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"KOW" 2008 Obituary


KOWAL 2008-03-04 published
WILKINS, James Roy
At Lambton Meadowview Villa, on Saturday, March 1, 2008. James Roy WILKINS, 87 years, of Petrolia. Devoted husband of Irene after 67 years of marriage. Dear father of Bob WILKINS and his wife Louise of Edmonton, Eileen WALZ and her husband Robert of Mississauga, Janet KOWAL and her husband David of Calgary, Brian WILKINS and his wife Susan of Bright's Grove and a special friend Margarethe WILKINS of Sarnia. Dear Grampa to Reid WILKINS of Edmonton, Brianne WILKINS and fiance Chris BESTER of Ajax, Lindsay WILKINS of Sarnia, Aaron WALZ of Ottawa, Michael WALZ of Mississauga and John KOWAL of Calgary. Also survived by a sister Shirley McCART of Ingersoll, a brother, David WILKINS of Quebec, as well as many nieces and nephews. Jim served his country during World War 2 with the Royal Canadian Air Force and was a Dow Chemical retiree with nearly 30 years of service. A private funeral service will be held at the Needham-Jay Funeral Home, Petrolia (519-882-0100) with Rev. Nancy ADAM/ADAMS of Christ Anglican Church officiating. Interment in Resurrection Cemetery, Sarnia. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made by cheque to the Christ Church Bellringers or the Alzheimer Society of Sarnia-Lambton. Memories and condolences may be sent on line at

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KOWALCZYKE o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-06-14 published
Canada's dean of glaciology warned of coming climate change
Geological Survey of Canada expert studied ancient ice cores and set the stage for the current focus on global warming. In 1969, he was part of a team that reached the North Pole on foot
By Ron CSILLAG, Special to The Globe and Mail, Page S12
Toronto -- Glaciers spoke to Roy KOERNER the way trees and rocks speak to a shaman. Considered the dean of glaciology in Canada and widely known as Fritz, Doctor KOERNER likened the giant chunks of ice to a museum. He considered them "the proverbial canary in the coal mine, an early warning to the rest of the world of the consequences that climate change is bringing," wrote Ed Struzik, last year's Atkinson Fellow, in a harrowing newspaper series on global warming.
For hidden in the layers of ice "is a record of every atmospheric event of the past - summer melts, acid snow, cooling trends, volcanic activity, industrial pollutants, even bomb testings.
"The deeper down you go, the farther you go back in time," Mr. Struzik said, describing Doctor KOERNER's regard for the treasure trove of data in glaciers. "The more sophisticated the technology you use to interpret the cores, the more detailed the information you retrieve."
Dr. KOERNER's study of layers in ice cores to reconstruct climate history of the last 11 millennia set the stage for the current focus on climate change. And as an old-school explorer of both polar ice caps, he was among just a handful of adventurers to be awarded the Polar Medal with both Arctic and Antarctic clasps.
He was perhaps best known for one of the most audacious expeditions of all time, showing the world that the intrepid explorers of yore still existed, by crossing the icebound Arctic Ocean on dog sled from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Vesle Tavleoya, a small rocky island off the north coast of Svalbard in Norway.
He and three fellow British explorers - including the renowned Sir Wally Herbert, who died a year ago - left with four dog teams on February 21, 1968, arrived at the North Pole on April 5 the next year (where they celebrated with tinned beef stew), and finished on May 30, 1969. In all, they trekked 5,800 kilometres, aided by periodic supply drops from Canadian Forces aircraft.
They endured marauding polar bears, man-eating crevasses, five months of total darkness, and temperatures plunging to -50, a feat that has never been repeated. The achievement was hailed by British prime minister Harold Wilson as a "feat of endurance and courage which ranks with any in polar history." Prince Phillip, the group's patron, called it "among the greatest triumphs of human skill and endurance."
