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"RAS" 2007 Obituary


RASBACH o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-11-13 published
He was a pillar of society who put a contract on his wife
In 1984, he arranged the attack, delivered his wife to the scene of the crime and watched her plead for her life before being shot in the head in front of their 14-year-old nephew
By Noreen RASBACH, Page S8
His 68-day trial was nothing less than a Canadian sensation, with newspapers detailing the unlikely ways he used cocaine and the lurid testimony about his unseemly trysts with prostitutes.
In the end, the verdict was quick and damning: The jury took only 12½ hours to find Helmuth BUXBAUM, then 46, guilty of first-degree murder for arranging the 1984 contract killing of his wife and business partner, Hanna.
He didn't just arrange the attack, but drove her to the scene of the crime and watched her plead for her life before being shot in the head. The murder took place at the side of a highway near their home in Komoka, a small town outside London, Ontario The couple and their 14-year-old nephew, Roy, stopped to help the occupants of a car that appeared to have broken down. They were immediately ambushed. When a gunman pulled Hanna out of the car, the long-suffering wife of Helmuth BUXBAUM looked at him and said: "Please honey, no, not this way." She was 48.
"It was a big deal at the time; it was a huge story," said Heather BIRD, who covered the trial for the Toronto Star and wrote a book about the case, Conspiracy to Murder: The Helmuth Buxbaum Trail. "It was also a really, really sad story and a very seedy story."
Prominent Baptist
The tawdry details that came out in Mr. BUXBAUM's trial were in stark contrast to his reputation: Successful businessman, prominent Baptist, devoted family man. He and his wife had built a business operating nursing homes that had made them millionaires, while also raising six children, one of whom was an adopted daughter from Costa Rica. "He was well-known in the community," recalled Greg CALCOTT, the investigating officer in the case who recently retired from the Ontario Provincial Police. "He was wealthy and an absolute pillar in the church."
For her part, Mrs. BUXBAUM was known for her extensive charity work. "She was legitimately loved and respected in the community as being the exemplar Christian woman," Mr. CALCOTT said. "She used to stop street people and buy them clothing.
"That, in contrast to his hypocrisy, brought a lot of interest" to the case, he added.
The case may have been irresistible, with its sex, drugs, money and religion, but Mr. BUXBAUM wasn't. The man who was repeatedly unfaithful to his wife almost from the start of their marriage was anything but charming.
"There was nothing charismatic about Mr. BUXBAUM that I saw," Ms. BIRD said.
Mr. CALCOTT agreed. "He came across as arrogant, but he also came across as very childlike - and I don't mean that in terms of innocence. [He had] a kind of naive understanding of what was happening."
That led to his being taken advantage of by the drug dealers and prostitutes with whom he associated. "He liked the idea of being a big-time operator," Mr. CALCOTT said. "I know that Robert BARRETT [who was convicted of conspiring to kill Mrs. BUXBAUM after testifying he hired the killers] used to get him $1,000 of cocaine and Mr. BUXBAUM would pay him cash. BARRETT would get the cocaine and keep three-quarters of it and give the rest to Helmuth, saying that's what $1,000 of cocaine would look like. Of course, he had nothing to compare it to, so he took it on faith.
"I think that everyone in that group who was dealing with him was ripping him off one way or another," Mr. CALCOTT said.
In 1982, after suffering a stroke, Mr. BUXBAUM's behaviour spun out of control.
By the end of the trial, the entire country knew all the sordid details - that he had sexual relations with more than 100 prostitutes (sometimes two or three at a time), that he wanted to have sex with young girls and boys, and that he was a regular user of cocaine which he injected into his ankle and even his penis. The court heard, too, that he disparaged his wife to the prostitutes.
"Even though he did have all that money, there was nothing glamorous about him or his story," Ms. BIRD said.
Helmuth BUXBAUM grew up in Germany as the youngest in a family of 10 children. At his trial, he recounted how his family spent some time in refugee camps; when he came to Canada at 19, he arrived with no money and only one pair of shoes.
He went to work and studied, part-time, for his Grade 13 diploma. In 1960, he met Hanna SCHMIDT, after being introduced by his parents. They had a lot in common, especially their Baptist faith and hard childhoods. Hanna, who was born in Poland, stopped her formal education at 8, when she was sent to a Russian concentration camp with her mother and brother. She was to spend five years in camps, before being released and eventually reaching West Germany, and later Canada. When Helmuth met her, she had already spent seven years working at a meat-packing plant in Kitchener, Ontario
They married in June, 1961, with dreams of becoming medical missionaries. Two years later their son Paul was born, and not long after that Mr. BUXBAUM finished his diploma and decided it was time to go to medical school. The family moved to London, where he enrolled at the University of Western Ontario as a pre-med student. By Christmas he had dropped out of the program, saying it was too difficult. Instead, he pursued a bachelor of science degree, which he received in 1967.
All that time he was supported by Hanna, who scrimped and saved and managed to purchase a house, then a three-suite apartment building and a farm. Eventually, the couple went into the nursing-home business, where they made their millions.
They raised six children, with Mrs. BUXBAUM fighting to keep the family together despite her husband's repeated romantic dalliances. In June, 1984, he packed his bags but she persuaded him to stay. A month later, on July 5, 1984, she was shot by the side of the road.
A little more than two weeks later, on July 23, the police charged Mr. BUXBAUM with murder.
Children Devastated
The shooting devastated his children. The older ones appeared frequently at his trial, but weren't in court to hear the guilty verdict. Their family friend and pastor, Rev. Douglas DAKIN, who was looking after the children during the trial, said at the time that the children "didn't know what to say" about the verdict. "They didn't know what to do if he got out, and they didn't know what to do if he stays in." Reached this week at his home in Komoka, Mr. DAKIN refused comment on both his and the children's behalf. "They all decided not to say anything."
After Mr. BUXBAUM's conviction on February 13, 1986, the case became even more provocative. During the trial, he had not allowed his first lawyer, Edward GREENSPAN, to play up the fact that he had suffered a stroke and how it had affected his ability to reason. Later, he hired another legal heavyweight, Clayton RUBY, who persuaded him to base his appeal on it. Mr. RUBY argued that Mr. BUXBAUM's stroke had rendered him mentally disabled, and that he was insane when the murder occurred. The proof? Mr. BUXBAUM's refusal to allow an insanity defence to show that he was, in fact, insane. The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the case, which effectively ended Mr. BUXBAUM's appeal options. Requests to various justice ministers to review the conviction were denied.
Back In Court
There were other legal battles, too: He took on Mr. GREENSPAN to get back some of the $1-million-plus he had paid in legal fees (which his lawyer James CARTHY suggested were the highest ever in Canada.) Mr. BUXBAUM lost.
He was sued by his brother for involving his nephew in the shooting scheme - and for the teen's "severe and traumatic mental and emotional upset and nervous shock" after witnessing his aunt's murder. The nephew won $400,000, which was reduced by $65,000 upon appeal.
Mr. BUXBAUM also fought for control of his wife's $2.8-million estate, objecting to his children's plan to invest the money in Florida real estate.
In the early 1990s, he gave a number of interviews from prison. He complained he had not had a fair trial. He was pursuing yet another attempt to get a justice minister to review his case. He believed he should be the subject of a royal commission.
At Kingston Penitentiary, his prison job was to wash convicts' underwear; when he moved to the medium-security Warkworth Institution, he learned to use a computer and tutored illiterate prisoners. He married again while in prison, but the marriage didn't last.
Not a lot was heard from Mr. BUXBAUM until 1993, when papers around the country ran a story about a personal ad in placed in the Kingston Whig-Standard newspaper. The man who arranged a hit on his wife, watched her get shot in the head, and shattered his family of six kids in the process, was seeking a new companion. Describing himself as "a Christian, generous, caring, loving man," he was seeking someone who was pregnant or had a baby recently but had no man in her life. He was willing to be "a supporting father for your child and a husband-father for yourself."
It's not known whether there were any takers.
Helmuth BUXBAUM was born on March 19, 1939 in East Prussia, Germany. He died of undisclosed causes on November 1, 2007, at Kingston Penitentiary regional hospital, in Kingston, after being transferred there from Warkworth Institution, near Peterborough, Ontario He was 68. He leaves six children, sons Paul, Mark, Phillip and Daniel, and daughters Esther and Ruth.

