EPSTEIN email@example.com_county.owen_sound.the_sun_times 2007-08-18 published
BEACOCK, Hazel (née SMITH)
Of Wiarton passed away at Wiarton Hospital surrounded by her family on Friday, August 17, 2007 in her 95th year. Cherished mother of Lorna (Francis) EDMONSTONE of Sauble Beach and Diane (Geoff) EPSTEIN of Waterloo. Special grandmother of Lisa (Steve) ASHTON, Greg (Anita) EDMONSTONE, Scott (Shannon) Edmondstone, Graham EPSTEIN and Jordan EPSTEIN and great-grandmother of Tyler ASHTON and Blaise and Savana EDMONSTONE. She will be sadly missed by her sister-in-law Clara SMITH of Lion's head as well as many nieces, nephews and her many special Friends. Hazel was predeceased by her husband Norman, parents Sarah (McARTHUR) and Patrick SMITH, brothers Alf, Charlie, Angus, Patrick (Tiny) and Bill and sisters Kathleen EBEL, Stella BRANNICK and Ellen HEPBURN. Visitation will be held at the George Funeral Home, Wiarton on Sunday, August 19, 2007 from 2: 00 to 4:00 and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The funeral service to celebrate Hazel's life will be held at the funeral home on Monday, August 20, 2007 at 11: 00 a.m. Interment Bayview Cemetery. Donations made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society or charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family as expressions of sympathy. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.georgefuneralhome.com
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EPSTEIN firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-07-17 published
She was a 'marvellous example of commitment to the public good'
Even as a teenager growing up in Montreal, she possessed a hatred of intolerance, writes Sandra MARTIN. It was a theme that later wove through the many disparate parts of a hugely complicated life to embrace politics, the arts, health care, social justice and human rights
By Sandra MARTIN, Page S8
Blunt, buoyant and bountiful, she was always known as Bluma. A dogged fundraiser and networker, she had a flinty sensor for injustice and intolerance, a lifelong love of the arts and a passion for fixing things, people and the world.
Irreverent and possessed of a wicked sense of humour, she loved to say that her husband, Bram APPEL, made the money and she spent it. A friend once said the Appels were involved with everything but racehorses; Ms. APPEL shot back: "Bram says you can lose more on plays." On their 25th wedding anniversary, Mr. APPEL gave his wife a spectacular ring, but she, with his permission, took it back to the jeweller and spent the money on a play, instead. "He's lucky I didn't ask for extra money," she joked.
"She wanted to help society, but I can tell you this," Ms. APPEL's elder son, David, said yesterday. "If she had gone into business, anybody who backed her would have made a fortune. She knew everybody and she could get into any door, but she used all of that for philanthropy or to support interesting cultural causes."
A non-conformist, Ms. APPEL "created spaces and places for herself where she didn't have to compete with others," said long-time friend and colleague Patrice Marin Best. "But I also believe she was gifted with a kind of foresight or intuition. Because she was curious and she read very widely, she was always picking up snippets of things and thinking about how they fit together."
"She was very effective," former federal politician Marc Lalonde said yesterday, commenting on the breadth of the causes and issues she supported. "She could not see a problem and remain indifferent to it. She was a marvellous example of commitment to the public good."
Her father, Jack LEVITT, came from Vilna, Lithuania, and her mother, Dora, from Kovna, Russia, probably around 1905 as Jewish emigration from czarist Russia surged because of wide-scale repression and fear of pogroms. Her father, who made a living initially selling photographs on Montreal street corners, went into the textile business and eventually formed a prosperous company called Town Hall Clothes. The youngest of four children, Bluma (which means flower in Yiddish) grew up in a hard-working, socially conscious environment in Outremont.
She learned French at a young age (and later mastered Spanish and Italian), and was Friends with a young Pierre Trudeau. She was also involved in the same little theatre group as Herbert Whittaker, the late theatre critic of The Globe and Mail.
