated in defense research.
The 1950s were years of happiness and rejuvenation. He was reunited, in Israel, with his sister, the single family member who had survived Auschwitz. In 1951, Michael married a warm, caring, beautiful native bride, Tikvah SEGAL; two years later, their only daughter was born. The couple struggled to make ends meet while completing higher degrees, Michael a mathematics D.Sc and Tikvah a botany Ph.D.
In 1962, the family undertook a journey, through Ithaca, New York, and Michigan, which eventually led them, in 1964, to a new home in Canada. Michael was recruited as a mathematics professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, where he became a founder of the mathematics graduate and research program. He inspired colleagues, trained students, carried out research, and taught there for more than two decades before his retirement and relocation to British Columbia.
Michael saw his own life as a series of personal losses: of his beloved mother Ester-Leah (when he was 6), of his young wife (at age 51), his sister in later life, and many others. By age 85, he had outlived an entire generation of kin. He struggled with internal demons in personal interactions, often leaving Friends and loved ones grieving over sudden, inexplicable estrangements. A miraculous reunion in recent years, with his once-estranged daughter who had followed his footsteps to become a mathematician, led to a close bond. It remained unbroken until his dying day, January 27, 2003, in Vancouver.
Michael was an exceptional chess player (gaining the title of International Master in Correspondence Chess in the 1990s), but mathematics was his first love and lifelong passion; he never tired of transmitting that passion to students and even to casual acquaintances. While infirm with Parkinson's disease at an advanced age, he took pleasure in his mathematics books, and braved some of the most notoriously challenging problems in mathematics.
Leah KESHET is Michael's daughter.

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SEGAL o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-03-03 published
ENNIS, Lillian
On Saturday, March 1, 2003, at Kensington Gardens, in her 85th year, after a long and full life. Beloved wife of the late Dr. Julius ENNIS. Loving mother and mother-in-law of Paul and Laura, Jon and Janice, Nancy and Monica, and Barry and Karen. Dear sister and sister-in-law of the late Sonia and David GARFIELD, Al and the late Doris JANIS, the late Pearl and Dave DAVIS, Ruth and Josh SEGAL, Bunny and Edith ENNIS, and Rita and Marvin WEINTRUAB. Devoted grandmother of Simon, Joshua, Miriam, Naomi, Isabelle, Sam, and Julie. She will be missed by her devoted nieces and nephews and her many Friends. The family is grateful for the attentive care given by Dr. Anne BIRINGER. Special thanks to everyone at Kensington Gardens. At Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel, 2401 Steeles Avenue West (one light west of Dufferin), for service on Monday, March 3, 2003, at 12: 30 p.m. Interment Chevra Mishnayis Section of Mt. Sinai Memorial Park. Shiva 8 Conrad Avenue, through to Wednesday evening. If desired, donations may be made to the Lillian Ennis Memorial Fund c/o the Benjamin Foundation, 3429 Bathurst Street, Toronto, M6A 2C3, 416-780-0324.

