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"KEY" 2002 Obituary


KEYES o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.toronto_star 2002-12-24 published
Beloved philanthropist left a rich legacy
Irving ZUCKER cared passionately about the arts
Order of Canada among many honours in life
Paul MORSE Torstar News Service
Irving ZUCKER is best known as Hamilton's most celebrated patron of the arts and learning.
But he was so much more.
An Order of Canada recipient, a Canada Council for the Arts member, World War 2 veteran, founder of a radio station and a successful entrepreneur -- Mr. ZUCKER was a something of a Renaissance man.
The long-time philanthropist died as a result of heart surgery at Toronto General Hospital Sunday morning. He was 82.
"He was a great friend. We worked on a lot of projects together and he will be sorely missed," said Heritage Minister Sheila COPPS, Member of Parliament for Hamilton East. "He had a finger in a lot of pies."
Even in retirement, Mr. ZUCKER was active on the Canada Council and was a citizenship court judge.
"He really, really cared about his Hamilton community, and his (Jewish) faith was really important to him," COPPS said.
Bernard BASKIN, rabbi emeritus of Hamilton's Temple Anshe Sholom, gave the eulogy at Mr. ZUCKER's funeral yesterday at Adas Israel Synagogue, attended by more than 300 people. Those in attendance included COPPS, former Ontario lieutenant-governor Lincoln ALEXANDER, local politicians and members of the arts community.
Outlining the many accomplishments of his late friend, BASKIN said that for Mr. ZUCKER, wealth was an instrument to be used for improving the world, not a deity to be worshipped.
"He was an outstanding philanthropist," BASKIN said in an interview. "I don't know anyone else who measures up to the depth and variety of his giving."
He believes Mr. ZUCKER's giving nature was a product of his early life. "He came from a modest background. He became successful early in life. Perhaps he felt he had to give something back."
Across Hamilton, grieving community leaders remembered a man who left a lasting legacy on the city's artistic life.
Larissa CIUPKA, communications officer with the Art Gallery of Hamilton, said Mr. ZUCKER defied description.
"He was larger than life and yet very approachable, friendly, happy to see you."
As a philanthropist, she said, he led by example. "It's one thing to get up on a soapbox and talk about it, it's another thing to actually do it. He was a doer."
"I'm devastated," said Theatre Aquarius artistic director Max REIMER.
"He was one of the first people I met when I came here. He took me out and talked the theatre and the city as if it was his. It was pretty exciting to think there was somebody like that here."
Mr. ZUCKER, or Zeke to his Friends, was born in Hamilton in 1920 and grew up in the city's north end, where his father was a watchmaker. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War 2 and trained aircrew in bombing and gunnery.
He became interested in broadcasting after the war, and founded CHIQ radio and later CHAM in Hamilton. He eventually assembled a network of radio stations in Ontario and eastern Canada. He bought CKOC/K-Lite FM in Hamilton and CJBK in London, Ontario, in 1993 and sold them three years ago.
In addition to his broadcasting interests, Mr. ZUCKER was president of Standard Industries Ltd. and Public Service Lighting Inc., and a director of Income Life Insurance Co.
During the 1960s, Mr. ZUCKER began to acquire paintings and sculptures. By the 1980s, he was concentrating on his art collection.
"He was always interested in upcoming and established artists," said Linda MacRAE, owner of Westdale Gallery and a long-time friend.
"He was always very much interested in abstract art and so he always wanted to be made aware of any new artist who'd come to my gallery," she said.
"He was like a kid in a candy store, actually."
In 1988, Mr. ZUCKER provided the funds for the restoration of the Blair Bruce painting collection at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. He donated works of art valued at $2.5 million to the gallery in 1991 and his $500,000 donation was instrumental in allowing Theatre Aquarius to proceed with the construction of its new theatre building.
In 1994, he donated seven sculptures that had adorned his own garden to the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The pieces are located in the Irving Zucker Sculpture Court on Commonwealth Square adjacent to the gallery.
Louise DOMPIERRE, Art Gallery of Hamilton president, said she will meet with Mr. ZUCKER's close Friends in the new year to plan a fitting tribute for him on behalf of the gallery.
"We're shocked and sorry about his passing. He was a true friend of the arts and the art gallery," she said. "He was a very generous contributor, not only to the art gallery but to the theatre and to individuals in the community. He will be missed enormously.
"He's leaving a big void."
Throughout his business career, Mr. ZUCKER supported various Jewish charities, as well as the United Way and fundraising for the Hamilton Place Auditorium.
In 1967, he founded the Irving Zucker Foundation, financed from his business ventures. The foundation established scholarships at McMaster University and has funded the Zucker lecture series at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Business.
In 1999, he endowed McMaster's faculty of health sciences with the Albert Einstein-Irving Zucker Chair in Neuroscience.
