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"DNA" 2005 Obituary


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DNA o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-06-27 published
Dianne Lee MARTIN
By Ingrid GADSDEN and Linda HOWARD, Monday, June 27, 2005, Page A14
Friend, lawyer, teacher, dog lover. Born March 19, 1945, in Regina, Saskatchewan. Died December 20, 2004, in Toronto, of a heart attack, aged 59.
Since her death, many have written about Dianne's extraordinary legal career, her dedication to the Innocence Project, a program she co-founded at York University, and her love of teaching law all of them outstanding achievements in what was a rich and satisfying life. There were, however, other facets of her life that made her memorable to many who had little familiarity with her professional life. To most of those folks, she was simply "Dianne - Magic and MacLeod's mom."
Magic and MacLeod are Dianne's beloved collies. Almost every morning for more than eight years, she walked them in the off-leash park at Toronto's Cherry Beach. Clad in gloves, boots, parkas and toques in winter, sandals and colourful drapey smocks in summer, Dianne was a familiar, welcoming sight. For the first few years she'd arrive as close to sunrise as possible, hiking through snowdrifts, mud puddles or knee-high grass to stand at the point and watch the sun rise over the Leslie Spit. It was like watching a painting come to life, she'd say.
Dianne never lacked for walking companions at Cherry Beach -- humans or dogs. She drew them to her through her strength of personality and the affectionate, generous spirit she exuded. Pockets jammed with plastic poop-bags and homemade, organic liver treats, she discovered the names of hundreds of dogs long before she knew their owners. For that alone, she earned our admiration, but as the years slipped by, we loved her for so much more. She attracted us, like bees to pollen.
Walking the dirt paths in all kinds of weather, she entertained us with eye-popping stories and opinions on everything from cross-examination techniques to butterfly migration and the science behind DNA. There wasn't a topic she couldn't talk about intelligently. Plot swings on The West Wing (her favourite television show), gardening, herbal remedies, Prairie politics, and the birth of the feminist movement -- Dianne shared her ideas and listened to ours. Conversations were always spirited, passionate and invigorating. Full of life and with a razor-sharp mind, she adored a good argument and a well-phrased retort. Topics segued effortlessly, one into another, often punctuated by rollicking bursts of laughter.
Cherry Beach was her special place, a gift of nature that she treasured. As the seasons changed, there was always something different to see, something new to talk about. Flocks of geese in a "V" formation, or a blustery northwest wind reminded Dianne of her Prairie days. Pale green buds on trees in spring, buttercups and daisies in summer, Monarch butterflies and masses of chicory blossoms and Saint John's Wort in fall -- all these were catalysts for discussions that went on for weeks and morphed into dozens of unrelated, equally fascinating topics. Dianne left us far too soon.
Today, Magic, Dianne's 13-year old tri-colour collie lives with Ingrid. MacLeod, her sable collie sleeps on the sofa at Linda Howard's home. We love and nurture them the same way Dianne did. We walk with them along the same paths we walked with Dianne, but these days the park seems quieter and a little emptier. Dianne had a powerful and unforgettable presence. That's why, in her honour, the Cherry Beach dog owners are donating funds to buy a permanent bench that will overlook the Leslie Spit at the entrance to the Eastern Gap. It was Dianne's favourite viewing point. We'll inscribe it with her name, a token of our affection for a remarkable, generous and inspiring friend who left us with heaps of enduring memories.
Linda and Ingrid are Dianne's Friends.

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DNA o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-10-01 published
James GUILLET, Chemist and Teacher: (1927-2005)
University of Toronto professor figured out how to produce polymers that will degrade or break down plastic litter in sunlight, writes Sandra MARTIN. He discovered he could 'make it disappear'
By Sandra MARTIN, Saturday, October 1, 2005, Page S7
A "green" chemist, James GUILLET was fascinated by photosynthesis in plants and the wonders that nature could create with solar light and water. He wanted to mimic the function of natural systems in his laboratory.
As a scientist, he was a pioneer in establishing photochemistry and photophysics of the polymer system as an important and separate discipline in chemistry. As an inventor, he used his scientific discoveries in practical applications for human and environmental benefit. During his lifetime he registered more than 100 patents, including a process for making plastics (such as foam coffee cups and fast food clam-shell containers) decompose in sunlight, and an agricultural mulch film That smothers weeds during the growing season and then breaks down into the soil in the winter.