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SEGAL o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-03-31 published
Scholar was 'hooked' on religion
Director of Centre for Religious Studies at the University of Toronto was lauded for important introductory works
By Ron CSILLAG Special to The Globe and Mail Monday, March 31, 2003 - Page R7
Like members of the clergy and their early epiphanies, scholars of religion can often pinpoint the instant they decided to pursue their calling.
For Willard OXTOBY, one of the world's foremost students of comparative religion and founding director of the University of Toronto's Centre for Religious Studies, a defining moment came at the tender age of five, when his father, a teacher of Old Testament at a Presbyterian seminary, taught his son to memorize the 23rd psalm, in Hebrew. One night, while an advanced Hebrew class met at the Oxtoby home, young Willard was summoned, in his pyjamas, to recite the psalm.
"See?" his father told the class. "Even a kid can do Hebrew, so get on with it."
A decade later, another breakthrough: While accompanying his father on a preaching visit, the elder OXTOBY recounted one of Jesus's parables, and then interrupted his exposition to say, "Of course that was just a story. Can a thing be true that never happened?"
About a year before his March 6 death in Toronto of colon cancer at age 69, the son remembered the father's blunt words as a turning point: "I can still recall the colour of paint on the wall at that instant. And thanks to the right question coming at the right time in my life, I've never had a problem personally handling the symbolic dimensions of religion."
He did more than merely handle. Through over 40 years of probing, analyzing, observing and writing in quantities that left colleagues astonished, Prof. OXTOBY bequeathed a legacy of scholarship that's been described as passionate and exuberant. From Anabaptism to Zoroastrianism, he dove headlong into all the world's major and minor religious traditions and had the ability, so often demonstrated, of connecting the dots between them.
"His command of detail was amazing," eulogized his former student, Alan SEGAL, who now teaches Jewish studies at Barnard College in New York, "all with specific knowledge of how it made religions fit together and help explain what religion was all about."
A fixture at the University of Toronto's religion department for 28 years, Prof. OXTOBY was a vocal proponent of interfaith dialogue, believing, as his friend, the Swiss Catholic renegade Hans KUNG, that there will be no peace on the planet until there is peace among its inhabitants' religions. In the specific case of Islam, he called for the need to understand the faith's diversity: "Lumping people of any group together, as if they're all alike, is one basic strategy of prejudice."
Prof. OXTOBY knew his share of grief -- he was twice married and twice widowed -- but he never lost his own footing. "He was optimistic and curious about everything until his final day, " said his son David, an executive with Ontario Power Generation Inc.
Willard Gurdon OXTOBY was born July 29, 1933, in Kentfield, Calif., just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, into a family of scholars. Both his father and grandfather were ministers and teachers of the Old Testament, and he spent a year between high school and college accompanying his father on a sabbatical to Europe and the Middle East. "I was hooked," he would recall. "The world of the Bible, both its archeology and its current events, came alive vividly."
After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in philosophy, he completed masters and doctoral degrees within a year of each other at Princeton, specializing in pre-Islamic Arabic inscriptions. In 1958, he married Layla JURJI, the daughter of one of his Princeton professors, and the couple spent two years in Jerusalem, with Prof. OXTOBY as part of the team that studied the Dead Sea Scrolls.
His first teaching job was in Montreal, where he launched McGill University's inaugural course on Judaism. But after a few years, he realized he needed to explore the influence of modern-day Iran on the religion of the Hebrews following their Babylonian exile. He returned to school, this time to Harvard, to study Zoroastrianism, an ancient faith born in Persia, possibly the world's first monotheistic religion. So expert would he become that he was made an honorary member of the Zoroastrian Society of Ontario.
He taught at Yale University for five years before accepting a full professorship at the University of Toronto's Trinity College in 1971, a relationship that would last until his retirement in 1999. In between were a slew of visiting professorships, appointments, awards and fellowships, and authorship of dozens of entries for dictionaries and encyclopedias on world religions.
Reprising his travels with his father, Prof. OXTOBY took his wife and teenage son and daughter, Susan, on an around-the-world sabbatical beginning in 1976 to study Zoroastrians in the diaspora. The clan lived in London, India and southeast Asia. The experience "definitely changed my perspective on the transient nature of North American culture," recalled Susan, director of programming at Cinematheque Ontario.
Cancer claimed Prof. OXTOBY's first wife in 1980. The following year, he married Julia CHING, a Shanghai-born onetime Catholic nun and formidable scholar of Chinese religions and neo-Confucian philosophy. The two formed an academic partnership at University of Toronto that produced a slew of monographs and articles, before cancer took Prof. CHING in October, 2001.
Prof. OXTOBY was probably best known for two introductory volumes he edited, World Religions: Western Traditions and World Religions: Eastern Traditions, in which he wrote chapters on Christianity, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and general entries. Both have been hailed for their lucidity -- examples of his ability to render complex matters accessible without dumbing them down. He was working on a condensed, one-volume version of the books at the time of his death, along with a multitude of other projects.
In all, he travelled to more than 100 countries and studied over a dozen languages, including Arabic, Ugaritic and Sanskrit.
He was fond of recounting several humorous firsts in his career: That he was ordained a Presbyterian minister without actually attending divinity school; that he gathered the inscriptional data for his dissertation in one day; and that he smuggled pork sausages into Israel.
A deeply religious man personally and a biblical scholar too, Prof. OXTOBY never thought of himself as anything other than a Christian -- but as a comparatavist, never an exclusivist: "At no time have I ever supposed that God could not also reach out to other persons in their traditions and communities as fully and as satisfyingly as He has to me in mine," he concluded in his 1983 book, The Meaning of Other Faiths. "My Christianity, including my sense of Christian ministry, has commanded that I be open to learn from the faith of others."
He extended that openness to his own funeral: "He wanted it to be non-eucharistic," his son David said. "He wanted everyone to feel welcome."
Prof. OXTOBY even had a snappy comeback to pious Christians who asked whether he'd been saved: "Well, I'll be damned if I'm not."

