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"SNO" 2003 Obituary


SNOW o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-02-13 published
By Jack FORTIN Thursday, February 13, 2003, Page A30
Musician, husband, father. Born August 3, 1931, in Winnipeg. Died August 31, 2002, in Scarborough, Ontario, following a stroke, aged 71.
Gordie FLEMING/FLEMMING was a remarkable music talent, known internationally as a master of the accordion, especially in the jazz idiom. He was a life member of Local 149 of the Toronto Musicians' Association.
In show-business vernacular, Gordie was "born in a trunk." He began playing accordion when his older brother gave him lessons. His musical ability was such that he began performing publicly at the age of five. His schoolteachers often saw him being whisked away in a taxi to perform at theatres and radio stations in Winnipeg. By the age of 10, he was a working member of various bands in that city.
In 1949, Gordie lost his accordion in a fire at a Winnipeg hotel. With the insurance money, he headed for the bright lights of Montreal where he soon became an important part of that city's musical life. His accordion ability was complemented by the fact that he was also a gifted arranger and composer.
He had a marvellous ability to improvise and could string out complex bebop lines, leaving his listeners in awe. He often slipped a jazz phrase into ballads or commercial tunes, confirming that jazz was indeed his first love.
One of Montreal's busiest musicians, he wrote for local orchestras, shows, radio and television. He had perfect pitch and often wrote without reference to a keyboard. He was at home in every type of music from classics to jazz. For several years, he worked at the National Film Board as a composer and musician.
In Montreal, Gordie performed with many show business headliners: there was a wealth of home-grown talent in Montreal, such as Oscar PETERSON and Maynard FERGUSON, as well as other jazz musicians who were beginning to be noticed.
Gordie had said that when when he first heard bebop it was like entering another world. As his career indicates, he had no trouble in that world. He worked with many personalities including: Charlie PARKER, Mel TORMÉ, Hank SNOW, Lena HORNE, Englebert HUMPERDINCK, Dennis DAY, Gordon MacRAE, Cab CALLOWAY, Nat King COLE, Cat STEVENS, Rich LITTLE, Billy ECKSTEIN, Pee Wee HUNT, Arthur GODFREY and Buddy DEFRANCO.
He also performed with Tommy AMBROSE, Allan MILLS, Wally KOSTER, Tommy HUNTER, Bert NIOSI, Wayne and Shuster, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation jazz shows with Al BACULIS, and many other Canadian jazz musicians.
On Montreal's French music scene, Gordie performed on radio and television with Emile GENEST, Ti-Jean CARIGNAN, André GAGNON and Ginette RENO. He was a featured soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra on several occasions.
Internationally, Gordie toured France in 1952 and performed with Edith PIAF and Tino ROSSI. He had the honour to perform for former prime minister Pierre Elliot TRUDEAU at a Commonwealth Conference.
He participated with other top Canadian musicians in a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation tour to entertain Canadian and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops in Europe in 1952 and 1968.
For me, a memorable experience was playing in a group with Gordie for several winters in Florida. A popular member of the Panama City Beach family of musicians, Gordie looked forward to his winter trek south. Many of the American musicians will miss him, as will the many snowbirds who looked forward to hearing him each year.
His extensive repertoire allowed Gordie to author a book called Music of the World, in which he wrote the music to 280 songs from more than 30 countries.
Gordie leaves his wife of 47 years, Joanne, and seven children.
Jack FORTIN is Gordie's friend.