She went to high school in Montreal but never attended university. In a speech to the Canadian Club in April, she said she had refused to take the entrance examinations for McGill University in 1936 because, "being Jewish, I needed straight A-plus to qualify." Since B-minus was good enough for anyone else, this struck her as unfair. So, even as a teenager, she possessed a hatred of intolerance, a theme that wove through the many disparate parts of a hugely complicated life that embraced politics, the arts, health care, social justice and international human rights.
In 1937, she was introduced to a young chartered accountant named Bram APPEL at a hotel in the Laurentians, north of Montreal. He had a canny head for numbers and a good eye for investment opportunities. Because he had trouble finding a job, he started his own company, then helped to found a high-tech firm based on the clean filtration systems invented by scientist David Pall, a friend from his student days at McGill.
The APPELs married on July 11, 1940, and had two sons, David (1941) and Mark (1944.) As a young wife and mother, Ms. APPEL made a career out of volunteering. "I learned early on you enter every door open to you," she said in her Canadian Club speech. "A locked door particularly intrigued me and I never gave up looking for the key."
Growing up, said David, "our home was filled with laughter and intense discussion." He described his mother as a dynamo. "The passport into our home had nothing to do with your station, but whether you were interesting and what you brought of yourself. It was an incredibly febrile and exciting environment. You take it for granted, but, in retrospect, you see the extent to which our mother and father enriched our lives."
Although she was drawn to the creative process, her prodigious energies and talents did not reside in the making of art. She said that, after six months of piano lessons when she was 6, her teacher begged her not to come back; at 13, she joined an after-school painting class but all her attempts at figurative work turned into abstracts. As for acting, "I couldn't even get a part in a mob scene." For a time, she tried identifying and supporting the creation of various art forms by becoming part-owner of Waddington's art gallery in Montreal in 1957 and producing plays in the 1960s in New York City, including a short-lived off-Broadway production of Jean Genet's The Maids and Olympia Dukakis's first play, The Opening of a Window.
Her real talent lay in fundraising. There are four crucial steps, she liked to explain. "First, you decide on your victims." And then you stalk, encircle and entrap them. In a typical campaign, she would begin by appealing to her "victim's" better nature and, if that didn't work, would quickly switch to "fear, greed and guilt."
When she was on the prowl, she never limited herself to one project at a time. In 1955, she was in Geneva to help her husband run the booth for Pall Corp. Filtration, which was exhibiting at a commercial venue, and dropped in at the first Atoms for Peace Conference in an adjoining building. There, she just happened to meet physicists and Nobel Prize winners Isadore Rabi and Sir John Cockroft, who, among other eminent scientists, had gathered to try to chain nuclear power for peaceful purposes.
In the mid-1960s, the APPELs moved from Montreal to Ottawa (although they always kept a home in their native city) so Mr. APPEL could take a position as executive assistant to Jean-Luc Pépin when he was the minister of energy, mines and resources in Lester Pearson's last Liberal government. During their Ottawa years - the APPELs moved to Toronto in 1979 - she worked for secretary of state Gérard Pelletier at $1 a year.
That connection led her, in 1970, to Marc Lalonde, then principal secretary to Mr. Trudeau. After granting her a 15-minute interview, she showed up in her mink coat and hat and pleaded her case to have the prime minister attend a dinner to launch the American Friends of Canada, an organization that persuaded wealthy Americans to give works of art to Canadian museums in return for a tax credit. She had inveigled David Rockefeller, Henry Ford and Armand Hammer to sit on her board. Ms. APPEL ran overtime and Mr. Lalonde showed her the door. "I was probably the first one to ever kick her out of an office," he said yesterday. Seeing how flummoxed she was, Mr. Lalonde organized another meeting and they became fast Friends.
In 1972, Mr. Lalonde ran for office and became secretary of state for the status of women and quickly appointed her as his personal representative at the usual fee of $1 a year. Her big push was to have women on the boards of directors of the major banks. She would walk in with her mink coat and hat and would argue with bank presidents, Mr. Lalonde said yesterday. "She could give better than she could receive… Lo and behold, slowly, the banks started appointing women and, a few years later, it became a point of honour for them to appoint women."