Not only did Doctor KOERNER and his team become the first people ever to make the Arctic traversal, they may have been the first humans to reach the North Pole by foot (where they also conducted the first surface survey of the ice).
"Were they really the first to reach the [North] Pole?" wondered the Ottawa Citizen. "Probably. U.S. Navy explorer Robert Peary had made the same claim 60 years earlier, but later examinations of his diary and other evidence has led researchers to suspect he was never closer to the Pole than eight kilometres and probably much further."
A self-effacing, irreverent man with an indomitable spirit and seemingly indestructible runner's body, Doctor KOERNER sounded concerns about shrinking glaciers and a warming Arctic long before the current preoccupation with climate change.
By studying oxygen isotopes and the thickness of summer melt layers, he and his fellow scientists demonstrated three decades ago that while the warmest summers occurred 10,000 years ago and the coldest only 150 years ago, the summers over the past century have been the warmest in the past 1,000 years.
However, "he wasn't an alarmist," noted Geoff Green, founder of Students on Ice, an award-winning organization based in Gatineau, Quebec, that takes teenagers on learning expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic.
"He said, 'here's my data from 40 years and here's the trend,' recalled Mr. Green, who accompanied Doctor KOERNER on 10 expeditions to both poles." He let others use that as a baseline for a lot of the understanding of how our climate is changing. He didn't have an agenda. He was a scientist - a giant in his field. He was one of the greatest polar explorers of our time."
Possessed of an arid English wit, Doctor KOERNER described himself as a "relic" of the British Empire. The youngest of three sons born to a housewife and a dock worker in the busy British naval port of Portsmouth, he studied geography at the University of Sheffield, where he graduated in 1954. He taught briefly, but a wanderlust he developed as a young fan of exotic travel prompted him to set sail in 1957 for Hope Bay, Antarctica, as a meteorologist with the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey, now the British Antarctic Survey.
"It was a dog-sledding base," he would recall, "and we travelled up and down the peninsula and, of course, you are surrounded by glaciers, so naturally I got very interested."
He spent the next 2½ years as senior meteorologist and glaciologist near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. For his work there, he received the Polar Medal from the Queen.
In 1961, already known as a top glaciologist, he joined an expedition to Devon Island in the Northwest Territories, where he spent two years studying the ice cap. His work earned him a doctorate from the London School of Economics, and laid the foundation for his later research elsewhere in the Canadian Arctic.
As part of an annual Arctic ritual, Doctor KOERNER returned to Devon Island about a year ago, looked out over Jones Sound, which separates Devon from Ellesmere Island, and noticed that it was ice-free. "I began my career in glaciology on Devon," he rued to Mr. Struzik. "I never thought I'd ever see that part of the Arctic Ocean open so early in the year."
In 1963, he joined the geography department of Ohio State University's Institute of Polar Studies as a research associate, where he concentrated on glaciers, but also on analysis of snow stratigraphy, or layering. For that work, he later received the United States Antarctic Service Medal.
Following his epic trans-Arctic crossing, for which he received the second clasp to his Polar Medal, Doctor KOERNER joined the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources in Ottawa as a research scientist and head of the Ice Core Laboratory. According to his son Justin, he chose to settle in Canada partly because the government had acquired the equipment needed for deep drilling of ice cores.
With it, he could bore down 300 metres to the 100,000-year-old bedrock under the Agassiz ice cap on Ellesmere Island. Those results, which showed that summers were indeed getting warmer, were in general agreement with results from similar work in Greenland, where glaciers were melting twice as fast as previously believed.
Dr. KOERNER was also part of the department's Polar Continental Shelf Project, which studied the mass balance of Arctic glaciers and past climate through ice-core analysis, but also helped define exactly where the polar continental shelf was in an effort to establish Canada's sovereignty claims in the High Arctic.
He studied the ice caps on four islands: Devon, Meighen, Ellesmere and Melville Island, thus spanning all the climate regions of the Canadian Arctic. As his long-time friend and colleague David Fisher wrote in the London Times a few days ago, "his approach to polar science was direct, critical and focused on the essentials."