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RASBERRY o@ca.on.grey_county.owen_sound.the_sun_times 2007-09-24 published
ROBINSON, Ivan Calvin
Peacefully at his home in Owen Sound on Friday, September 21, 2007, Ivan ROBINSON at the age of 72 years. Beloved husband of June for fifty years. Loved father of David, and Nancy and son-in-law David TAILOR/TAYLOR. Loved grandfather of Amanda, Carleigh, Steven, and Michael. Dear brother of Doreen PAYNE, June RASBERRY, and brother-in-law Jack RASBERRY. Predeceased by his parents, Frank and Elsie ROBINSON and brother-in-law Elmer. Son-in-law of Patricia WILLIS. Brother-in-law of Carolyn and George JANKO, and Jackie and Paul VINCENT. Survived by several nieces and nephews. Visitation will be held at the Kitching, Steepe and Ludwig Funeral Home, 146 Mill Street North, Waterdown on Tuesday evening from 7-9 p.m. Funeral Service will be held at Grace Anglican Church, 157 Mill Street North, Waterdown on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at 11 a.m. Interment to follow in the Churchyard cemetery. Thank you to Dr. Jill RICE and Doctor Jeff BARRETT for their wonderful care. Also thank you to the Oncology Clinic of Owen Sound Hospital, the staff of the Wiarton Hospital, the Victorian Order of Nurses, and to all the personal caregivers of the Community Care Access Centre If so desired, donations to the G.B.R.H.C. or the Victorian Order of Nurses Grey-Bruce would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy. Please sign the Book of Condolence at “God has called for you and we know you are resting peacefully. You will live in our hearts forever.&rdquo

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RASCHKE o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-08-15 published
RASCHKE, Frances " Franziska" (née PINETZ)
Passed away peacefully at Sunnybrook Hospital on Monday, August 13, 2007 in her 76th year. Loving wife of John (Hans) for over 50 years, devoted mother of Margaret DAVIE (Jeffrey) and Diana MAGGISANO (Frank.) Proud grandmother of Thomas and William. Retired employee of the Toronto-Dominion Bank with 38 years service. Frances will be sadly missed by her many Friends in the Canadian Austrian Society as well as her Friends and neighbours in Toronto and on Six Mile Lake. The family wishes to express their deepest thanks to the staff at Sunnybrook Hospital for their help and support during this difficult time. Frances was a joyous spirit who enjoyed spending time with Friends and family with songs and a good glass of wine. She was always happy to lend a helping hand and to volunteer for many good causes. Her laughter will be greatly missed by every life she touched. Friends are invited to visit at the Ward Funeral Home, 2035 Weston Road (north of Lawrence Avenue) Weston on Saturday from 6-9 p.m.. and on Sunday from 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday at 10 a.m. at All Saints Church, 1415 Royal York Road. Private interment. A reception to follow at Weston Golf and Country Club. Those wishing to honour Frances' memory may do so by making a donation to Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation. Condolences may be sent to

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