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"McSK" 2006 Obituary


McSKIMMING o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2006-05-05 published
ROBERTS, William Hardy
By Roy MacSKIMMING, Page A26
Husband, father, bookseller, poet, gentleman. Born September 8, 1931, in Aberdeen, Scotland. Died November 9, 2005, in Burritt's Rapids, Ontario, of natural causes, aged 74.
Along with his deep knowledge and love of literature, Bill possessed a kindly charm and keen sensibility. He could read his customers a mile away. He'd emerge from the rear of the store, tall, elegant and bearded, and gently introduce them to just the authors they were looking for -- even when they hadn't yet realized it.
Bill raised Ottawa's literary standards. His clientele ran from John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson to Pierre Trudeau and Ed Broadbent. When the Prime Minister's Office or the Department of Foreign Affairs needed a gift for a visiting V.I.P., they knew whom to call. And over the years, Bill mentored a new generation of booksellers.
Bill was a complex, multifaceted man: a very private person yet a loyal friend and boon companion; a businessman yet an accomplished poet. Growing up in wartime in the English industrial city of Leeds, he was an autodidact who immersed himself in books. His friend Gordon BULLOCK recalls Bill as a perfect gentleman, even as a teenager: "Dressing in tweeds, smoking a magnificent pipe, wearing a stylish hat, all of which gave him the air of a young academic."
Bill moved to London, where he reported for the Fish Fryers Gazette and frequented the theatre. A friend of his, a penniless young actor named Peter O'Toole, slept on his floor while seeking parts in the West End.
In search of better prospects, Bill emigrated to Canada in 1954 with Gordon BULLOCK, who would become publisher of the Hamilton Spectator. A few years later Bill was happily working at Leishman's. As Mr. BULLOCK puts it, "He'd travelled 3,000 miles to find his true home." Bill bought the business in 1961 in partnership with Peggy BLACKSTOCK, raised its stature, and moved the store uptown near Parliament Hill.
Farsighted and imaginative, Bill ROBERTS became a force for innovation and professionalism in the book trade. In 1972, he opened satellite stores in Ottawa and Victoria under the name Books Canada, selling exclusively Canadian titles. He was elected president of the Canadian Booksellers Association, fostered bookseller education, and promoted publisher-bookseller co-operation in bringing electronic commerce to the industry.
Although he was serious about business, Bill's first love was literature. Ottawa poet William HAWKINS recalls Bill approaching him after a reading to share his enthusiasms for Eliot and Auden. The two became Friends, and Bill shared his own poetry with Mr. HAWKINS, who was struck by its craft, wit and poignancy.
Another colleague, bookseller-turned-publisher Al CUMMINGS, became a close friend. He and Bill travelled widely together in search of history, art, good cigars and fine scotch. They marked the millennium by flying from New York to London on the Concorde, visiting galleries and theatres, and returning on the Queen Elizabeth II. Bill immortalized their adventures in a satirically nostalgic verse, Like-Minded Gents.
Bill enjoyed the tranquillity of life with his wife Carole and daughters Stephanie and Victoria in the small village of Burritt's Rapids near Ottawa. For some years after he sold Leishman's in 1992, he and Carole ran a lovely antiquarian bookshop in nearby Merrickville, but Bill's failing health eventually caused them to retire. One of his last and most moving poems begins: I hope the better part / Of who we are / May be remembered.
Writer Roy MacSKIMMING is a colleague and friend of Bill ROBERTS.

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McSKIMMINGS 2006-10-13 published
Peacefully at London Health Sciences Centre -- Victoria Hospital on Thursday October 12, 2006 Joan (SWEENEY) LAUFFMAN of London in her 64 year. Beloved wife of Charles LAUFFMAN of London. Dear mother of Doug and his wife Joanne LAUFFMAN of Saint Thomas. Sherry LAUFFMAN of Sarnia, Trace LAUFFMAN of Calgary Alberta, and Dave LAUFFMAN of London. Loved by 8 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Dear sister of Vince and his wife Barb SWEENEY, Linda SINFIELD, Gail and her husband Rick McSKIMMINGS, Karen SWEENEY, Jackie and her husband Joe SIMPSON, Chris and Perry SWEENEY all of London. Dear daughter-in-law of Angela SWEENEY of London. Predeceased by her brother Ted SWEENEY. Friends will be received at the Logan Funeral Home 371 Dundas St. (between Waterloo and Colbourne St.) on Sunday 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral Service will be held in the Chapel on Monday October 16th at 1: 30 p.m. with Rev. Herb SUMMERS officiating. Interment Mt. Pleasant Cemetery. Friends who wish may make memorial donations to the London Regional Cancer Centre. Online condolences A tree will be planted as a living memorial to Joan LAUFFMAN.

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McSKIMMINGS 2006-12-06 published
In loving memory of a dear husband and father (Jim), who passed away 13 years ago, December 6, 1993.
A family has a special bond
It's love that forms the ties
And even in the darkest hour
That love will never die.
And when a loved one is taken
Although we had to part
We keep him in a special place
Deep within our hearts.
Your love and sense of humour are dearly missed
- Doris, Rick and Gail.

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