National Post from Toronto, Ontario, Canada on June 10, 1999 · 16
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National Post from Toronto, Ontario, Canada · 16

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 10, 1999
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A16 NATIONAL POST, THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 1999 i ll M i 11 HMtt-.kaw jwWtfife. jSSfflwuM iDWBftB; THOMAS GORDON TOWERS From the Alberta family farm to 16 years in Parliament I ' L3 r I) J I Red Deer MP became province's lieutenant-governor Gordon Towers, who has died aged 79, was a former Progressive Conservative member of Parliament who liked to claim he was just a God-fearing farmer from central Alberta who accidentally wandered into the fields of government; he later served as Alberta's lieutenant-governor. Thomas Gordon Towers was born on July 5, 1919, near Red Deer, Alta., and worked with his father on the family farm through the Depression. After finishing high school he aspired to become a lawyer or join the air force, but his father asked him to stay on the farm, and the young man agreed. In those days farm work was done with teams of horses. In 1939, Mr. Towers was nearly crushed to death when the horse he was riding tumbled down a hill, landing on top of him and fracturing a hip and knee. Still, he never lost his attachment to the family farm, even after passing it on to his sons. In the summer of 1990, he denounced k.d. lang, the country singer and vegetarian activist, when she spoke out against the cattle industry with her "Meat Stinks" television campaign. "She got in wrong with the cattlemen, and is still in wrong with them," Mr. Towers said. "She didn't have to do that, that's the part that bothers me. What kind of a person are you, that you want to hurt people, or maybe even hurt their income?" Mr. Towers first felt the pull of a political career in 1963. "I never had any desire or thought of going into politics," he said, "but I was invited by the constituency to be the president, and then asked to be a To Place a Death Notice or Memoriam on this page, please call: Toronto (416)386-2647 Vancouver (604) 739-8111, ext. 262 Toll Free 1-800-668-5617 or Fa (416)386-2663 Monday to Friday 9:00a.m. to 4:30p.m. E.D.T. DEATH NOTICES CHALMERS, Ronald Justus (Retired Fire Inspector, Former OPP Constable) Quietly in his home on Saturday May 8, 1999 in his 65th year. Ron Chalmers, widower of Betty and is survived by his children, Brian, Gregg, Lindsay and Keith and their mother Alayne Chalmers. Grandfather to four beautiful grandchildren. Brother of Charles, William and Rea. A service in memory of Ron will be held at the Westboro Chapel of the Tubman Funeral Homes, 403 Richmond Road, Ottawa, Saturday June 12, 1999 at 3 p.m. PR in IE, Mary Elizabeth, R.C.A., C.S.P.W.C., O.S.A. With profound sadness the family of Mary Prittie announces the passing of this great lady on June 8th, 1999 at home in Port Colborne. Born in 1908 in St. Catharines, the daughter of Jack apd Bessie Titterington. She was predeceased by her husband Allan Prittie and sisters Dorothy King and Lois Titterington of St. Catharines. Loving mother of Allan and his wife Marilynn of Toronto and Lois of London, England. Beloved grandmother of Ian and Jennifer Prittie and Emily Gatt. Her passion in life was her art, which is well known and respected throughout Canada and the United States. She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy, the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour and the Ontario Society of Artists. The family will receive friends at the Port Coi.bokine Chapel of the Davidson Fdinkral Homks 135 Clarence St. on Thursday, June 10 from 2-4 & 7-9 p.m. The Funeral Service will be held at Central United Church, 30 Delhi Street, Port Colborne of Friday, June 1 Ith at 11:00 am. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to the CNIB, the Canadian Cancer Society, Central United Church or the charity of your choice. candidate. I had automatic support so that made it easier." He was defeated in the general election that year and two years later in 1965. But he persevered and was elected to the House of Commons in 1972 as the MP for Red Deer, a riding he would serve for 16 years. Mr. Towers liked to note that throughout his career he was led by divine guidance. In the year before the OPEC oil crisis, he gave a speech predicting that the Middle East, with its vast reserves of oil, would soon occupy North American politics. "What caused me to say that?" Mr. Towers asked rhetorically. "There was nothing happening then that could cause me to say that" Church and family values were the foundation of his beliefs. "I came from a strong family background," he recalled. He liked to describe how in his youth he'd been "a carefree smart-alec" until the day a minister came to his home and opened the Bible. "He wanted to pray," Mr. Towers said. "And my dad got down on his knees on the floor. That impacted on me like you would never believe." A man with a keen sense of humour, Mr. Towers