Although he was honoured as a scientist, he did not see his progressive ideas widely embraced by industry and government in this country. On the contrary, he was frustrated by self-interested environmentalists and paper manufacturers who lobbied against the industrial use of his "man-made plastics."
He was revered by colleagues and students, many of whom called him "the Boss" and came from around the world to work with him. "He was not the professor with blinders on his eyes who could only see science," says his Polish colleague Maria NOWAKOWSKA. He loved opera and theatre, growing orchids, swimming and sailing at the family cottage he designed and built nearly 50 years ago.
James Edwin GUILLET was born into an academic Toronto family his father, Edwin, was a prominent historian and the author of Early Life in Upper Canada, among many other books. They lived in the Annex neighbourhood of the city before moving to the suburbs when Jim was 12. Summers were spent with their Ohio relatives at on Horseshoe Island in Stoney Lake near Peterborough.
Musician Sue POLANYI went there, too, as a child because her father was the Anglican Minister at the rectory on the island. "He was immensely handsome as a young man," remembers Ms. POLANYI, and he "grew up to have a grip on business like no other chemist" because he "wasn't a dreamer -- he was a practical man."
After attending Huron Street School, young Jim GUILLET went to the University of Toronto Schools and then the University of Toronto. He joined the campus camera club, winning first prize in a photography contest judged by Yousuf KARSH, with a black and white picture called "Valley of the Shadows" that he had taken of the rocks in the creek at the bottom of his parents' East York home. Prof. GUILLET always attributed his success in finding summer jobs at Eastman Kodak to his early passion for photography.
He graduated from the University of Toronto with an honours degree in physics and chemistry in 1948. Unable to find a job in Canada, he began working fulltime as a research chemist for Eastman Kodak, first, in Rochester and, then, in Kingsport, Tennessee.
During the day, he worked on new types of graft and block copolymers but spent his evenings enjoying the company of Helen BIRCHER, a young university graduate from Nashville, Tennessee., who had recently moved to Kingsport to work for the Girl Scouts. "It was a very small town and everybody knew everybody and we had a ball," she said, "dating and hiking and parties and church." They were married in 1953 in Nashville.
The next year, the GUILLETs went to Saint John's College, Cambridge, in England. Rationing was still in effect, the best form of transport was a bicycle, and they found lodging in a thatched cottage. He studied under R.G.W. Norrish, a future Nobel laureate, earning his Ph. D in photochemistry in 1955. Twenty years later, the university honoured him with an Sc. D, a doctor of science.
After Cambridge, the GUILLETs went back to Kodak in Kingsport, where all four of their children were born. James worked as senior research chemist and later research associate in charge of polyolefin research before joining the chemistry department at the University of Toronto as an associate professor in 1963. At the time, he had 30 U.S. patents and had published 20 scientific papers.
John POLANYI, a future Nobel laureate in chemistry, was on the hiring committee. "He had a great string of patents to his name and we worried that he wasn't going to fit into academe," he remembered, noting the cultural disparities between industry and the "ivory towers."
Fears that Prof. GUILLET's approach might be too commercial proved groundless. In 1969, he was promoted to full professor and named professor emeritus in 1991. "His bent was to do academic science and to figure out why things happened the way they did, rather than how useful they were," said Prof. POLANYI. "He warned all the time against letting the applications of science dominate the university agenda."
At the time, polymer chemistry wasn't a particularly sexy field. That changed largely because of Prof. GUILLET's work. Hearkening back to his early interest in light and shadow in photography, Prof. GUILLET's main areas of research involved studying the way polymers react to light. Polymers are large molecules made from smaller and simpler molecules. They can be artificial, such as plastics, or natural, such as proteins and DNA. Before his time, people were interested in how light reacts with small molecules and he advanced the science with large molecules.
This research led to one of his most important discoveries: how to produce polymers that will degrade or break down in sunlight. In other words, a potential antidote to much of the world's litter problems.
In true scientific fashion, the solution came to him while he was working with his students on the opposite problem: creating a polymer that is resistant to the sun's rays. Electrical wires, which are insulated with plastic, have to be replaced every so often because the sun rots the plastic, making it useless as an insulator.