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SEGAL o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-09-11 published
SEGAL, Murray
Eckler Partners Ltd. mourns the passing of its esteemed partner, Murray SEGAL, who died on September 1, 2003 after a brief battle with cancer. A prominent actuary, Murray joined Eckler Partners 44 years ago. In addition to his professional consulting activity Murray served on the Board of Directors and as the firm's Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary for the past many years. The loss of our treasured colleague and friend is immeasurable.
Murray headed up Eckler Partners' Actuarial Evidence practice and was considered by many to be Canada's leading practitioner in the field. He played a key role in numerous landmark cases and was greatly respected by his peers, including fellow actuaries, economists, lawyers and judges.
Murray was known for his love of his family, his community and his profession. Murray's commitment and dedication to the betterment of the actuarial profession was unfailing. Throughout his career he served tirelessly on advisory committees and professional organizations.
Murray's integrity and intelligence were matched only by his humility, good humour and generosity. He was a great (and usually anonymous) contributor to community charities, and passionately lobbied for causes near to his and his family's heart. He will be remembered always by his colleagues for his frequent and spontaneous acts of kindness and for the respect he extended to one and all.
Murray will be missed immensely, both personally and professionally, by so many. We extend heartfelt condolences to his wife Marlene and his three sons, Gerald, Ernest and Moshe, and their families.
In honour and memory of Murray SEGAL, Eckler Partners Ltd. is establishing a Murray Segal Memorial Award in Actuarial Science at the University of Manitoba, Murray's alma mater. Donations are welcome, and may be made through David BROWN at Eckler Partners (telephone: (416) 696-3016 or email: dbrown@eckler.ca), or through Diana KASPERSION, at the Department of Private Funding, 179 Continuing Education Complex, 406 University Crescent, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2. Donations should be made payable to the University of Manitoba.
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SEGAL o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-10-09 published
Murray SEGAL
By Bernie M. FARBER Thursday, October 9, 2003 - Page A26
Community leader, actuary, political pundit, family man. Born September 26, 1939, in Winnipeg. Died September 1, from cancer, in Toronto, aged 63.
The Jewish prophet Jeremiah tells us of three types of behaviour that gives G-d pleasure: kindness, justice and equity. Murray SEGAL gave G-d much pleasure.
His father Jack, a truck driver, and his mother, Rae, worked hard to ensure that Murray would have the education and stability that their lives had not. Early on the boy showed a talent for mathematics and entrepreneurship. His uncle Toker, a lathe operator, made wooden candlesticks which Murray would diligently sell door-to-door.
A scholastic star in high school, he skipped grades not once but twice. At age 19, Murray became the youngest person ever to graduate from the University of Manitoba as a gold medalist in commerce and actuarial math.
With a job offer in his pocket from a small Toronto actuarial firm run by Sam ECKLER, Murray decided to go east in 1959. He had to borrow the train fare from his future boss.
The job with Sam became the only job Murray SEGAL ever held. Today, Eckler and Partners is one of the most influential actuarial firms in Canada. Lawyers repeatedly turned to Murray as an expert witness; Supreme Court decisions rested on the precise expertise of the testimony he gave.
But Murray was more than an actuary. He was also a dedicated community leader. In 1984, he was appointed chair of the Ontario Jewish Association for Equity in Education, a committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress supported by the United Jewish Appeal Federation. Equity was something Murray could understand both in actuarial and moral terms. At a time when the funding of independent religious schools was a concept no political party wanted to touch, he forced politicians to consider it.
In the 15 years he held this voluntary position, he met with every premier, minister of education, Member of Provincial Parliament and newspaper editor whom he felt would help move the issue forward.
Murray was precise to a fault. He read every Canadian Jewish Congress study, op-ed piece and commissioned report; there could be no period, comma or sentence out of place. Much to the consternation of professional staff, there were times when Murray insisted a piece be entirely re-written.
Despite the objections of staff, Murray's will won out. We were the better for it: The fact that the Ontario Conservatives brought forward a tax credit for faith-based schools is testimony to Murray's efforts.
He'll also be remembered for a wry, sardonic sense of humour. Meetings with politicians were often fraught with tension. However, a well-placed quip, followed by Murray's gap-tooth, Ernest Borgnine smile, would cut through that tension like a knife through butter.
Murray used to tell me that his anchor, the person with whom he shared his thoughts, goals and ideas, the person who grounded him, was his wife Marlene. Married for close to 39 years, Marlene and Murray had three children, Gerald, Ernest and Moshe whom they gave a sense of what it means to be humble, gracious and decent.
Judaism imposes upon the Jewish people the responsibility to work toward the perfection of the world Tikkun Olam. The Ethics of our Fathers tell us, "It is not your obligation to complete the task [of perfecting the world], but neither are you free to desist from doing all you can." Murray SEGAL did all he could.
Bernie M. FARBER is executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario region. Murray SEGAL was the first chair Bernie worked with in his career at Canadian Jewish Congress.