During his time in Ottawa, Doctor KOERNER taught geography at Carleton University. Over the course of his career, he published more than 70 scientific papers and book chapters, mainly in the field of glaciology. He was also active in the early stirrings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which, along with Al Gore, was awarded last year's Nobel Peace Prize.
He took his work seriously but not himself. On field trips with Students on Ice, "he was the king of irreverence," Mr. Green recalled. "The kids absolutely adored him. He had a way of educating and inspiring and entertaining that was quite unique. He was the only guy I knew who could make a graph hilarious."
In 1979, Doctor KOERNER was named head of the Geological Survey of Canada's glaciology group, where he continued to work until his formal retirement in 1999. Until this year, he was the Canadian representative to the International Arctic Science Committee.
His final research interest was on reductions in acid snow due to our declining use of sulphates, a result that he identified as part of the global warming equation, according to Natural Resources Canada.
But no matter how reserved he was, he could not hide his concern over climate trends. "When you add up all of these unusual things we've been seeing in the Arctic over the past few years," he said last year, "you really realize just how warm things are getting up there."
Down below, too. In his early days in Antarctica, he was honoured for his work with the naming of his own topographical feature - Koerner Rock, a 600-metre-high stone mountain near Hope Bay. Over the years, the glacial ice has since melted to the extent that there are now three Koerner Rocks.
Mr. Green wants to see a glacier named after Doctor KOERNER in the Canadian Arctic, and plans to keep alive a project of Doctor KOERNER's that Ottawa approved just recently, in which two Inuit youth from Grise Fiord, Nunavut, Canada's most northern settlement, will be taken on a trip to Antarctica this December to do some ice coring.
Roy Martindale (Fritz) KOERNER was born in Portsmouth, England, on July 6, 1932, and died in Ottawa on May 26, 2008, after cutting short his last Arctic trip due to colon cancer. He was 75. His wife, Anna (née KOWALCZYKE) died in 1989. He leaves his children Eva, Davina, Kristina and Justin.

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KOWALESKI 2008-03-29 published
CABAK, Frank John
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Frank John CABAK in his 87th year. He died peacefully, with his family by his side at Parkwood Hospital, Complex Care on Friday, March 28, 2008. Frank has gone to join his beloved wife of sixty years, Blanche VAN PRAET (2004.) Leaving to mourn are his cherished son, Donald and his wife Nancy RAYE. Loving brother of Ed and Jeanette SALTARSKI and Joseph SALTARSKI (Gladys) all of London, Ontario. Predeceased by his sister, Stella KOWALESKI and brothers Albert (Helen) and John (Helen) CABAK. Frank will be sadly missed by his brother-in-law Camiel VAN PRAET and his wife Mariea of Sarasota, Florida, and his sister-in-law Frankaileen SCULLY of Wallaceburg, Ontario. Step grandfather of Lisa DUBE (Matthew) and Curtis MORRIS, and step great-grandfather of five. Frank leaves many happy and fond memories with his many nieces and nephews. Our family would like to extend sincere thanks to the many caregivers and Friends who performed many acts of kindness for our father during the last few years. And so, Dad's chapter in the book of life has come to an end. His was a life well lived, full of hard work, hard play and many many sports. His wisdom, counsel, and balance will be sadly missed by all who touched his life. As is the case of a child and his father it is impossible to remember a time when he was not there and that will make his absence even more pronounced. He advised, supported, provided for and yes on occasion corrected me. His commitment to his family was total, unreserved and it never wavered. Friends and family will be received at John T. Donohue Funeral Home, on Sunday evening from 6-9 o'clock. Funeral Mass will be held at Saint Martin of Tours Church, 46 Cathcart Street at Duchess, on Monday afternoon at 1 o'clock. Interment in Saint Peter's Cemetery. Prayers Sunday evening at 6 o'clock. As an expression of sympathy, donations to the ALS Society, the Canadian Cancer Society or the charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family.