In 1969, while Prof. GUILLET was working on developing sun-hardy polymers, he went on vacation with his wife Helen to Andros Island in the Bahamas. Disturbed by the litter floating ashore from cruise ships, he realized he could "make it disappear," according to Mrs. GUILLET. All he had to do was to create polymers that were less resistant to ultraviolet rays from the sun.
And of course he did. He registered three patents for photodegradable polymers in 1970, assigning the rights to the U of T. That same year, he started a high-tech company called EcoPlastics to manufacture ecolyte bio-cyclic plastics. The company, which also did contract research on tar sands and greenhouse films, was never able to raise the necessary capital in Canada. A Dutch deal collapsed after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries oil crisis of the 1970s. About 50 per cent of EcoPlastics was acquired by a American entrepreneur in 1986.
Instead of a stock-market bonanza for the U of T, Prof. GUILLET was awarded a Lindbergh Grant worth $10,000 in recognition of his efforts to create a better balance between technology and the environment. He and a colleague were also awarded a gold medal and Canada's patent number 1,000,000 for inventing photodegradable plastics. Some years later, a cynical Prof. GUILLET observed, "It is perhaps a measure of the government's commitment to science and technology that the medal turned out to be gold plated!"
During his career, James GUILLET published nearly 300 scientific papers and wrote 80 patent applications. He founded two other companies besides EcoPlastics. Medi-Pro Sciences Ltd., which was incorporated in 1976, did research on artificial skin and medical applications of plastics. Solarchem Corporation (1984) tried to develop pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals for pollution control using sunlight as the primary energy source.
He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981, a Killam Research Fellowship in 1987 and the International Award of the Society of Polymer Science in 1999. During his career, he supervised 28 Ph. D. theses, 26 masters degrees and 50 post-doctoral fellows and research associates.
He immersed himself in the lives and problems of his students and the scientists who came from around the world to work with him. "I thought he was a wonderful person who cared about his students and would spend hours and hours tutoring them if they were having a problem," says Susan ARBUCKLE, his secretary since she moved here from California in 1971.
That sentiment was echoed by John FRASER, Master of Massey College at the U of T, who called on Prof. GUILLET a number of times to mentor troubled science students. "He was just incredible," said Mr. FRASER. "He knew what their log jam was and who they should speak to." He also gave the college two Paul Kane portraits that had belonged to his father.
One of his research associates was Maria NOWAKOWSKA, now vice-rector for research and international relations at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Back in the early 1970s, Prof. NOWAKOWSKA, then a Ph. D student, went to an international conference in Prague, one of the few places she could visit before the fall of communism. Prof. GUILLET, who was the keynote speaker, spoke with her after her presentation because he "always had the idea to approach young people who needed his hand and his help," Prof. NOWAKOWSKA said by telephone from her home this week.
He invited her to work in his lab, a trip she couldn't make for 15 years because of work and family commitments and the hurdles erected by the state to keep her from defecting to the West. She says his lab, then, was the best in the world in photophysics and photochemistry and "supervisors were fighting" to find places for their students "to work with Jim GUILLET."
She arrived with no luggage, no place to stay, no computer, and almost no cash, so Prof. GUILLET took her home where she was treated as a member of the family and given a bed until she found a place to live. It was the beginning of an international collaboration that continued until his death. Working with him was like being in "a volcano of ideas," she said. "People respected him and each other."
She met with him for the last time before Prof. GUILLET underwent heart surgery in August. Even in hospital he was still encouraging her to pursue new patents on natural polymers and publish the results.
James Edwin GUILLET was born in Toronto on January 14, 1927. He died September 23, 2005, from complications following successful bypass surgery. He is survived by his wife, two siblings, four children and nine grandchildren.

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DNA o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.toronto_star 2005-01-25 published
Friends watched horrified as two men shot to death
Three on balcony saw fatal shooting
Police hope DNA tests prove fruitful
By Tracy HUFFMAN, Crime Reporter
It took about two minutes.
A violent dispute. Gunfire. One man lies dead on the apartment's living room floor, his friend bleeding to death in the kitchen.
Two men flee, losing their dark blue and white bandanas in a laneway behind the apartment building.
It was Friday night, about 9: 30. On the balcony of the third-floor Niagara St. apartment, three other people had been smoking. They saw the fight begin and witnessed one of their Friends take a gunshot to the chest.