first attracted attention in Ottawa as something of a poet laureate of the House of Commons. Once, inspired by a conversation with Margaret Mitchell, a New Democrat MP, during a flight they took together in 1980, Mr. Towers recited almost 20 rhyming commentaries during Question Period. When the former NDP leader, Tommy Douglas, was appointed as a director of Husky Oil, Mr. Towers made national headlines with his light-hearted critique, suggesting that the words of a popular union song be amended to read: "The working class can damn my brass, But I've got the job with Husky Gas." He once received a harsh letter about his stance on capital punishment. "The fellow called me barbaric because I voted for capital punishment," he said. "I didn't consider myself barbaric, so I waited for a couple of weeks until I settled down a little bit, and I wrote a letter saying, 'I voted for capital punishment because I think it is a deterrent, and I did it to protect your wife. Now, what are you doing to protect mine?' " Mr. Towers re ANNE SHEAFE MILLER Her 'miracle' recovery in 1942 alerted the world to penicillin, opened a new era in medicine Anne Sheafe Miller, who made medical history as the first patient ever saved by penicillin, has died aged 90. In March, 1942, Mrs. Miller was near death at New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn., suffering from a streptococcal infection a common cause of death at that time. She had been hospitalized for a month, often delirious, with her temperature spiking to nearly 107, while doctors tried everything available, including sulfa drugs, blood transfusions and surgery. All failed. As she slipped in and out of consciousness, her desperate doctors obtained a tiny amount of what was still an obscure, experimental drug and injected her with it. Her hospital chart, which is now at the Smithsonian Institution, registered a sharp drop in temperature overnight; by the next day she was no longer delirious and soon was eating full meals, one of her doctors reported. Mrs. Miller's life was saved, and so eventually were the lives of all those previously felled by bacterial infections like streptococci, staphylococci and pneu-mococci. Penicillin also saved the lives of untold numbers of servicemen and civilians wounded in the Second World War; in earlier wars, people died by the thousands from bacterial infections resulting from their injuries. called that he received a very nice letter in return. As an MP, Mr. Towers managed a demanding slate of public appearances, even after suffering a heart attack in 1986. He retired as the MP for Red Deer two years later. In 1991, Mr. Towers was appointed lieutenant-governor of Alberta by Brian Mulroney, who was then prime minister. At the time Mr. Towers commented that he had no idea why he had received the appointment other than the fact that he and Mr. Mulroney had got on well. As the Queen's representative in Alberta, Mr. Towers kept a low profile. T try not to be boisterous," he said. "I try not to be loud. I try not to be too talkative. I have found I learn far more from listening than talking." An exception came in 1997, after his five-year term had ended, in a public spat with his successor as lieutenant-governor, the former Liberal MP Bud Olson. Mr. Olson decided to move the traditional New Year's levee from the provincial capital to his former riding in Medicine Hat. "The break with tradition caused a furor that reached all the way to Buckingham Palace," read the newspapers of the day, somewhat hyperbolically. So incensed was Mr. Towers that he called on the prime minister and on British officials to remove Mr. Olson from office. His own tenure as lieutenant-governor, however, was not without its controversies, and during the first term of the Conservative government of Ralph Klein, Mr. Towers' speech from the throne warned Albertans of heavy spending cuts ahead. Mr. Towers' folksy style helped him forge a strong bond with another prairie populist, the former Conservative prime minister John Diefenbaker. One of the proudest moments of his political career occurred during a visit with the Saskatchewan politician in the waning years of his life. "We had a father-son relationship," Mr. Towers said of Mr. Diefenbaker. "He was a tremendous person, especially for the little guy and also for the West" Mr. Towers is survived by his wife, Doris, his three sons, a daughter and a foster daughter. Siobhan Roberts, National Post, with files from The Canadian Press and The Edmonton Journal Sir Alexander Fleming, the Scottish biologist, was the first to recognize the therapeutic potential of penicillin through a chance discovery at St. Mary's Hospital in London in 1928. Nearly a dozen years passed before scientists fully appreciated its significance and were able to produce it for experimental use in humans. Largely forgotten, it came to the fore again when researchers at Oxford University picked up on it at the outbreak of the Second World War. Before Mrs. Miller's doctors succeeded in saving her life, only a few