Usually Throwback Thursday is for a photo from the old days but I’ve got a collection of obituaries I’ve come across recently that I thought I’d discuss instead since all three send me down memory lane in different ways…
- Author, publisher, businessman and activist, Mel Hurtig, passed away yesterday. I never got to meet him in person but did speak with him on the phone once when I worked for the Writers Guild of Alberta. One year, I had the enjoyable job of calling authors who were shortlisted for an Alberta Book Award and was especially looking forward to calling Mr. Hurtig whose books I’d read in undergrad political science classes and whose reputation definitely preceded him. I explained why I was calling and he replied “Well, Jason, do I have to be there?” I’m a bit slow on the uptake so I repeated that he’d been shortlisted for an award and if he attended, the Awards Gala would comp him a ticket. “Yes, I know that. But do I have to be there? Is there a good reason for me to make sure I attend this ceremony?” Realisation dawned and I quickly consulted my cheat sheet of juror selections. “Uhm, no, you don’t have to be there.” “Thank-you, have a good day. Good luck with your awards.” 😉
- I was sad to read in a my FIMS alumni newsletter about the passing of Dr. David Spencer. In library school, I ended up taking a History of Information class with Dr. Spencer that was jointly offered to students in the Faculty of Library Science and the Faculty of Journalism. Dr. Spencer was a great prof, I totally loved the class and it ended up being my highest mark in the program (not counting our joke of a Management class where everybody in the class got 90%+) and which always left me wondering if I should’ve gone into journalism instead of librarianship? Part of the reason I got such a good mark was because I gave what I felt was possibly my best presentation of library school as my final assignment in the class. I was the final speaker on the final day of presentations and I still remember Dr. Spencer saying “I can’t think of a better note to end this class on than that presentation. The class was about the history of information but you’ve given us a glimpse of the future.”
- The third and final obituary I’ve seen recently is also the one that hits closest to home – that of my dad’s sister, Verna Buechler. My dad is from a family of ten kids and it almost feels like a statistically improbability that all ten managed to make it to their late 60’s, most are in their 70’s and four are now in their 80’s. But no one lives forever and unfortunately, Aunt Verna, who’s been on dialysis for over a decade and has also been battling cancer for quite a while, was the first to pass away even though she’s the sixth oldest. Very sad for the family.