"This was a major gift he'd wanted to make to the university, which he had so much respect for," said Dr. Sandra WITELSON, who was named to the chair.
Mr. ZUCKER's $1 million donation was matched by the university.
In 1995, Mr. ZUCKER was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction, which honours prominent citizens who have brought credit to the community.
The last time Hamilton Mayor Bob WADE saw Mr. ZUCKER was a couple of months ago. He simply wanted to remind the mayor he was available if help was needed.
"That's the kind of man he was. He wanted to be a part of anything where his contribution could be made," Wade said. "He'll be missed by the community. He has helped the city tremendously."
In 1983, he was appointed to the Economic Council of Canada for three years. Thirteen years later, Sheila COPPS appointed him to the board of the Canada Council for the Arts. He was reappointed in 1999 to serve another three years.
But Mr. ZUCKER was most proud of being named a member of the Order of Canada for his philanthropy by governor-general Romeo LEBLANC in 1997.
He was honoured in 1999 by the Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation for his leadership and commitment to area hospitals.
Mr. ZUCKER didn't limit his generosity to the arts community, said former Hamilton councillor Geraldine COPPS. When she needed his help for Lakeland Pool, he gave generously.
"It wasn't something particularly close to his heart, but if it was good for the community, Mr. ZUCKER would be there."
Stan KEYES, the federal Liberal caucus chair and Hamilton West Member of Parliament, called Mr. ZUCKER a leader and a good friend.
"There will be a void, a huge void, until someone steps up to the plate, but I don't know if anyone will be able to step up and fill the void that Irving has left."
Four years ago, Mr. ZUCKER received an honorary doctor of laws degree from McMaster University.
President Peter GEORGE called Mr. ZUCKER a good friend to the university. "He reached out into so many activities in this community and all of Canada."
Mr. ZUCKER leaves his children Martin, David and Susan ZUCKER- RAKOFF, brother Bernard ZUCKER, sister Faye LEIBTAG and close companion Irene HALE. He had been divorced from his first wife for many years.
Hamilton Spectator

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KEYS o@ca.on.manitoulin.howland.little_current.manitoulin_expositor 2002-11-13 published
Dwayne Alvin KEYS
In loving memory of Dwayne Alvin KEYS, August 17, 1958 to November 6, 2002, who passed away at McKellar Hospital in Thunder Bay at the age of 44 years.
Loved father of Jennifer and Christopher. Companion of Leslie. Will be forever missed by mother Sheila (née HALL) and step father Ernest BOBO. Predeceased by father Alvin KEYS in 1991. Dear brother of Kelly and husband John HICKS of Thunder Bay, Linda Milburn, Mary McLELLAN and Hazel all of Saskatoon. Special uncle to Matthew, Kirstin and Kaitlin HICKS. Visitation will be on Wednesday evening, November 13, 2002 and Funeral Service on Thursday (please call Island Funeral Home for details 368-2490) followed by burial in Hilly Grove Cemetery.

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KEYWORTH o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2002-12-31 published
Carried cans across Canada, selling shows to nascent local television stations
Carrying cans of film across the country, sometimes screening them in feed stores and warehouses, he brought American shows to Canadian homes. John A. MacDONALD, one of Canada's first television-show salesmen has died, aged 72.
Beginning his career in 1958 with Screen Gems, the television program sales arm of Columbia Pictures, Mr. MacDONALD sold shows such as Father Knows Best, Rin Tin Tin, and the Flintstones to buyers at fledgling television stations and helped them develop their programming.
"He was a mentor in those days when I knew very little," said Merv STONE, who spent 28 years as head of programming and acquisitions at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Television. As operations manager for CHAT-Television in Medicine Hat, Alta., until 1960, Mr. STONE was among Mr. MacDONALD's early clients.
After 23 years with Columbia Pictures Television, Mr. MacDONALD spent five years as vice-president and managing director of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television Canada, opening its Canadian office in Toronto when he joined the company in 1981.
Respected for his diligence, integrity and knowledge, Mr. MacDONALD belonged to a close-knit group of distributors who worked for competing companies.
"The extraordinary thing about this fraternity was that we admired each other, we were all Friends, and there was never any knifing in the back," said David McLAUGHLIN, once a distributor for Warner Bros. and later Mr. MacDONALD's boss and friend. "If a client said: 'I'm interested in such and such a show,' we never said: 'Oh, that's terrible. What you need is my show, because it's so much better.'"
The affable and articulate Mr. MacDONALD was also known for his sense of humour and for an ability to mimic. "Whenever we met, it was never a simple hello," Mr. McLAUGHIN said. "It was usually show-biz - showtime. We'd cut up and make gags and in three minutes, we were rolling around, laughing ourselves to pieces."
In fact, like many in the early days of television, Mr. MacDONALD did start out in show business.
