Remembering Valerie Cruse
(by Amanda Boc-Nielsen, Dean Burning, Robert Loree, Andrew Nielsen, Anne O’Malley, Derrin Seaton & Paul Sullivan)
When it came to using Blissymbols, Val was the smartest person we knew.
Val could speak perfect English using just Blissymbols. Her grammar was excellent. She would “speak” in complete sentences. If Val didn’t have the Blissymbol for a word she wanted to say, she was most creative and always able to get her message across. This is how Val got her nickname. She was known to us all as “Ms. Combine”. I remember when Shirley asked Val and I to work on a PowerPoint presentation on how to use the “Combine” strategy. (Robert)
I liked going shopping with Val. We both loved clothes and Val had very good taste. We always had fun and would end up in giggles. (Amanda) We used to go horseback riding at a nearby farm. Val’s face would light up like the sunshine whenever she was sitting on that horse. We will always think of Val like this. She was so happy when she was with the horses. (Dean)
Val was in love with coffee and candy. She always had both on the tray of her wheelchair. (Andrew)
The hotter the coffee, the better and she drank it with a straw. Don’t know how she didn’t burn out her throat. (Derrin)
I decided to surprise Val with an outing for her birthday one year, and Val hated surprises. I wouldn’t tell her where we were going. I took Val to the Bulk Barn and Wow! She went crazy when she saw all that bulk candy. She didn’t know where to start. I think we spent a small fortune that day. (Anne)
When I think of Val, I think “Homebody”. Val would go short distances, but she didn’t like to leave town. I think Val missed out on some amazing AAC experiences because of this. I remember we would talk her into going to a Bliss event in Toronto and when it was time to leave, she’d always change her mind. I wish she would have gone with us. She always had so much to contribute when we would get together as a group here at home. (Paul)
Andrew – I miss my friend. She made me laugh.
Derrin – I know Val is with God.
Dean – I liked being with you, friend.
Amanda – I miss you.
Paul – Val, you were always having problems with your wheelchair. I remember it going in circles and you weren’t even touching the controls. We would joke it was haunted. I miss laughing with about this with you.
Bob – Our relationship had its ups and downs, its highs and lows, but I am happy that I had you in my life and I miss you.
Anne – I think of you often, and with good memories of the times we shared together. You will always be in our hearts.
Date of Passing:
January 1, 2018
Our Dear Friend, Paul Marshall
Paul received his voice when he learned Blissymbolics at the age of twelve.
It was like a flood gate was opened! All his thoughts, questions and desires came rushing out. By his mid twenties, the milestone of being literate was reality in his life! The years have gone by, but Paul has always preached that there is a direct link from Bliss to being literate!
Over the years, Paul was privileged to give presentations at local, provincial, federal and International levels on living with a disability. The other hat that he wears is one of tech support. Along with sharing the responsibilities of co-chairing BCIC with Shirley McNaughton, he looks after our website.
Paul has a deep compassion to the Bliss community and the vision of our ongoing work as an organization! He also lives in a group setting with three others who are also nonspeaking. This gives him an opportunity to help in his home environment too.
We in Canada have sad news to share!
Paul Marshall died on October 25, 2016.
We will treasure our memories of him and always be thankful for his wonderful contribution to our Bliss community - here in Canada and around the world. For us, Paul was a highly respected leader, highly regarded by our Bliss users and alumni and his colleagues throughout our AAC community .... and he was a wonderful friend! Paul’s deep faith gave him strength throughout his life to take on the many challenges he faced, but never more than in recent years, as his health began to fail and pain became increasingly his companion. He persevered in his many projects until his body finally said, “no more”! The thoughts of two of Paul’s Bliss friends in Toronto express what Paul meant to them:
Paul was the greatest!
He was courageous and brave!
No one could do what he did! Paul’s heart was in his work! He was friendly and helpful to all of us!
We feel that now, Paul is looking down on us from the heavens above, and he is still inside us, teaching and loving us!
Nora Rothschild has summarized our feelings well, for all of us! “The world has lost a great and wise soul .”