experiments had been conducted with penicillin in mice and humans, with disheartening results. The news of Mrs. Miller's full and seemingly miraculous recovery helped inspire the American pharmaceutical industry to begin full production of penicillin. A native New Yorker, Anne Sheafe graduated in 1931 from Columbia Presbyterian School of Nursing. The next year she married Og-den D. Miller, a Yale University administrator. The family moved to Washington, Conn., in 1945, when Mr. Miller became headmaster of the Gunnery School, where he served until he retired in 1969. He died nine years later. Mrs. Miller is survived by three sons. Wolfgang Saxon, The New York Times Gordon Towers delivers the throne The baker who loved square dancing His reputation as a square-dance caller spread far and wide Donald Martin, who has died aged 88, lived an eclectic life as a cowboy, sheep herder, army officer and baker but he left his mark as a heralded square-dance caller and a catalyst of the square-dancing craze that swept the West in the 1950s and '60s. Mr. Martin didn't particularly like square dancing at first, but his wife did, and he wanted to please her. Instead he gravitated to calling, shouting out the complicated routines with a rat-a-tat patter much like that of a country auctioneer. Soon his commanding voice was heard in church basements throughout Alberta and in the U.S., and the Martins had set up a network of clubs with weekly dances all across the province. Donald Sinclair McNaughton Martin was born in Dumbarton, Scotland, on March 11, 1911, the son of a baker. He emigrated with his family to Calgary when he was eight years old, and the youth was soon caught up in the culture of the burgeoning West. While still a teenager he moved away from home to become a ranch hand, and in no time was as comfortable on the back of a horse as he might have been carrying bagpipes. Later he learned to herd cattle and sheep. His father had other plans for him, however, and encouraged his son to follow in his footsteps. He did, and started as a baker at Golden West Bakery, which would later become part of the giant Weston chain. Mr. Martin remained there, taking a leave of absence to serve as an army instructor during the speech in the Alberta legislature in DONALD MARTIN Donald Martin calls the patter. Second World War, for 45 years. When he retired in 1976, he had reached a management position. Mr. Martin's social life took an unexpected turn in 1949 when he and his wife went to a school fundraiser that featured square dancing. Dancing had never been his forte, and he told his wife there was "no way" he would square dance. But he did agree to try calling. So he made an appointment with the school principal himself a caller who put on some square-dance records and proceeded to teach him the intricacies of calling, a role not unlike conducting a symphony orchestra. Mr. Martin took to his new hobby with a passion equalled only by his wife's fervour to spread the movement across the province. Together they set up square-dancing clubs, first the Elbow Valley Square Dancers, and later weekly dance fests in school gymnasiums. Throughout the West, Legion halls, school gyms and senior citizens' centres echoed with the calls of "allam and left" and "do-si-do," as agile feet pounded the floors and crinolines swirled. So eager were the Martins to jfillltip " THE CANADIAN PRESS February, 1995. have others join in the fun, they started a club in their basement, the "Grand Squares," for grandparents only. It grew to 100 members and lasted until four years ago, when Mr. Martin turned 84. In the early days, square dancing had consisted of a mere 12 or so moves, known well by the dancers, with the sequence to be determined by the caller. As clubs mushroomed, what had been a simple dance developed into a complicated series of manoeuvres with as many as 100 different commands being sung or "pattered" by the caller. Visitors who heard Mr. Martin, outfitted in his trademark Western garb and 10-gallon hat, were so impressed he found himself in demand at festivals from Calgary to San Francisco. What started out as a $10-a-night "gig" soon increased tenfold as demand and his reputation grew. Upon his retirement, Mr. Martin undertook a second career, as a volunteer with Canadian Executive Services Overseas. He travelled to South America and the Arctic and other remote parts of Canada modernizing bakery facilities and teaching his craft. For half a century, Mr. Martin was instrumental in organizing , and calling square dances on Calgary streets during Stampede Week. Recently, the City of Calgary commended him for his service. As Western communities began building curling rinks, and that sport took off in popularity, the bloom faded for square dancing. Today's equivalent is line dancing, an offshoot of square dancing that doesn't require a caller. Mr. Martin is survived by Jean, his wife of 65 years, a son, Fraser, . and two daughters, Donna and Janice. Edward Keen, National Post

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