In 1979, Ms. APPEL ran unsuccessfully for the Liberals in the federal election. She then moved to Toronto with her husband and took on the rest of the country. Always one to sense an issue that was about to develop into a crisis, Ms. APPEL became deeply involved in the community of activists that banded together in the 1980s to found the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research.
Her lifelong love of music and the theatre prompted her to invest heavily in terms of time, energy and money in the Toronto theatre scene. She was a big supporter of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, which named one of its theatres in her honour in March of 1983 after she made a donation to help renovate the 876-seat theatre. She was also a significant force behind Opera Atelier. In June of 2005, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts gave Ms. APPEL an honorary Dora Mavor Moore Award "for her exceptional and lifelong dedication" to the performing arts in Canada.
About two years ago, she began to feel unwell. But, with her characteristic verve, she carried on as though nothing were bothering her. In June of 2006, Ms. APPEL, the woman who had never attended university, was given an honorary degree by the University of Toronto. The severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic in Toronto in 2003 had focused Ms. APPEL's attention on nurses and their vulnerability in caring for infectious patients, so she donated $350,000 to help the Faculty of Nursing establish a Clinical Simulation Learning centre within the new Health Sciences Building at the U of T's St. George campus.
When she was named Canadian of the Year at a luncheon at the Canadian Club on April 30, she appeared with a neck brace and spoke with a raspy voice. Although she was never a smoker, she was diagnosed with lung cancer in May. Ms. APPEL took the opportunity of the Canadian Club award to speak out against Islamist extremism and to plead for open dialogue among Arab, Jewish and Muslim communities. "Let us return to a time when tolerance was not shrouded in silence born of great fear, but of loud and raucous debate, born of great hope."
Last month, she was given an honorary degree by Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario Here's the advice she gave the graduates in her convocation address: "Stay curious. Don't make the same mistake twice, life is rough - it is a battle for turf - so learn by observation - take notes - write memos. Listen to opinions but not to the opinionated. Do not tolerate intolerance. Cherish the environment. Keep an open mind and stick to your principles. And dream big dreams!" In closing, she told the students that "the two most important issues we face are the deterioration of the environment, and the increase in the number of extreme fundamentalist groups."
Clearly, she was gearing up for another campaign, but, this time, her seemingly impervious energy was felled by illness. About 10 days ago, she was admitted to hospital. That's where she celebrated her 67th wedding anniversary, on July 11. Her husband swept into the room with a bouquet of yellow roses, then sat by her bedside holding her hand.
Bluma APPEL's birth certificate says she was born in Montreal on September 4, 1919, but she always claimed 1920 as her date of birth. She died of lung cancer in Princess Margaret Hospital on July 14, 2007. She was either 86 or 87. She is survived by her husband, Bram, two sons, five grandchildren, her sister Goldie EPSTEIN of Montreal and her extended family. The funeral is today at 1 p.m. at Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel in Toronto.
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EPSTEIN email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-10-30 published
In his 100th year, at home after a long and difficult struggle, on Sunday, Occtober 28, 2007. Predeceased by his dear wife Esther. Beloved father and father-in-law of Jean and Arnie VERTLIEB and Philip and Joyce EPSTEIN. Dear grandfather of Tamara and Andrew TEMES, Alana VERTLIEB and Steven KASTNER, Geoffrey VERTLIEB, David and Michelle EPSTEIN, Deborah EPSTEIN and Aaron FRANKS and Sara and Mark ARNSTEIN. Beloved great-grandfather of Bayley and Maxwell TEMES, Jeremie, Joshua, and Jamie FRANKS, and Ryan and Jake ARNSTEIN. Service at Steeles Memorial Chapel (350 Steeles Avenue West), on Tuesday, October 30th at 12 p.m. The family expresses its deepest thanks to Dell, Gemma and Reg for their devoted and loving care. Donations to the Soldiers of Israel Fund will be appreciated.
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