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"VEN" 2003 Obituary


VENABLES o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-09-06 published
From fashion to furniture
Photographer gave up the fast life in Manhattan to open a shop in the Ontario countryside
By James McCREADY Special to The Globe and Mail Saturday, September 6, 2003 - Page F11
Malcolm BATTY was a top fashion photographer, taking pictures of the likes of Christie Brinkley and Andie MacDowell for big Manhattan department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue. But for the past 15 years, he ran an art and furniture shop in the hamlet of Mono Centre, living in a farmhouse in the countryside nearby.
At the peak of his photography career in the early 1980s, Mr. BATTY, who has died at the age of 57, moved in a rarefied world of high fashion and show business in New York City. Not bad for a kid who had started his working life as a waiter in a coffee shop in Toronto's Yorkville district in the early 1960s.
A man as handsome as his models were beautiful, he was always cool, in an understated way. Even when he was in the furniture business, he had a low-key style, bringing his finished pieces into town in an old red Toyota Land Cruiser.
Mr. BATTY dropped out of photography, and the fast life in New York City, in part because he came to find the world of fashion so shallow. He moved back to Canada with his new wife, Jane FELLOWES, and started making furniture. The first pieces they sold were birdhouses made from things such as orange crates.
They sold their high-end birdhouses at the Pack Rat, which at the time was the only furniture shop along the strip of Yonge Street in Rosedale, an area now jammed with fashionable stores.
"We decided our birdhouses were not going to be the common hardware-store style," Mr. BATTY told an interviewer in 1994. "They would have themes: Muskoka lodges, Santa Fe roadhouses, Indian dhows, grain elevators. Very odd stuff. We took them down to Pack Rat and, lo and behold, they started to sell for $220 to $250 a piece."
Malcolm David BATTY was born of British parents in India, on November 29, 1945. His birthplace was Nasik, just outside Bombay near where his mother was a military nurse. His father was a riding instructor for the British army who left the family soon after Malcolm's birth.
When the British left India in 1947, Malcolm and his mother returned to England. He was brought up in Wales with his mother and grandparents. He went to an experimental school, but was never a brilliant student. He did learn one skill that came in handy in later life: building dry stone walls. His grandfather taught him how and he built a series of stone walls on his farm in Mono Township, using rocks from the foundation of an old barn.
Mr. BATTY decided to come to Canada when he was about 16. He had relatives in Brockville, Ontario, but soon made his way to Toronto. While working in the Peddler coffee shop, he started to paint. He had a studio above a sail-making shop on Front Street and just about made a living selling his paintings. He was talented enough, but he needed formal training. He received a grant to study in Paris.
While there, a friend gave him a 35-mm camera and he stopped painting, for a while anyway, and started taking pictures. He came back to Toronto, was successful and then moved to New York City. The full page ads in The New York Times were his specialty superstar models and spreads for the big Manhattan stores.
"It was the painting that made him a great photographer," said Alan VENABLES, a friend and the owner of the Pack Rat. "He was a photographer with a painter's eye. Not too many of those."
Like someone trying to quit smoking, Mr. BATTY tried to kick the Manhattan habit more than once. His favourite escape was in a camper van, travelling across the United States and ending up in Mexico, usually the Baja Peninsula.
When he came back to Canada in the mid-1980s, it was with Jane FELLOWES, a Canadian. They spent some time in Cyprus, where Mr. BATTY's mother had retired. While there, they kept busy training horses. Because his father had been a riding instructor, Mr. BATTY wanted to see if he had the same talents. It turned out that he had a natural touch with horses.
After their furniture business took off, Mr. BATTY and Ms. FELLOWES wanted to find a shop where they could work and sell some of the things they made. They found it in Mono Centre, almost an hour north of the Toronto international airport. They opened a shop called Tequila Cove, across the driveway from a restaurant and pub, the Mono Cliffs Inn.
By this time, they made more than birdhouses and had expanded to tables with hammered tin tops, stripped cedar furniture and seagulls carved from old white fencing. What they didn't sell in the shop was put in the back of the Land Cruiser and went to Toronto.
Mr. BATTY took up photography again, working for a quarterly magazine called In The Hills. A few years ago, he landed a big assignment as the still photographer for a film Called Spirit of Havana, a National Film Board Production. It was one of many trips to Cuba and he always took his cameras.
This started a collection of photography that is to be published this fall. The book is called Cuba, Grace Under Pressure, with the text by Toronto writer Rosemary SULLIVAN. There are 102 pictures, with the theme being Cuban culture, the aging musicians, poets and dancers of the revolutionary era. It talks about how ordinary Cubans survive day to day.
Mr. BATTY had also started to paint again in the past few years. And he loved music, in particular the blues. He owned a vintage electric guitar, a 1967 Fender Telecaster. He leaves his wife, Ms. FELLOWES, and his mother.