Elaine Drover, Joe Jessop, Shirley McNaughton
Date of Passing:
October 26, 2016
Bliss and Jane Green
Bliss and Jane Green
by Elaine Drover, Tribute to Jane.
My life begins with Bliss.
Jane Green introduced Bliss to me.
Mrs. Green was the principle at Virginia Waters School in St. John’s Newfoundland. She came from England.
Mrs. Green was in the classroom when I entered the room. She taught spelling and math. I was 12 years old when I started at Virginia Waters School. Mrs. Green had two students who couldn’t communicate. One of them was me. She had the opportunity to go Toronto and she learned about Bliss. She came back and showed us about Bliss. She showed us how Bliss worked. I kind of liked it, and we watched the film about Mr. Bliss. God I must have seen it 100 times.
I grew up with Bliss and I still use it.
Bliss opened many doors. I could communicate my needs through Bliss.
From Margrit Beesley, occupational therapist who participated in first Bliss program in 1971
I am also saddened that we lost an other precious person in Jane Green. She radiated kindness and caring and her relationship with Elaine Drover so heartfelt. We will all miss her.
From Joe Jessop Bliss alumni
Sorry to hear about jane
From Annalu Waller, Professor, Dundee University
Very sad news. Jane was a very special person who truly devoted her life to her students. I will remember her warmth and big hugs!
From Judy Wine, speech language pathologist retired, Israel
Thank you for sharing this very sad news. I often think of Jane and what a kind special person she was. I remember her so well at our Bliss meeting in Israel in 1989. What a wonderful time that was.
I remember her stories and what a full life she had.
From Penny Parnes, speech language pathologist retired, Toronto
Sad news indeed. I am grateful to have known such a person. Kind, generous, brave, intelligent. And many, many other positive attributes.
From Claudia Wood, teacher retired, Toronto
Thanks so much for letting me know. I have such fond memories of Jane; she was such a dedicated professional and kind person.
from Ena Davies, speech language pathologist retired, Cardiff, Wales How very sad to hear the news of Jane's recent death. I hope that she did not suffer at the last as she was, as you say, a very sweet and gentle person.
I remember her well from our first meeting in 1977 when we were at a workshop in St. John's Newfoundland. Happy memories of a wonderful meal at her daughter's fish restaurant with other new Bliss presenters. I have some photographs tucked away which I will search out to share.
I also remember her kindness towards Louise Penny and myself at the time of the Winnipeg Conference.
There are certain people who one never forgets - Jane was one such person. Please convey my sincere condolences to Jane's family . I am sure she will be sadly missed.
From Barb Collier, Speech language pathologist/ advocate Toronto
Thank you for sharing this sad news with me.
I have been thinking of Jane over the past few months. She was the reason I got involved in Bliss when I worked in Newfoundland for two years and introduced me to Elaine and the whole Bliss field which became the AAC field - which be- came my world. Yes - she “replaced" me for a time when I was in Ireland - and we joked about nobody ever wanting me back after a stint with Jane! She was a wonderful person - and she leaves an enormous footprint on earth and especially in the Bliss world.
Thoughts are with Elaine today and all of us who loved Jane.
From Nora Rothschild, speech language pathologist retired, Toronto
(forwarding my message on to Barbara)
Hi Barbara. I'm forwarding this message to you. Jane passed away. I know you always worried that she would one day 'replace ' you as we always called on her to fill in while you went on your travels.
She was such a lovely, gentle soul.
Thank you Shirley for sharing this sad news. Give my best to Elaine. Although she no longer saw her regularly, I'm sure the news will be very hard for her.
Gillian Hazel speech language pathologist, England
This is in deed sad news!
I only met Jane few times, but she struck me as a kind and calm person with an inner glow which came from her faith.
Thank you for forwarding the memorial service.
From Shirley McNaughton, Chair, BCIC
Jane was a treasured friend and colleague!
Times spent with her at Bliss meetings throughout the decades were always very special. Her influence on all of us, and especially on Elaine Drover, means Jane will always live on in our hearts and contribute to our dreams for Bliss in the future.