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SEGAL o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-14 published
McCAULEY, Jack Clark (December 21, 1922 - November 11, 2003.)
After a full and cherished life, Jack McCAULEY died peacefully on Remembrance Day in his 80th year. For 46 years, he was the deeply loved husband of Joan. Jack was the dearly loved father, father-in-law, and grandfather of: Lyn and her children Carmen, Lisa and Sarah; Laurel and her husband Guy PRITCHARD; Patrick and Justine SEGAL and his children Roxanne, Ryan, and Jasmine John; Brian; and Gordon and his wife Catherine and their children Peter, Heather and Jay. His many, many Friends and relatives were very important members of Jack's life.
After graduation from Etobicoke Collegiate and the University of Western Ontario (Kappa Alpha '49), and honourable service to his country as a Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy, Jack enjoyed much success in business through leadership roles with prominent marketing and sales organizations.
More important, however, was the pleasure he ultimately found in his family, and coaching and counseling others. Jack came to appreciate that the essence of community service was the enormous inspiration he received from the simple act of helping others.
Jack left life as he lived it, the source of wisdom and counsel to many, with a warm smile and handshake to all, and always with a funny story to pass along.
In celebration of his life, Jack's family invite all with a happy memory to join them at a reception at St. George's Golf and Country Club, 1668 Islington Avenue, on Monday, November 17, 2003 from 5: 00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggests donations to your favourite charity, and that you be certain today to cherish those you love.

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SEGEL o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-06-30 published
Eleanor Ann Veeder SEGEL
By Rose DESHAW, Monday, June 30, 2003 - Page A18
Quaker, Raging Granny, canoeist, choral singer. Born May 29, 1933, In Rochester, New York Died February 20 in Kingston, Ontario, of cancer, aged 69.
A national women's march against poverty, called Bread and Roses, was winding its way from the West Coast and would spend a day in Kingston, Ontario, in 1996. Some older women from various city choirs had decided to form a gaggle of Raging Grannies to officially greet the marchers. "Who else would be interested?" someone asked.
"There's this Quaker who writes really good letters to the editor," an organizer said. "And she sings." I was commissioned to phone Elly SEGEL.
"I'd rather like that," a husky, musical voice agreed when I called to introduce the granny gaggle idea: scolding misbehaving politicians with random hits of raucous public verse. At that time, none of us knew much about the movement other than you wrote your own songs, most of which made fun of the governmental power-mad and their self-serving politics. When we started song writing, Elly stood for fairness. "We can't call them 'liars,'" she said. "A politician might be a misguided stinker but that doesn't mean he isn't sincere."
Born in Rochester, New York where her father was a psychiatrist, Elly was on her high-school cheerleading squad and went on to take a master's degree from Harvard, after having spent a year at St. Andrew's University in Scotland. With her husband, Stan, she emigrated to Canada with their three children and became a citizen during the 1960s. In 1974, when the Segels separated, Elly took her master's degree in social work at Carleton University and began work as a rehabilitative social worker.
In a recent granny gig on that campus, accompanied by kazoos, Elly's trained voice harmonized on the Pink Ghetto number for pay equity. "I had such a good time as a student here," she said. Good times naturally associated themselves with her.
Forced to retire at 65, Elly rented a farmhouse on the Napanee River, continuing the travelling ways that demonstrated what flat-out committed living was all about. At this point she seemed to have been spot-welded to a canoe. Not for her stale regrets of missing backpacking through Europe, scrambling up New Zealand mountains, or paddling Algonquin Park. If it was an adventure, Elly was up for it. In the late 1970's, with no sailing experience, navigational gear or radio, she helped crew a very small, leaky sailboat across one of the largest stretches of open water in the world, from Hawaii to Alaska.
She was a slightly built woman with a sense of humour the size of a large forest and a laugh like the wind in its branches. Her social work approach was as a friend sharing advice painfully scraped from the granite surface of tenacious living. Perhaps her Quaker belief in the value of silence made it possible for her to hear so clearly what you meant to say. Serving on the executive of the Canadian Friends Service Committee, and other national committees, Elly never neglected her local Thousand Islands meeting.
Diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer and given six months, she filled the following four years with Friends and music. Coughing more as the cancer advanced, Elly phoned shortly before her death to ask if it seemed fair to go on singing with the Melos choir, given her cough? Justice again. Anyone who ever sang with her knew she was needed. A nervous first-timer standing next to her at the Sing-Along-Messiah remembered Elly quietly tracing the alto part with her finger, without being asked.
Attending services in Elly's memory were gourmet cooks, actors, musicians, composers, artists, canoeists, writers, dancers, teachers, scientists, scholars, activists -- all telling stories of this comet who had streaked through our lives.
Rose "grannied" with friend Elly.

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SEGSWORTH o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-06-23 published
BAL, Mary Evelyn (née ROBERTSON)
Wife of the late Kenan Y. BAL. Died June 17, 2003 in her 96th year at her residence in New York. Born in Stratford, Ontario to Robert Spelman ROBERTSON and Laura Gertrude (SEGSWORTH) ROBERTSON, Mary attended Havergal College on Jarvis Street in Toronto. After graduating from the University of Toronto she obtained her PhD in Food Chemistry from Columbia University in New York in 1942. She will be remembered with affection by her nieces and nephews. Interment at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Tuesday, June 24th at 3 p.m.

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