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"EIS" 2003 Obituary


EISEN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-11 published
GELBER, Sylva Malka, OC, LL.D.
93 years old, Sylva Malka GELBER, whose years of activism in pre-Israel Palestine eventually propelled her to be the first director of the Canadian Department of Labour's Women's Bureau, died on December 9th, 2003, of complications from a stroke. She was 93 and lived in Ottawa.
During the heady years of pioneering in gains for women's rights and Medicare in Canada during the 1960s and 70s, she travelled the country, never shrill and always reasoned in her campaign for equality for women in the country's labour force. She took this pragmatic approach to the United Nations where she represented Canada on the United Nations Commission for the Status of Women between 1970 - 74.
A social and industrial activist at heart, she never lost her zest for a good argument on those issues which had been part of her adult life since she left her comfortable Toronto home in the early 1930s for the turmoil of Jerusalem and Palestine. There she became the first graduate of the Va'ad Leumi School of Social Work - now the Faculty of Social Work of the Hebrew University - and took on jobs incongruous with her upbringing which had included schooling at Havergal College, a private girl's school.
She worked in Palestine during the Mandate as a family counsellor, a probation officer and medical social worker at Hadassah Hospital, and then with the Palestine Department of Labour from 1942 - 48 when she returned to Canada. The adventuresome 15 years Sylva GELBER lived in the turmoil of Palestine are chronicled with affection, awe and frankness in ''No Balm in Gilead: A Personal Retrospective of Mandate Days in Palestine'' published in 1989. By the time she moved back to Canada, she could switch effortlessly among Hebrew and Arabic and English which impressed no one in bureaucratic Ottawa, but did startle the Capital's stuffy side, she often noted mischievously.
Her deep red lipstick and nail polish when paired with her fast sports cars belied the image of the traditional Ottawa civil servant she could never be, despite distinguished and proud accomplishments in promoting federal health insurance and Medicare until they became the law of the land.
Along the way, she accepted many appointments to serve Canada at International Labour Organization conferences, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations General Assembly. She was a member of the Order of Canada and was awarded honorary degrees from several universities including Queen's, Memorial, Trent, Guelph and Mount St. Vincent.
Sylva Malka GELBER was born in 1910 in Toronto to Sara (MORRIS) and Louis GELBER. Her father, a survivor of pogroms in Eastern Europe, was determined that her four brothers, all of whom attended Upper Canada College, and she, all receive worldly educations beyond their specific Jewish community. She always admired her father for this farsightedness in encouraging his children to become part of a broader society.
At the University of Toronto, she produced plays. She sang spirituals on a Toronto radio station, but her parents would have none of a show business career. She was packed off to Columbia University in New York; but even that did not satisfy her rambunctious spirit and soon she was on her way to distant Palestine.
Never domesticated as women of her day usually were, she paid little attention to her kitchen pantry when she finally settled in Ottawa; but always gregarious, she loved to entertain around the piano which she played by ear and with great gusto. Her library of records and Compact Disks, was always in use as music filled her life; and she has endowed an important annual prize through The Sylva Gelber Music Foundation, which is granted to an outstanding young Canadian musician at the early stage of his or her career.
In retirement, she energetically participated in the Canadian Institute of International Affairs and the Wednesday Luncheon Club of former cabinet ministers and civil servants, such as her neighbour, Jack PICKERSGILL, who thrashed over current political issues.
Sylva GELBER was predeceased by her four brothers, Lionel, Marvin, Arthur and Shalome Michael. She is survived by her four nieces and their husbands, Nance GELBER and Dan BJARNASON, Patty and David RUBIN, Judith GELBER and Dan PRESLEY, and Sara and Richard CHARNEY, all of Toronto; her sister-in-law, Marianne GELBER of New York; four great nephews and a great niece, Gerald and Noah RUBIN, and Adam, Andrew and Laura CHARNEY; as well as cousins Ruth JEWEL and David EISEN; David ALEXANDOR, and Ruth GELBER all of Toronto; and Ivan CHORNEY and Betsy RIGAL, both of Ottawa. At Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel, 2401 Steeles Avenue West (1 light west of Dufferin) for service on Thursday, December 11, 2003 at 12: 00 noon. Interment Beth Tzedec Memorial Park.