Date of Passing:
May 31, 2016
Robert "Bob" McNaughton
Robert McNaughton July 7, 1922 – February 16th, 2015
Bob ended his seven-year journey with dementia on February 16th, 2015, at age 92.
He was a loving husband of Shirley; dad of Kevin and David and their wives, Litsa and Janice; grandpa of Christopher, Matthew and Kathryn; older brother of Andy and Cathy; and treasured friend of Shirley’s many Bliss family members.
Although he gradually lost many memories in his final years, he remained kind and considerate to all those who knew him and made many new friends - Still Bob! Through 60 years of marriage, he was always there for Shirley and the family - making it possible for Shirley to lead a busy professional life in addition to enjoying a rich family life.
He ensured the family had many happy times at the three Moon River cottages he helped build. Bob was especially proud of his Scottish heritage - born in Glasgow, Scotland - and of his two years in the Royal Canadian Navy, 1943-45. He enjoyed his working years as an instrument technician, first at Orenda Engines and later, at Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine (DCIEM). In retirement, both he and Shirley had many happy experiences with friends at Village by the Arboretum in Guelph, and living two winters on the Moon River, Bala.
They returned to Toronto in October, 2012 and gained many welcoming and caring friends in the Don Mills community and at Donway Covenant United Church. Bob always enjoyed meeting and talking with people. His family and long time friends were very special to him.
He was very adept with his hands: building or fixing things; laying ceramic tile (fireplaces, walls, bathrooms), wood carving, and he always liked to tackle new challenges. He guided us through many exciting “family adventures” - camping, building kayaks, selling scout Christmas trees, pontoon boat excursions, going on outings and holiday trips (especially to Scotland). He was always ready to make new friends and explore new places when he accompanied Shirley on her travels related to Bliss. And how he loved his garden - especially the roses! He will be greatly missed and most lovingly remembered.
The family are deeply appreciative of the care and comfort provided to Bob in his final days through the Palliative Care program at Sunnybrook Hospital, and of the numberless kindnesses extended to him by his care givers and friends during the last two years.
A Celebration of Bob’s life was held on Saturday, April 4, 2015 at Mount Pleasant Visitation Centre, Toronto. Memorial donations may be made to Blissymbolics Communication Institute-Canada, ℅ Katherine Seybold, Treasurer, 296 Glencairn Ave. Toronto, M5N 1T9.
Date of Passing:
February 16, 2015
Remembering Jinny Storr
She was always there for us!
From the very beginning, Bliss in Canada has had the gift of Jinny Storr and she generously gave this gift to those in the many countries who shared in the Bliss adventure!
Jinny will forever have a huge place in my heart! What a wonderful life, so very well lived!
Read the full letter from Shirley McNaughton, the Tribute to Jinny from Claudia Wood, and another Tribute to Jinny from Anne Warrick, to celebrate the memory of Jinny Storr.
Here is the contribution by Jinny Storr to the BCI Think Tank in Dundee 2007, and here the Award of Recognition from BCI the same year.
Finally, below find a picture from the BCI Panel meeting in Furuboda, Sweden 2002, where you find Jinny standing 5:th from the right. This is the one and only time I personally met Jinny, unfortunately far too short for really getting to know her. But I see the results of her great contributions every time I sit down to work with the Blissymbolics lexicon.
Date of Passing:
April 30, 2014
Tribute to Ann Running
A Celebration of Ann's Life. by Shirley McNaughten
This is not going to be easy, to say in a short time what was special about Dorothy Elizabeth Ann Running and to keep my voice under control! I am doing this for someone who had very high expectations and standards, so I will do my best In trying to capture what made Ann so very special. I have asked several persons to help. I have appreciated reading the tributes that are appearing in the on-line Star guest book . This is the most fitting way for friends to express their tributes and is accessible to those who speak and those who cannot.
Lynnette has given me the following words: courageous,determined, loyal and loving.