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SNOWIE o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-01-09 published
Last fighter pilot of the Great War
Canadian aviator, a bankteller in peacetime, was 'just doing his duty'
By Allison LAWLOR Thursday, January 9, 2003, Page R7
Henry BOTTERELL, the last of the fighter pilots that fought in the First World War, has died in Toronto. He was 106.
Mr. BOTTERELL, who up until in his late 90s was swimming almost every day, died peacefully at the Sunnybrook Veterans Hospital, now part of Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, on Friday, less than two months after celebrating his 106th birthday.
One of 16 surviving Canadian veterans of the First World War profiled in a Globe and Mail series in November, Henry BOTTERELL was believed to be the last fighter pilot from the 1914-1918 conflict, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Mr. BOTTERELL declined to take part in the series of interviews, but at a special air-force celebration four years earlier he recalled his days as a fighter pilot.
"I had good hands," he said then. "I didn't have the fighting acumen of some, like Billy BISHOP. I was just a bank clerk. I wasn't one of the very best, but I had my share of action."
On August 29, 1918, Flight Lieutenant BOTTERELL flew his Sopwith Camel over Vitry, France. After dropping four bombs on a railway station, he was heading back to his airfield when he encountered a German observation balloon. He fired 400 rounds into the balloon with his aircraft machine gun.
With the balloon ablaze, the soldier leaped from the basket and opened his parachute. As the flaming remains of the balloon fell to the ground, Mr. BOTTERELL had enough time to swing around and shoot his enemy, but didn't. Instead, he snapped him a chivalrous salute before heading back to base. The moment was captured by aviation artist Robert TAILOR/TAYLOR, in his painting Balloon Buster.
"He was an adventurer," said Jon STRAW, a friend and former director of the Great War Flying Museum in Brampton, Ontario Mr. STRAW is also working on a book on Canadian pilots who served in the First World War with Allan SNOWIE, a retired naval aviator who is now a pilot with Air Canada.
Like many of the veterans from the First World War, Mr. BOTTERELL didn't consider his war efforts to be heroic.
"He didn't think it was any big deal, he thought he was just doing his duty," Mr. STRAW said.
In 1916, Mr. BOTTERELL was working for the Bank of North America (now the Bank of Montreal) when his older brother Edward, who played football for the Toronto Argonauts, was killed overseas by a sniper. A few months later, Henry, then 20, enlisted with the Royal Naval Air Service and was sent to England to train as a fighter pilot.
His sister, Edith, who worked as a secretary for an admiral at the time, had helped him get what she thought would be a safer assignment in the war. But that didn't prove to be true. At one point in the war, new pilots had a life expectancy of three weeks.
Mr. BOTTERELL's flying career got off to a difficult start. Engine failure caused him to crash on only his second takeoff in September, 1917, at Dunkirk, France. He suffered head injuries, a fractured leg, and broken teeth and spent six months in hospital. He was eventually demobilized as disabled and discharged. But he later re-enlisted and qualified as a fighter pilot again and returned to France in early 1918.
His flight log reveals that he was attached to the 208th Squadron serving in France from May 11 to November 27, 1918. His records show that during that time, he flew patrols and fought over places including Serny, Estrées and Arras. He then transferred to Belgium, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Wing Commander Neil MEADOWS, the commanding officer of Royal Air Force 208 Squadron, said in his condolences to Mr. BOTTERELL's family that Henry "remains, an inspiration to our trainee pilots. I do feel that we have lost a tangible part of what we are, and what we aspire to be.
"Undoubtedly, he did not view his actions as out of the ordinary, but his courage and dedication to duty are an example that I hope our trainees will emulate in their own flying careers," he wrote on behalf of the squadron. "I am sure, therefore, that his spirit will live on with the young pilots that continue to serve on 208 Squadron."
During his war service, Mr. BOTTERELL flew a variety of planes, but the Camel, which got its name from the hump created by two machine guns imbedded under its cowling, was his favourite. He had one particular close call, when on a flight a bullet ripped through his ear and smashed his goggles.
"I went out like a light for a few minutes, and I recovered just before I crashed," he once said.
Henry John Lawrence BOTTERELL was born in 1896 in Ottawa to Henry and Annie BOTTERELL. His mother raised him after his father died of pneumonia when Henry was a young boy. Henry attended Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Ottawa. An athletic young man, he played football like his older brother and remained physically active throughout his life.
"He was a loner," said his son Edward BOTTERELL, adding that his father enjoyed sports he would do alone such as swimming, cross-country skiing and sailing. In 1919, he returned to Canada and to banking as an assistant chief accountant. He remained with the Bank of Montreal until his retirement in the 1960s. As a souvenir from the war he brought back a Belgian fence post that had snagged the wing of his Camel on a low-level flights. It is now in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.
In 1929 he married and moved with his wife Maud to Montreal. They raised two children before his wife died in 1983 after suffering several strokes. During the Second World War, Mr. BOTTERELL commanded an Air Cadet Squadron, in Quebec, though he himself never took to the air. After returning home in 1919, he gave up flying.
In 1999, Mr. BOTTERELL was the guest of honour at a mess dinner commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force. That same year he celebrated his own 102nd birthday at a hotel in Lille, France, where he and other Canadian veterans were marking the 80th anniversary of the end of the War.
Despite his failing memory, his son Edward said his father was "moved by the experience."
Mr. BOTTERELL is survived by daughter Frances MARQUETTE of Houston, Texas, and son Edward BOTTERELL of Mississauga, Ontario
Henry BOTTERELL, aviator and banker; born in Ottawa on November 7, 1896, died in Toronto on January 3, 2003.

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