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EISENHOWER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-03-05 published
Politician, chef, farmer cooked for presidents
He first came to Canada after the Second World War at the invitation of the Dutch ambassador
By Randy RAY Special to The Globe and Mail Wednesday, March 5, 2003 - Page R9
Ottawa -- Anton WYTENBURG was a proficient chef who had little time to prepare meals for his wife and 10 children because he was often too busy cooking for others, including presidents and other dignitaries.
"He was never a chef at home, because he was always working in a hotel somewhere or at the bakery, " says his son Rudy of Ottawa, who says his father's specialties were Dutch pastries and cakes.
At one point, Mr. WYTENBURG was a cook at the venerable Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, where he helped prepare meals for U.S. presidents Dwight EISENHOWER and Harry TRUMAN, and president-to-be John F. KENNEDY. In 1945, he worked as a chef for General Henry CRERAR at a Canadian Officers' Club in Holland.
Mr. WYTENBURG, a native of Delft, the Netherlands, died in Ottawa on January 30. He was 83.
The son of a Dutch tailor, Mr. WYTENBURG completed Grade 8 in Delft and landed a job at a bakery. Later, he moved to Scheveningen to work as a sous chef in an oceanside hotel.
While working there, he learned to speak German, French and English and, during the Second World War, used his language skills as part of the Dutch resistance in its fight against the invading Germans.
Later, while working for Gen. CRERAR, Mr. WYTENBURG was asked by Dr. Jan VAN ROYEN, the Dutch ambassador to Canada, to come to work for him as a chef at the Dutch embassy in Ottawa.
"Anton gladly accepted the opportunity. The Dutch were and are forever grateful for the support of the Canadians during the war, " said Rudy. In 1947, he came to Canada to work at the embassy in Ottawa.
In 1950, when the Dutch ambassador was transferred to Washington, Mr. WYTENBURG worked as a chef at the French embassy in Ottawa before buying a bakery in Ottawa that became the first Dutch pastry shop in the city. The business, renamed Anton's Select Pastries, later expanded to include five outlets.
In 1952, he married Catharina VAN VUGT, also a native of the Netherlands, whom he met when she was a nanny for the secretary to the Dutch ambassador. That year, Dutch Queen Juliana paid a visit to one of Anton's bakeries.
While running their bakeries, the WYTENBURGs made many Friends, including some who farmed outside Ottawa and spoke highly of life in the country. This led them to buy a small farm west of Ottawa in 1962 and in 1964 would see the family give up its bakeries in favour of full-time agriculture on larger Ottawa Valley spreads, first in Richmond and later in Renfrew, where dairy farming would become the family's bread and butter.
As a farmer, Mr. WYTENBURG took a keen interest in agricultural organizations and committees. "He had a way with people, he could diffuse tense situations and always find a solution, " says Rudy.
Over the years, Mr. WYTENBURG's sons took on more of the farming responsibilities, leaving their father with more time for the many organizations he worked with, including the Ottawa-Carleton Safety Council and the Richmond Agricultural Society. In the late 1970s, Friends and neighbours urged him to consider politics.
In 1978, he won a councillor's seat in the rural ward of Goulbourn in 1980, he ran for mayor but lost; he tried again in 1982 and was successful, sitting as Mayor of Goulbourn Township from 1982 through to 1991. He was also on the council of the former Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton.
Moving a large family around the community and the farm was difficult, until Mr. WYTENBURG bought a used, fully stretched Cadillac limousine.
"It sure raised a few eyebrows when we were being chauffeured to the hay fields in a black limo, " recalls Rudy. "It often made for a bit of fun when the boys would ask an unsuspecting gal out on a date."
Mr. WYTENBURG left politics and farming in 1991 at age 72. After retiring, he continued to volunteer his time to help out on committees and task forces and as a strong supporter of the church. At the age of 75, he was the oldest participant in a walkathon for a local charity.
Mr. WYTENBURG leaves 10 children who live in California, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Renfrew, Ottawa and in England. Two of them continue to operate the family's 440-hectare farm near Renfrew.

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EISENHOWER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-03-14 published
Thomas MacDONALD
By Joan ROBINSON Friday, March 14, 2003 - Page A24
Father, husband, caterer. Born November 12, 1915, in Liverpool, England. Died January 25, in Ottawa, of a stroke, aged 87.
Tom MacDONALD was the third of nine children born to William and Mary Ellen MacDONALD. The family emigrated from England to Canada in 1924 and settled in Kingston, Ontario With the outbreak of the Second World War, Tom and his four brothers joined the Armed Forces. Tom enlisted in the Canadian Army on January 25, 1940. He was assigned as batman/driver to Lieutenant-General H. D. R. CRERAR. In 1944, the Kingston Whig Standard featured a photo of "Cpl. T. McDONALD" sewing an extra pip on CRERAR's uniform, marking his promotion to full General; CRERAR was then Commander of the First Canadian Army. During those war years, Tom served with the general in Italy, Sicily, the Netherlands, Belgium, North Africa, France and Germany. One of his duties was to prepare the general's meals; he became proficient at obtaining and preparing reasonable meals with scant resources. It was during this time that he developed a keen interest in food preparation.
After the war, Tom remained in the army. Although he had no professional training, his natural flair for food preparation and presentation led to his employment in Ottawa by National Defence Headquarters as organizer and caterer of official banquets and what was known as "the cocktail party circuit." On a private basis, the United States Embassy also employed him in this capacity.
Among his effects are letters of appreciation from Ambassador Livingston MERCHANT of the U.S. Embassy and one from then-president Dwight EISENHOWER, thanking Tom for his efforts during the Second World War, as well as his contributions during two presidential trips to Ottawa. It concludes: "With best wishes to a former comrade-in-arms."
During this time he also accompanied General CRERAR on official business trips, wherein his role was to assist in the personal needs of the CRERAR family. Many of these trips were to major Canadian cities but in 1947, Tom accompanied General CRERAR on a trade development mission to Hawaii, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Manila. His last international trip took place in the 1960s when, in a similar role, he travelled to Cyprus with a delegation headed by Minister of Defence Paul HELLYER.
In 1965, he was honourably released from the army. He then assumed the position of steward at 24 Sussex Drive. He served with Prime Minister Lester PEARSON from 1965 to 1968 and with Prime Minister Pierre TRUDEAU from 1968 to 1975. He was again responsible for the organization of formal banquets and other entertainment. On one such occasion, a photo much prized by Tom's English mother shows him in formal dress, standing ready to serve the Queen Mother.
Although officially retired in 1975, he maintained his interest in cooking both in his private catering business and at home. He was a lively, fun-loving man and with his wife, Verena, hosted many memorable parties wherein his love of people and sense of humour had full rein.
Tom was proud of his country, his city and his war service. He could be moved to tears by memories of his war years and every year that he was physically able he marched in the Veteran's Day parade wearing his war medals.
In his declining years, he was comforted by the care and companionship of his family and Friends. At Uncle Tom's funeral they volunteered their special memories of him. There was much laughter and few tears as befitted the man. The music of his favourite song We'll Meet Again concluded the ceremony -- sung, of course, by Vera LYNN. He will be missed by many, including nieces, nephews, Friends and surviving comrades-in-arms.
Joan is Tom MacDONALD's niece.

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