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KOWALEWSKI o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-07-19 published
MILLER, Lois Mary (née TOMKINS)
(August 29, 1916-July 12, 2008)
Lovingly and tenderly supported by family and caregivers at Toronto Western Hospital, Lois passed away peacefully to her heavenly journey on Saturday July 12th in her 92nd year. She was the treasured sweetheart of the late S. Dickson MILLER and a loving partner of the late Doug STEVENS; cherished mother of Catherine MILLER (Cliff KACHALUBA,) Marnie (John KOWALEWSKI,) Bruce (Ginny,) and Peter (Celeste); devoted Nana to Camille, Andrew, Scott, Stephanie (Paul), James, Kristen (Andre), Alicia (John) and Stephen; great-grandmother to Kaiya.
Lois's life was defined by her love of family, Friends and faith in God. She will be remembered for many things: devoted to her parents, notable Lisgar (Ottawa) graduate, Queen's graduate (Arts '39) and one of Queen's first two female cheerleaders, a loving mother, grandmother and wife, an activist through her volunteer and professional work, and a woman always progressive in her thinking: a woman of grace and quiet strength.
In recent days confronted with failing health she continued to be independent, thoughtful and loving to family and her support team. She maintained her amazing sense of humour and even while facing her final days she possessed the strength and faith to graciously accept God's master plan for her.
Lois's example of living with integrity, wisdom and love continues to inspire and guide us.
As she wished, a private family service has been held and a Memorial Service to celebrate her life will be held Monday August 25th, 1 p.m. at the Morley Bedford Funeral Home, 159 Eglinton Ave. West, Toronto (2 lights west of Yonge St.). Her family will be present to welcome you during the hour before the service and the reception following.
In lieu of flowers in Lois's memory you may consider contributions to a charity of your choice or to one of her favorites: Big Sisters of Ontario, Richmond Hill or Forest Hill United Church, Queens University or Young Women's Christian Association National Office.

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KOWALIK o@ca.on.grey_county.owen_sound.the_sun_times 2008-05-20 published
DESCHAMPS, Leo Alexander
At Grey-Bruce Health Services in Southampton, on Saturday, May 17th, 2008, at the age of 76 years, Leo DESCHAMPS of Port Elgin. Beloved husband of the former Patricia MOORE. Father of Leo and Shelley of British Columbia, Timothy of Southampton, Dennis of Paisley, Sandra and Ray of Cambridge, Janice and her husband Dave COOK of Paisley, and Heather SEAHAVER of Port Elgin, Grandpa to Alacea, Ami, Kristopher, Jessica, Melissa, Caitlyn, Kurtis, Toni, Kyle, Jaymie, Samantha and Catherine, Great-grandpa of Maya, Luke H., Sarah and Luke. Brother of Joan and her husband Chuck SCHOOLEY of Crystal Beach, Shirley and her husband Mike KOWALIK of Guelph, Thelma and her husband Walter CROZIER of Fort Erie, Ronnie of Crystal Beach, Denzil and his wife Sally of Port Colborne, Barb and her husband Ellis STOUGHTON of Crystal Beach, Bernie and his friend Sharon BAUNTROG of Cambridge, Rene and his wife Pauline of Caledonia, Linda LEGAULT and her partner Roger BARTHE of Niagara Falls, and Michael and his partner Joanne GIBBS of Hamilton. Surviving also is one sister-in-law Rita DESCHAMPS of Buffalo, New York. Predeceased by his parents Leandre and Sarah (Sadie) DESCHAMPS, and by his brothers Desi and Wilmer. Friends may call at the W. Kent Milroy Port Elgin Chapel, 510 Mill Street, Port Elgin (Town of Saugeen Shores) from 2: 00 to 4:00 and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21st, 2008. Funeral mass will be celebrated in Saint_Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Port Elgin on Thursday at 11: 00 a.m. with Father Peter MEYER officiating. Interment Sanctuary Park Cemetery. Memorial contributions to the Alzheimer Society or the Ontario Heart and Stroke Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy. Portrait and memorial online at