Born in Brantford, Ontario, in 1930, he was the only child of Scottish immigrants, his father a ship plater. The family went without a telephone until Mr. MacDONALD was 6 and they belonged to a church that had no minister, organ or choir. Congregation members, including young John, sang a cappella--in harmony.
His father paid him a nickel for each book read and a penny for each word spelled and defined correctly. During his childhood, Mr. MacDONALD absorbed works by Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson. In 1941, the family moved to Victoria, so that Mr. MacDONALD's father could work in the shipyards. Mr. MacDONALD attended Esquimalt High School.
The school's strong arts program whetted his appetite for music and theatre. Mr. MacDONALD appeared in school plays, musicals and the school band. After graduation, he left home to pursue his love of the stage.
While working at a bank, Mr. MacDONALD sang and acted in productions by Victoria's Gilbert and Sullivan Society, then the world's largest, the Victoria Little Theatre and the summer Starlight Theatre at night. Guest actors from the summer theatre, Vancouver's Theatre Under the Stars, where Bruno GERUSSI and Robert GOULET spent part of their early careers, appeared in the Starlight productions. in turn, Starlight actors were invited to audition with Theatre Under the Stars.
Mr. MacDONALD, aspiring to perform full-time, joined Theatre Under the Stars in 1949 and appeared in five productions for each of the following five seasons, including the part of Sly Masterson in Guys and Dolls.
At Theatre Under the Stars in 1951, Mr. MacDONALD, met Sheilagh HENDERSON, a dancer from the Winnipeg Ballet who performed with the company to supplement her winter income. "The singers always liked to take out the dancers," she said. They married in 1953.
With little money, the newlywed Mr. MacDONALD often entertained himself and his wife by playing the piano, improving on his self-taught skill. He loved music, especially jazz and the big bands.
And he continued acting. With the Vancouver Little Theatre MacDONALD played the lead opposite film stars Peggy Ann GARNER and Mercedes McCAMBRIDGE and performed in early Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Vancouver television musicals between 1953 and 1956.
Finally needing a better day job he joined Screen Gems as its western sales representative in 1958, yet continued acting in his spare time. A move to Toronto in 1961 to become eastern sales supervisor left him no time to perform and in 1974, he was promoted to vice-president of sales and director of Columbia Pictures Television in Canada.
While on business trips, his piano-playing ability proved a good companion. Often lonely, he would ask to use the piano in hotel bars, and played requests for those who gathered, said his daughter Jeannie HEROLD.
Having a father who sold television shows didn't gain her any status with her schoolmates, though. Most thought her father repaired televisions. Still they perked up when he got her an autograph of Shirley JONES and David CASSIDY of The Partridge Family.
Despite rubbing shoulders with stars in Hollywood and Cannes, her father remained modest, she said. "He always said: 'They put their pants on one leg at a time. They're just the same as you and me.'"
Mr. MacDONALD loved old musicals and when with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, brought certain films home for family and Friends to view. Once during a poolside screening of the Battle of Britain at friend Alan KEYWORTH's house, a gust of wind blew the screen into the pool. "We got to know the neighbours rather quickly," KEYWORTH said.
A fan of television producer and director Seymour BERNS's stories, Mr. MacDONALD, who liked to talk - a lot - was fond of recounting them. Once in Hollywood, he began to tell a BERNS tale, forgetting that BERNS himself was in the room. As he went on with the anecdote, embellishing and enhancing it along the way, BERNS turned and said: "Shouldn't that story be over by now?."
But Mr. MacDONALD's theatrical bent never ended. He orchestrated the lighting for his wife's ballet-school shows and did son Glen's makeup for Halloween. And as well as being a director of the Broadcast Executives Society from 1972 to 1978 and its chairman in 1974 and 1975, he produced the organization's Christmas luncheon for many years, writing scripts and organizing entertainment.
After one successful event, the crowd of 1,000 in the Sheraton Hotel in Toronto rose to give Mr. MacDONALD, busy directing activities from the control room, a standing ovation. Mr. McLAUGHIN hurled a roll at Mr. MacDONALD, who was behind the control room's glass. Many followed suit and Mr. MacDONALD joined in the fun, ducking to avoid the "hits."
Mr. MacDONALD also helped set up the Ruth Hancock Scholarship for students pursuing a career in broadcasting and revamped the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' award ceremony. He retired in 1987.
As for his very Canadian name: "He always said he was working on the sir," Sheilagh MacDONALD said. Mr. MacDONALD leaves his wife of 49 years, Sheilagh, son Glen, daughter Jeannie HEROLD and six grandchildren.
John A. MacDONALD, actor, salesman; born in Brantford, Ontario, March 25, 1930; died in Markham, Ontario, on November 23, 2002.
Special to The Globe and Mail

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