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VENDRAMIN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-15 published
KOSKI, Dr. John T.
Dr. John T. KOSKI died on Friday, November 14, 2003 in Belmont House, after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. He is survived by his wife Evelyn, his daughters Jane and Anne, his son-in-law Paul and his sisters Rosemary and Marianne.
Following cremation, the family will receive Friends and family at the Newbigging Funeral Home, 733 Mount Pleasant Road in Toronto on Sunday, November 23, 2003 from 1: 00-5:00 p.m. A Service of Celebration is to be announced later, to be held in Toronto.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one of two newly established Memorial Scholarships in Dr. John T. KOSKI's name. For Cambrian College students, donations may be sent to Brian VENDRAMIN, Executive Director, Cambrian Foundation, Suite 103, 62 Frood Road, Sudbury, Ontario P3C 4Z3. Or, for Northern College students (Kirkland Lake campus) donations may be sent to Jennifer PEARSON, Coordinator, College Foundation, Northern College, P.O.Box 3211, Timmins, Ontario P4N 8R6.
The family wishes to thank Belmont House nursing staff for their loving care of John, his private duty nurses Yo and Margaret, Dr. BIRMINGHAM and Dr. REINGOLD of Belmont House Staff, and Dr. Nathan HERMMANN of Sunnybrook Medical Centre.