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KOWALINSKI 2008-06-29 published
GILL, Doctor James " Jim"
Peacefully at Woodingford Lodge, Woodstock on Friday, June 27, 2008, Doctor James (Jim) GILL, formerly of Ingersoll, in his 88th year. Beloved husband of Nola, and dearly loved father of Don and his wife Cathy of Kinnelon, New Jersey, Kathy SMIT of Ingersoll, and Barbara KOWALINSKI and her husband Doug of Beeton. Dear grandpa of Bryan and Carolyn GILL, Adam and Brandon SMIT and Eric and Michael KOWALINSKI. Predeceased by his brother William Edward (Ted.) Dear brother-in-law of Ray and Ivan PERKINS. Jim was a veterinarian in the Ingersoll community for 50 years. His work was a labour of love. He was a proud alumnus of the University of Guelph, and a member of Saint Paul's Presbyterian Church and the Kiwanis Club of Ingersoll. Cremation has taken place. Visitation will be held at the McBeath-Dynes Funeral Home, 246 Thames St. S., Ingersoll on Wednesday, July 2nd from 7-9 p.m. Memorial Service will be held at Saint Paul's Presbyterian Church, 56 Thames St. S., Ingersoll on Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 2: 00 p.m. with Rev. Dr. Lonnie ATKINSON officiating. Those who wish may make memorial donations to the Alzheimer's Society or Saint Paul's Presbyterian Church, Ingersoll. The family would like to thank Doctor Carter and the staff of Woodingford Lodge for their kind care of their father over the past few years, as well as those family and Friends for their faithful visits.

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KOWALSKI 2008-05-28 published
DONALDSON, Sophia "Vi"
Surrounded by family on Sunday, May 25, 2008 at the age of 86. Beloved wife of the late James (1999). Loving mother of Gregory "Harry" of Calgary, Peter and his wife Pauline, Margo (SALTS,) Alan, and Shawn (METCALF) and her husband Ian MacDONALD all of Sarnia. Proud grandmother of Corry SALTS and Jessica (SALTS) Odrcich (Peter), Carrie (Garreth BALFE) and Greg DONALDSON, Wesley (Janet JACKSON,) Joseph and Laura METCALF. Dearest sister of Rose KRUPPER, Sister Josephine KOWALSKI, Ann (George) LEHTO, and Roman KOWALSKI. Also survived by many nieces and nephews. Predeceased by sons James and Bruce and brothers Joseph, Michael and Peter KOWALSKI. A lover of music, Vi played trumpet in an all girls traveling orchestra in the 1930s and 1940s. Vi was a longtime member of Sacred Heart Catholic Women's League and volunteered with Sarnia's Meals on Wheels for many years. She will be sadly missed by her favourite cat, Gus. Vi was passionate about gardening and a talented quilter and will be most remembered as a gifted baker and pastry maker. Visitation will be held at the McKenzie and Blundy Funeral Home and Cremation Centre, 431 N. Christina Street, Sarnia (519-244-3131), on Thursday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. where prayers will be offered at 8: 30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Fr. Len DESJARDINS at Sacred Heart Church at 11: 30 a.m. on Friday, May 30, 2008. Cremation to follow with private family interment at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery at a later date. As an expression of sympathy, Friends who wish may send memorial donations to the Canadian Cancer Society, 714 Lite Street, Sarnia, N7V 1A6. Messages of condolence and memories may be left at A tree will be planted in memory of Vi DONALDSON in the McKenzie and Blundy Memorial Forest. Dedication service Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 2: 00 p.m. at the Wawanosh Wetlands Conservation Area.

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