KYONKA email@example.com_county.toronto.toronto_star 2006-10-15 published
Gino EMPRY, 83: Entertainment icon
By Nick KYONKA, Staff▼ Reporter▼
Gino EMPRY, a long-time Toronto entertainment promoter and an icon in the international artistic community, died yesterday at the age of 83.
EMPRY, known for his work behind the scenes, will be remembered by Friends and acquaintances as a man who pushed others to stay true to themselves, said Gordon PINSENT, a prolific Canadian actor and long-time friend.
"He was there as the constant angel on your shoulder, reminding you not to give up and that you are important," PINSENT said. "He was a dear man who was loved by all of us who truly knew him."
Born in Toronto, EMPRY got involved in the entertainment industry while still a teenager by starting his own drama group and establishing himself as an actor, director and producer. It wasn't until 1964 that he immersed himself in the work he would become famous for, founding his own agency for booking and public relations. By 1970, he was an entertainment director and consultant for the Royal York Hotel's Imperial Room, which was then the top nightclub in the country.
EMPRY went on to represent some of the biggest names in show business, including Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Bob Hope and Ella Fitzgerald.
But it was always his representation of local talent that set him apart.
"Gino was a truly a champion of Toronto talent," PINSENT said. "He was a man who wanted the very best for us …"
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KYONKA firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.toronto_star 2006-12-26 published
Keith YATES, 78; University of Toronto prof
By Nick KYONKA, Staff▲ Reporter▲
After a successful career as a chemistry professor at the University of Toronto, few would argue that Keith YATES wasn't an expert on molecules.
But to those who knew him best, YATES was a man of many passions including sports, politics, sociology and even naval warfare, a subject he wrote two books about after his retirement.
"He knew everything about everything," says daughter Nicola FILLIER, of her father who died December 2 after a heart attack. "He was like a walking encyclopedia."
Sports, politics, warfare and -- of course -- science, were some of his interests, she says, but when it came to reading, just about anything would do.
"He forever read books. There was nothing he didn't like," she says.
As she was growing up, FILLIER says, her father's deep knowledge of the world helped to push her to learn more herself.
"He was funny. He was intelligent. He was great with my kids," she says.
Born in the north of England on October 22, 1928, YATES was raised in Blackpool. In 1946, he began a two-year conscription in Britain's Royal Navy.
In 1948, as he approached the end of his naval requirements, he received a letter from his parents informing him they had moved to British Columbia, and that he was welcome to join them. He did.
For the next few years, YATES worked blue-collar jobs for Coca-Cola and a local electrical company, but didn't pursue an academic career. It wasn't until 1953 that he started to move down that road, with help from his new wife, June CHARTER.
"My mom met him when he was nothing," FILLIER notes, saying they met on a blind date set up by Friends. "She chose him because she saw something ambitious or something in his character that she knew would get him somewhere in life."
In the following years, CHARTER would bring home the couple's only source of income as a teacher while YATES worked toward a bachelor's degree and a medical science degree at the University of British Columbia, and then a PhD at Oxford University in England.
In 1968, YATES began his career in physical organic chemistry as a professor at UofT. A short six years later, he was chairman of the the department.
Bob McCLELLAND, one of YATES' students and then a fellow faculty member, said: "He was sort of my model as a supervisor. He let students get on with their thing and he didn't bother you too much, but he was always there to help you."
As a physical organic chemist, YATES studied the reasons molecules responded to each other in the way that they did. Considered an authority in the field, YATES wrote more than 150 articles and other published works. Perhaps his best known, a 1978 book entitled Huckel Molecular Orbital Theory, discussed an alternative theory to predict where an electron could be found in certain molecules. Acclaimed by his peers, McCLELLAND says the book is still used as a textbook in some universities.
YATES was given a prestigious award by the Chemical Institute of Canada in 1991. After retiring that same year, YATES moved back to British Columbia with his wife, devoting his time to writing a pair of books on naval history and running the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
"He went to every Legion function and he sat in a little trailer and he would flip hamburgers and joke with everybody as they came by," FILLIER says. "He would say to them, 'Do you want your buns toasted?' and as soon as they'd say yes, he'd say 'Yeah? Come on and get up here on the grill.'"
YATES leaves his wife of 53 years, as well as three daughters and four grandchildren. A funeral was held December 10 in B.C.
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