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VENESS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-07-18 published
D-Day vet one of the 'Two Jacks'
Story of two soldiers'daring escape from a German PoW camp inspired a book of 'amazing adventures'
By Allison LAWLOR Friday, July 18, 2003 - Page R13
Jack VENESS, a D-Day veteran whose dramatic account of capture and escape during the Second World War was chronicled in the book The Two Jacks, has died at his home in Fredericton. He was Maritime writer Will R. BIRD recounted Mr. VENESS's wartime heroism in his 1954 book The Two Jacks: The Amazing Adventures of Major Jack M. VENESS and Major Jack L. FAIRWEATHER.
When Canadians landed on the Normandy coast of France on D-Day, Mr. VENESS and Dr. FAIRWEATHER were there with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders. By June 7, the North Novas (as they were known) battled their way inland -- about 13 kilometres -- and had occupied the villages of Buron and Authie when they were met by German tanks and gunfire, led by the 12th SS Panzer Division.
A raging battle ensued that left dozens of North Novas dead and injured and led to the capture of both Mr. VENESS and Dr. FAIRWEATHER. They were among close to 100 who were taken prisoner by the Germans at the time.
"We thought it was bad luck that we were captured but on the other hand there were a lot of people who didn't survive," said Dr. FAIRWEATHER, a retired doctor living in Lewisburg, Pa.
After being forced to walk for close to a week with little food or rest, the two officers, along with the other prisoners, reached the gates of "Front Stalag." The German prison was a collection of worn-out army huts surrounded by three barbed wire fences.
Included in the book The Two Jacks is a card Mr. VENESS wrote dated June 16, 1944. "Dear Mother, I am in a German PoW camp. I am in good health and will write more later. Love, Jack."
The two Jacks would then spend the next six weeks in the prison camp before being loaded onto a railway boxcar. After spending at least five days jammed into the crowded car, with bombs dropping all around them, the two men decided if they were going to escape, now was the time.
"It was made pretty clear in training... an officer's first duty when captured is to escape," Dr. FAIRWEATHER said. "We had that in the back of our minds."
In the dark of the night, just outside the French city of Tours, the two terrified men escaped their imprisonment by jumping from a moving train through a hole in the boxcar.
"Jack said, 'This is our chance, we have to take it,' Dr. FAIRWEATHER recalled. "He said, 'Come on, we can do this.' " The two officers were hidden by a French priest in the belfry of a church (which Mr. VENESS would later visit in the 1970s with his son and first wife), and were soon after linked up with the French underground.
"I'm sure we wouldn't have survived without the underground," Dr. FAIRWEATHER said. "They hid us and protected us."
The two officers served with the French underground in the German-occupied Loire district of France for less than two months before they were able to make a safe return to their regiment in England.
After declining an offer to be re-posted to Canada, both Jacks rejoined their North Nova units in Europe. This next period would mark some of the most intense fighting Mr. VENESS took part in during the war.
"He was a very courageous and a very brave man," said his friend and fellow veteran, retired judge David DICKSON/DIXON of the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench. "He never lacked valour."
John (Jack) Mersereau VENESS was born on November 11, 1922, in Ottawa to John and Annie VENESS. After moving with his family to Fredericton in 1933, he attended Fredericton High School. He went on to complete one year at the University of New Brunswick before joining the Canadian Infantry Corps (North Nova Scotia Highlanders) in May, 1942, at the age of 19. A year later, he went overseas and not long after met Dr. FAIRWEATHER while in England with the North Novas.
Dr. FAIRWEATHER said he immediately liked his fellow Maritimer's directness. "He called a spade a spade."
Over the course of his storied military career, Mr. VENESS would go on to serve in England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France. After returning to his unit after his capture and escape, Mr. VENESS was engaged in fighting in the flooded Scheldt Estuary in Holland and Belgium, during which time he captured a German major-general at gunpoint.
In March, 1945, while leading his company in Germany, Mr. VENESS was seriously wounded by shrapnel from an exploding shell. After more than a month in hospital he recovered.
Mr. VENESS retired from the army in 1946 as a major with many medals, including the War Medal, being mentioned in dispatches, Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm, Chevalier of the Order of Leopold II with Palm (Belgium), The Defence Medal and the 1939-45 Star.
"He had a high respect for the veterans all his life," Mr. Dickson said. "I really [think] he felt he owed a debt to his fellow soldiers."
After returning home to New Brunswick after the war, Mr. VENESS returned to the University of New Brunswick and graduated in 1950 with a degree in civil engineering. He spent four years working in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and Banff, Alberta., then returned to New Brunswick to work for the Department of Highways. He retired in 1983 as director of traffic engineering.
In 1948, Mr. VENESS married Jere WOOD from Saint Martin's, New Brunswick They had one son. In 1976, after almost 30 years of marriage, Mr. VENESS lost both his wife and mother in a tragic car accident, while the two women were driving home to Fredericton from St. Andrews, New Brunswick Two years later, Mr. VENESS married Freda LOCKHARD. The couple enjoyed travelling and visited Europe to pay homage to fallen soldiers at military cemeteries and to attend commemorative services.
In addition to travelling, Mr. VENESS was also an active member of the community. He volunteered with a number of organizations, including the Young Men's Christian Association, where he served on the board of directors; the Masons; the Canadian Legion; and the Fredericton Garrison Club, where he was president.
Mr. VENESS's strict, early military training stuck with him throughout his life. Mr. DICKSON/DIXON remembers that a telephone call to his friend meant a brisk talk to convey a message and no idle chitchat.
"He was a little gruff at times," Mr. DICKSON/DIXON said.
Mr. VENESS died of a heart attack on June 30 while playing snooker at his home in Fredericton.
He leaves his wife Freda, son Randy, daughter-in-law Angela and two grandchildren.

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VENIS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-02-22 published
VENIS, Estelle

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