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"BEE" 2003 Obituary


BEEMER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-04-29 published
Susan Florence BONSTEEL
By Julia SCHNEIDER Tuesday, April 29, 2003 - Page A18
Librarian, mother, grandmother, friend. Born May 25, 1917, in Simcoe, Ontario. Died February 6 in Stratford, Ontario, of cancer, aged 85.
I first met Sue BONSTEEL (née BEEMER) in my hometown of Stratford in the early 1980s. She was soon to retire as chief librarian at the local library and she encouraged me to apply for her job. Although I didn't get it, I did find a lifelong friend in this remarkable woman.
Sue was a mentor before mentoring became a common concept; she was also a role model for her times.
She exemplified how a civic-minded woman could be completely her own person, full of Charlotte Whitton wit; how a lover of adventure could fill the traditional role of minister's wife and mother of four children, and how someone full of compassion could totally eschew the sentimental. She seemed to regard her support for the arts, charities and environment more as common sense than duty (what would we do without them?) and her lifelong pursuit of learning came as naturally as breathing.
Sue went back to school when her children were growing up, completing her master's degree in library science at University of Western Ontario before going back to work. In many ways, librarianship with its promotion of literacy and literature, communication and contemplation -- was an ideal job for her. Both before and after she retired, Sue was a big draw at the library, whether talking about a new book discovery, a new place, or a promising author.
She was a local cultural resource, always on the intellectual move, creating conversation wherever she set down.
After she retired, Sue really went to work, continuing her omnivorous pursuits. She served on the Stratford City Council for a number of years, was a founding member of the Stratford Civic Beautification and Environmental Awareness Committee, and she also travelled extensively.
Although I did not see her often in recent years, her welcome was unfailing. "Where are you now?" she'd ask, and then she'd fill me in on her recent travels and where and how her children were. (Her husband, Richard, had died suddenly one evening while taking out the family dog.)
One did not have to explain to Sue the lure of far-off places. When young, she had thrilled to a posting with the World Council of Churches in New York City, but she really took off in later life. She travelled to China shortly after Tiananmen Square, sailed to many parts of the world on ecological adventures and, a blink after 9/11, set off for Egypt. "I'll have to die anyway," she said, "so why not on the Nile?" She also spent six months volunteering in Nepal, and came back amused at how her silver hair had become a hot topic of conversation for the dark-haired Nepalese.
Sue was the mistress of her emotions. The only time I saw her noticeably shocked was when we heard news of the death of actress Susan WRIGHT and her visiting parents in a Stratford house fire over Christmas in 1991.
The only time I remember her solidly disapproving of my actions was at the theatre one evening. The man next to me had draped his smelly stocking feet over the chair in front of me and I had a laughing fit; not, apparently, appropriate decorum for her guest at the theatre.
I wish Sue had been spared some of the things life sent her: a decade ago, the macular degeneration that left her unable to read. And then, a year ago, the cancer diagnosis that made some of her final days a torment.
Sue once said to me that each new day lived is an affirmation of life. That's what we have to think of now, until we can get beyond the sadness at Sue's absence from this world that was her vast and endlessly fascinating classroom.
Julia SCHNEIDER is a friend of Sue BONSTEEL.

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BEER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-10-06 published
August 3, 1946 - October 4, 2003. Died peacefully, at home, with her loving family, after a two year battle against ovarian cancer. She leaves her husband John and sons Andrew and Eric in Mansfield, Ontario, her sisters Jane BEER and Susan BOLAN, her mother Helen STEINBURGH and mother-in-law Georgina LOW/LOWE/LOUGH of Toronto, sister-in-law Kathy MONARDO and brothers-in-law Dr. Tom BEER, Justice Michael BOLAN and Richard and Peter LOW/LOWE/LOUGH. Memorial Service Thursday, October 9 at 11 a.m. at Saint John's United Church, Alliston. Cremation. Memorial bequests, if desired, to the U.N. Global Fund to fight A.I.D.S. in Africa at

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BEES o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-06 published
BEES, Pauline
of North York, Ontario. Died November 3rd, in her 79th year.
Pauline was possessed with a joy for living and a wonderful sense of humour. She courageously maintained this trait into her late-life struggle and subsequent death from cancer.
She has imparted her sense of optimism onto her surviving family, son George, daughter-in-law Chris, and grand_son Jaycen of Framingham, Massachusetts.; daughter Barbara, son-in-law Graham BALDWIN, and granddaughter Katie of Toronto; son Paul and grandchildren Anna and Jack of St. Paul, Minnesota.; and son mark of Boston, Massachusetts.
Originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Pauline moved to Canada with her husband Bob in 1958, making homes in Woodstock and Willowdale, Ontario. Pauline considered herself to be a true Canadian, relocating permanently from Cape Coral, Florida to Willowdale after her husband's untimely death in 1986.
Pauline found Toronto to be the perfect place to be close to her daughter Barbara and family. Its proximity to Woodstock gave her access to her old and dear Friends with whom she shared many fond and happy memories.
A natural caregiver, Pauline gave back to her community through her volunteer work at North York General Hospital. Pauline lived her life through, and for her children. She derived her most pleasurable moments in time spent with immediate family and Friends.
We will remember Pauline at her finest, with her kindness, wit, and unique perspective on the world around us, but most of all her ability to laugh and makeus laugh every day at life's little ironies and precious moments.
If desired in lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy can be made in her honour to either Bridgepoint Palliative Care or North York General Hospital Volunteer Association.
A celebration of her life will take place on Friday, November 7th at 1: 00 pm at the R.S. Kane Funeral Home (6150 Yonge Street, North York).

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