Category Archives: Obituaries

Charles Albert “Bud” Hill, NT Staff (‘62-’69) (1929-2018)

Bud’s obituary was simple – “Charles “Bud” Hill was born on July 12, 1929 and passed away on May 3, 2018”. No doubt somewhere along the line, Bud had told his family that he wanted nothing fussy, “just the facts, man”. However, in between the day he came into the world and the day he left, there was a whole lot of living! As a musician and educator, Bud touched hundreds of lives and inspired more young people than any of us will ever know. Although he was on staff at NTCI for just seven years during the 60s, his impact on the music program was enormous. Never short on opinions, those of us who were in his class can never forget his rants about the proper way to play a dotted eight and sixteenth, the virtues of an Alford March (as opposed to a “never-to-be-played” Sousa March), the necessity of attending TSO Student Concerts in order to pass and, of course, this reminder to any brass player, “don’t play like a girl” and to just “pick up the horn and WAIL, man!”

Even NTCI music room’s organizational system was a Bud original – his duct tape labelling system for school instruments was yellow for grade 9 instruments, gray for grade 10 and white for senior instruments. A novel system but clearly developed by Bud as it was dictated by his colour blindness. There was good reason why he drove a yellow car and most of his ties were yellow as white, black, gray and yellow were the only colours he could see.

However, there was much more to Bud! Behind the passionate and charismatic educator, there was a superbly talented composer and arranger. His iconic march written for NTCI, 17 Broadway, was praised in Kiwanis competitions, as was his captivating Chant and Dance for Solo Piano and Concert Band. As an arranger, he had an uncanny ability to score perfectly for his performers and in doing so, delighted his audiences. There was nothing as carefully and caringly written as Bud’s Maytime Melodies medleys. His arrangement of Oh Canada is still the standard at NT and for many years was used to open the annual concert of the Toronto Board of Education Secondary School Music Teachers’ Association. In later years, when playing tuba with The Band of the Royal Regiment of Canada, Bud also composed the delightful Brutish Tubadiers featuring a tuba trio!

Bud’s contribution to music education is best measured by the tributes to him. As one his former students wrote, “inside the tiger was the most gentle and caring soul” – a truly insightful description of an unforgettable teacher who was passionate, inspirational, dedicated, and fiercely patriotic.

James Laxer (’60) (1941-2018)

On February 23 2018, during a research trip to Paris, France, NT grad James “Jim” Laxer, suffered a fatal heart attack. A political economist, well-known intellectual and political activist, Jim was a professor in the Department of Equity Studies, York University at the time of his passing.

Born in Montreal on December 22, 1941 into a politically active family, Jim started his high school career at Oakwood Collegiate but after two years, transferred to North Toronto CI. He found NTCI a less militaristic and rigid environment and thrived in its learning environment. Those in his year will no doubt recall that he ran for president of the student council, narrowly losing to Peter Acker, a family friend.

After graduating from NTCI, he went on receive his BA from the University of Toronto followed by an MA and PhD from Queen’s University. While at university, he was active student journalist, first at The Varsity and later at the Queen’s Journal. In 1965, he was elected president of the Canadian University Press.

In the 1960s, along with economist Mel Watkins and others, Jim played a central role in founding the “Waffle” – a left-wing nationalist movement within the New Democratic Party. In 1971, he ran for the leadership of the NDP and surprised many by coming in second to David Lewis.

The Waffle was ultimately forced out of the NDP and briefly became a separate political party under the name “Movement for an Independent Socialist Canada”. In 1974, Laxer and others from the party were unsuccessful in their bid to be elected to the federal parliament; this defeat led to the Waffle’s demise and Laxer’s decision to concentrate on his position at York University and writing. To this end, he authored over twenty books on the Canadian economy, Canadian politics, free trade, the oil and gas industry and Canadian History. In the 80s, he also hosted a current affairs show, The Real Story and hosted the 1986 National Film Board series, Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada. His essays and opinion pieces also appeared in many Canadian newspapers and magazines and for several years he was a columnist for the Toronto Star.

At the time of his untimely death, he was researching his next book examining Canada’s role in the Second World War. His teaching, writing, activism, concern for greater equality and the future of Canada motivated him throughout his life; he will be missed.

Remembering Gerald Dunlevie

Mr. Dunlevie was a gentleman through and through. He was always dressed in a dapper suit, often with a bow tie, and I imagine he looked very much the same as he did as a first-year teacher when my mother was at Oakwood Collegiate in his very first Grade 13 Latin class. Mr. Dunlevie wrote about their relationship in a letter to her on her 70th birthday, back in 2006:

My first association with Estelle, half a century ago in 1953–1954, was a curious kind of role reversal, played out in my first Grade 13 Latin class at Oakwood Collegiate Institute in Toronto.

I was a callow first-year teacher, while Estelle was a mature seventeen-year-old whose calming and steadying presence in the class helped me through the year. My students’ whole high school careers would be made or broken by their performance in the externally set and marked Departmental Examination, so it was unheard of for a neophyte to be entrusted with the responsibility of preparing them for it. The experience was a steep learning curve for a teacher and students, but Estelle’s support and encouragement played no small part in our success; they all passed, and Estelle got the mark in the 80s that she had so richly earned.