One man on the balcony ran out of the apartment to a nearby stairwell.
Another called 911 from his cellphone but realized he didn't know the address.
He too left the apartment, panicking, banging on doors as he ran down the hall, trying to find someone who could tell him the address.
The third man stayed in the apartment with his Friends: Justin HODGE, 20, who was later pronounced dead at the scene, and Damian MUIRHEAD, 22, who had been shot in the neck.
MUIRHEAD died in hospital.
"We believe that the motive for the murders is robbery," Toronto police homicide Det. Sgt. Ken TAILOR/TAYLOR said at a news conference yesterday. "It is quite possible... the suspects believed that they may have been able to go into that apartment to get some drugs and/or money."
The suspects wore bandanas over their faces, and police don't have detailed descriptions of them. Police have spoken to two of the men on the balcony and are hoping to hear from the third. TAILOR/TAYLOR stressed that investigators do not believe he was involved in the slayings, but he might be able to provide valuable information.
Bandanas and a silver watch found in a nearby laneway are being tested for DNA. TAILOR/TAYLOR said he is hopeful those tests will help track down the killers.
TAILOR/TAYLOR said police found some marijuana and ecstasy inside the apartment: No. 313 at 180 Niagara St. Although both victims had had some minor dealings with police, TAILOR/TAYLOR said neither were part of a gang.
HODGE, an aspiring hip-hop artist who was working on an album, had an amazing sense of humour, said his sister Sara in an interview.
"He was a clown. He always had something funny to say. He was an intelligent boy with a vast vocabulary," she said.
Sara HODGE, 22, visited her brother almost every day, she said, and had been at the apartment that night.
"I left early, but I don't really know why."
She described her younger brother as handsome and popular.
"He did not have one enemy. He was my best friend, my other half. I am lost without him. We told each other we loved each other. We laughed together. We cried together," she said through tears.
HODGE said she introduced her brother and MUIRHEAD about six or seven years ago. For several years, she dated MUIRHEAD and they all lived together.
"He was a good guy, a happy guy," she said. "He always had a kind word to say... Damian, he wanted to make something of himself, but he wasn't sure how to get there."
MUIRHEAD had been living in a basement apartment at his aunt's North York house.
Dee Dee SCRUTON said her nephew was outgoing and popular.
"Damian had all kinds of Friends, everywhere he went, everybody loved Damian," she said, adding, "They were both good kids, kind-hearted."
Yesterday, both families were making funeral arrangements.
"I'm holding it together because that's what Damian would want," SCRUTON said. "He loved and respected me and I loved and respected him. He was my friend first, my nephew second. That's what he said, we were Friends. I just got to hold it together for him."
HODGE lived with his friend Steve MADISON at the 62-unit low-rise Niagara Neighbourhood Cooperative in King West village, which has many upscale condominiums, trendy restaurants and bars.
MADISON was at work the night of the shooting.
MUIRHEAD had stopped in for a visit with his friend some time before 9: 30 p.m., when at least two men entered the apartment.
Three other men dropped in to say hello and to pick up a cellphone from MUIRHEAD. Those three -- who were on the balcony at the time of the deadly fight -- hadn't planned on staying.
"Justin was the target," TAILOR/TAYLOR said. The suspects may have known him.
The homicide officer believes MUIRHEAD was shot after coming to the aid of his friend.
The fight was short, but violent, TAILOR/TAYLOR said, noting both dead men had a number of injuries. MUIRHEAD, he noted, broke one knuckle in the melee.
"It is quite evident that both deceased were involved in quite a violent fight just prior to their deaths. It is my belief that one or both suspects are injured as a result of this fight," TAILOR/TAYLOR said.
Two of the three men on the balcony spoke with police, providing a lot of detail about how the fight broke out. TAILOR/TAYLOR said police have yet to talk to the third man who was on the balcony that night.
"This witness was a friend of Justin's," TAILOR/TAYLOR said.
"It appeared that he had called Justin on his cellular phone just prior to the murder and Justin let this person into the apartment."
He asked that the man call homicide detectives.
"I know you knew my brother," HODGE said of the witness. "You were probably scared, probably still scared. It is very important that you do come forward and give whatever information you have. Two people are gone and many more are hurting."
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call TAILOR/TAYLOR at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers, 416-222-8477.
with files from Betsy POWELL

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