This letter is characteristic of Mr. Dunlevie’s humility and appreciation of his students. It was no doubt his hard work, and not my mother’s, that led to the success of every single one of his Grade 13 students that year.

Years later, when I entered Grade 9 at NTCI in the fall of 1983, I had no doubt that Mr. Dunlevie knew exactly who I was. He always had a smile for me, and a wise quotation to share. I always enjoyed talking with Mr. Dunlevie, as he was a font of knowledge and supremely respectful of his students—he talked to us as if we were all very important indeed. In Grade 11, I was lucky enough to go on a trip to Greece and Rome with Mr. Dunlevie and other members of the Classics Department. I remember sitting at a little restaurant in Athens as Mr. Dunlevie and Mr. Maitman took turns pouring retzina and ouzo into my glass. After all, Mr. Dunlevie did like a good glass of wine—and I was not much of a drinker. I believe he felt that part of my classics education should involve an appreciation of the Bacchic delights such as wine and other alcoholic pleasures.

In my final year of high school, I had the great honour of being Mr. Dunlevie’s final student. Once a week at lunch, I would go to Mr. Dunlevie’s office, and he would teach me ancient Greek. He clearly instilled a love of the subject in me, as I returned to it in university, where I completed a major in ancient Greek studies. Such was his impact on so many of his students.

Mr. Dunlevie and I “graduated” from NTCI in the same year—1988. Mr. Dunlevie retired, and I finished Grade 13. Both of us went on to study at the University of Toronto; I completed an Honours B.A., while Mr. Dunlevie engaged in a PhD in modern Italian. Once in a while, we would bump into each other on campus, and he would invariably invite me to join him for a refreshment at Hart House, where we would catch each other up on our lives and our studies. Mr. Dunlevie continued to include me and my mother in his life, inviting us to attend his graduation celebration and, most recently, his 88th birthday party, which we were both honoured to attend. 

In the above letter to my mother, Mr. Dunlevie, in characteristic Mr. Dunlevie fashion, quoted Louis Hémon’s heroine, Maria Chapdelaine, as saying she “knows the essential hierarchy of things that count.” We could just as easily say the same of Mr. Dunlevie. He was a man who valued the pursuit of knowledge, strong relationships, love, good food, fine drink, and music. The light he brought to the world will be sorely missed.

— Nancy Steinhauer (’88)

John Hay Carter (NT Staff, ’85–’01)

“Organized, creative and totally dedicated to his students” – words used to describe NT’s John Carter. A teacher of math and computer science, John came to North Toronto via Harbord CI and Parkdale CI. He also spent two years with CUSO in Ghana. During his years at NT, he coached the badminton team, but it was his dedication to the classroom that led to a huge “fan club” of past students who kept in touch with him. His attention to detail came to light when he threw himself into the task of designing the Math Office when it was moved from the “closet” at the the end of the math wing to the room that had been the Ladies’ Staffroom! He was also a leader in computer science education during the 90s and authored several computer science textbooks and higher-level mathematics textbooks.

After John took early retirement from the TDSB, he spent several years as a lecturer at the University of Toronto in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and most recently was the Dean’s representative on academic offences. However, he always maintained contact with NT as he took on the task of keeping his fellow NT retirees informed about what was happening, and he did a great job organizing lunches for retired staff.

John passed away on Monday, October 9, 2017, at the age of 76 at the Toronto Western Hospital, leaving behind his wife, Laryssa, their two children and two grandchildren along with his brothers, nieces, a nephew and many friends. He will be greatly missed.

Gordon Stanley Davies  (’53) (1933-2017)

Born in 1933, Gordon lived a rich and full life. He attended North Toronto in the glory days of Jack Dow and played violin in the school’s fledgling music program, although science ultimately proved to be his passion. After completing his PhD in marine biology at the University of California, he returned to Canada and accepted a position at the University of Waterloo in Canada’s first Environmental Faculty. He played a significant role in preparing Canada’s first Environmental Assessment Process, worked with Thomas Berger on the McKenzie Valley Pipeline inquiry and headed up Kenya’s Wildlife Planning Unit, which was responsible for establishing new national parks in that county.

Gordon had two sons – Erik (born in Nigeria) and Ben (born in Vancouver) – with his first wife, Anita D’Aoust. In 1989, Gordon suffered a life-altering stroke but, although partially paralyzed, continued to teach, work and travel. In 1996, he attended the Maytime Melodies 50th anniversary concert at Roy Thompson Hall and reconnected with Kay Smythe (née Charles, also ’53) – his first girlfriend at NT! – whom he had not seen since graduating. Kay and Gordon were married in Muskoka at a ceremony enhanced by a stirring rendition of John Rutter’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” which had been performed at the 50th Maytime Melodies concert.

In living with a stroke-related disability, Gordon realized that there were no books written from the perspective of survivors. He took on the challenge of filling this void by interviewing other stoke survivors. Using a single finger to type, he documented their stories and his in What’s Your Handicap? A Guide to Stroke Recovery, published in 2014.

Known for his gentle humour and quiet wisdom, Gordon passed away peacefully on June 9, 2017, with his wife, sons and stepson at his side.

NTCI Music Department & Foundation at Elvino Sauro Celebration

On September 30th, a celebration was held at the Toronto Skating, Curling and Cricket Club to remember the life of Elvino Sauro, who graduated from North Toronto Collegiate in 1952. Ron Wakelin, chair of the NT Foundation, spoke of Elvino’s involvement and the love he held for his high school. North Toronto was such an important part of Elvino’s life, and he always remembered a loan he received as a student to buy a trumpet and take music lessons.

In the past few years, he showed his gratitude by giving very generous endowments to our music program through the Foundation. After the speeches, 16 NT students, led by music teacher Liz Monteith, played some themes from movies. This was a fitting tribute to a man for whom film had been a lifelong love. After their performance the band played the school song, and over half of those in attendance rose to join in.

One interesting fact that emerged among the many tributes to Elvino was that he had a keen interest in gardening and planted a vegetable garden every year for over four decades. In some ways, this may be an apt way to remember Elvino: a person who planted seeds, cultivated healthy crops and lived to enjoy the results of his efforts.

While Elvino is no longer with us in body, the seeds he has sown will continue to bear fruit for generations to come. Many have benefited from the life of Elvino.
He will not be forgotten!

Elvino Sauro (’52) (1932-2017)

With the passing of Elvino Sauro on September 8, 2017, NTCI lost a great friend and benefactor. Born on October 2, 1932, Elvino was a student at North Toronto during the days of the legendary Jack Dow. A loan from the school enabled Elvino, a talented and enthusiastic trumpet player, to buy a trumpet and take private lessons. He took a part-time job at Dominion bagging groceries to pay it off, but he never forgot the generous gesture.

After graduating from NT, Elvino pursued film, his other passion, by enrolling in the radio and television arts program at Ryerson. On Saturday nights during the winter and spring, he also played quite regularly in the dance band at Balmy Beach Canoe Club and jobbed around with various non-union bands. He also performed with the Ryerson marching band and at some football games with the University of Toronto Band. After graduating from Ryerson, he played in a dance band at Clevelands House in Muskoka then worked as a TV producer in Sault Ste. Marie.

A variety of media-related positions in various locales followed until 1964, when he dropped in to see Ryerson’s Direction of Extension Programs (now Continuing Education) to see if there were any films courses in the calendar. As it turned out, they were short an instructor, and Elvino was hired! By his own admission, he had a knack for explaining things to people, so it was no surprise that by the 1968–69 academic year, he was teaching a full daytime course load at Ryerson and was hired full time the following fall. He never looked back, and by the time he retired in 1998, Elvino was director of the film studies program. His memory will live on at Ryerson, as he established the Elvino Sauro Film Award, granted annually to a fourth-year film studies student.

In his retirement years, Elvino demonstrated his commitment to lifelong learning as he pursued a wide variety of continuing education courses. He even bought a trumpet and started playing again in order to be part of NT’s Memories Forever 100th anniversary alumni concert at Roy Thompson Hall in 2012. Always generous, he also funded the medley and the concert program for this special event. This was in addition to his generous donation to the Heritage Court during the building of the new school and his volunteer work to digitize audio and visual records from NT’s archives.

Elvino’s ongoing financial support of NT’s Music Department led to the establishment of the Elvino Sauro Music Award in the 2013–14 academic year. In keeping with his own experience, the award helps financially needy but promising music students in grades 9, 10 and 11 pay for private lessons, music camps and other music enrichment
opportunities.

He leaves behind his wife, Linda, and extended family, including many nieces and nephews. In keeping with his wishes, a celebration of life for family, friends and colleagues is being held at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club on Saturday September 30th from 2–4:30 p.m. Elvino’s enthusiasm and inspirational outlook on life will be greatly missed, but his generosity and commitment to giving back will continue to benefit students at both NTCI and Ryerson University.

Alan Ogilvie (’55) (1936-2017)

Alan Ogilvie, one of the key organizers of NTCI’s 75th Anniversary, passed away in Collingwood on July 4, 2017, after a short illness. He was born in Toronto in 1936, and his interest in music – an interest that continued all his life – blossomed at NT, where he played the cello in the school’s fledgling music program.

After graduating from NT, Alan studied engineering at the University of (Class of ’59). He then founded and ran Ogilvie Consultants Limited for 35 years until his retirement. Alan was a man of many interests, an avid sailor and skier who travelled extensively to participate in sailing competitions and to search out “good powder”!A kind and gentle person, he possessed a great sense of volunteerism – as evidenced in his work with many arts organizations including NTCI, the Cathedral Bluffs Orchestra (in which he was also a performing member) and other groups. He also passed his love of music on to his sons, Andrew and Cameron, both of whom also graduated from NTCI.

A celebration of Alan’s life was held on Saturday, July 15th in Collingwood, followed by a reception at the Toronto Ski Club. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Diane, his two sons, three grandchildren, and two sisters as well as all who had the privilege of knowing him.