And the words that Margrit has given me are: wonderful, and pioneer. Margrit also reminded me that Ann frequently claimed she was proud to be Marg's "guinea pig". Ann was always willing to try out any new idea with tenacious determination. On the web, I saw “true teacher” and a role model with a sense of humour and keen intellect. She had a twinkle in her eye that radiated her eagerness and enjoyment. This was clear when talking with you. She reflected her mischievous sense of humour, and was one who fought for her rights and the rights of others.
She was someone who could be “heard” by her friend, Kari, singing every Ann Murray song there is.
As always, Paul Marshall was able to sum it up beautifully on the web. He stated, “Her feet were ever so small, but the footprints that she left upon this world were huge! The greatest and the strongest wouldn’t dare to match her footprints that she indwelled on us.” (Paul even gave us a new word, as he often does – “indwell”. We know what he means.) For myself, I must focus on “love” that will always dwell within me.( "Indwell") He could not be with Ann without feeling it. When he thought about why this was, he reflected on what made this possible. First - Ann who, by nature, was positive and open to the world and ready to take in everything the world offered her. But second – and very important - was the love she received from others in her life.
Ann was blessed with Miriam’s love each and every day and they shared so much of life together. And she had the love of Ted, who tried his very best to help in any way and to fulfill an important role in Ann’s life. Then there was the love of family members – Daniel, Bob, Tim and their families and those wonderful family friends for whom Ann was their special daughter. And there was the love of those at 2880 Bayview, who were her second family.
This never faltering love from those nearest to her, gave Ann the foundation to give even more love to friends like Pat, Marilyn, Kari, Elaine, Carolyn, and so many others. Ann also had the love of all of us who came to know her through our special world of augmentative and alternative communication and within it our extra special world of Bliss. Ann absorbed all this love and then reflected it out to others, as they came into her life.
A magic circle took place through the giving and receiving of love. It started with Ann’s early days at the Ontario Crippled Children’s Centre and the special bond between Ann and Margrit Beesley. And Ann continued to develop strong friendships - Lynnette Norris, Anne Warrick, Barb Collier, Ros Irvine, Liz Baird, Sherri Parkins, Kristin, Cathy, Chris, Daphne and her many care givers at 2880, her doctors, and her nurses from her hospital stays – to name but a few. No one who came to know Ann, remained untouched! Just last week, a teacher from Sweden who met Ann over a year ago was sending his love to her. And I’m expecting a message soon from Bangladesh!
I know I have treasured every moment I have spent with Ann and my love for her has been returned a hundred fold! How could any of us have known that the young preschooler at OCCC who needed Margrit to help her sit in a position from which she could begin her long journey to be her very own person in this world, would as an adult, master computer technology and use it to speak her mind very forcefully, to write, to read, to make presentations and to make a very deep imprint in our world . There was never any doubt that Ann controlled the direction of her life to the full extent offered to her! Who could have known that the young pioneer in the Blissymbol class in 1971, (in the class that had to proceed more slowly because of their heavy reliance on prototype technology) would someday master print and shame us all by her excellent command of full English grammar. And that she would proudly proclaim that Blissymbolics was her first language to anyone who would listen. Who would have dreamed that, at learning of her death, tributes would be coming to Ann’s family from California, Scotland, Sweden, Israel, St; John’s Newfoundland, Windsor, Haileybury and Muskoka in Ontario!
Ann was so very special because she absorbed and radiated back the goodness of all the wonderful people in her life. She brought out the best in all of us and then mirrored it back to us, expanding it a hundred-fold with all her love! Ann had a role model who influenced her greatly back in the 80’s and 90’s – Sue Odell. Ann told me many times she wanted to be like Sue. I know Sue would have been very proud of all Ann’s accomplishments. I’m sure both of them would get a chuckle out of the way a fellow student from the 70’s thought of them. When I told John Dowling, who had been a fellow presenter in community presentations in the 90’s about Ann’s death – he told me how both Sue and Ann had always bossed him around and told him what he had to do. When I told John that I guessed he could now relax, he pointed up, shook his head, and said “No Way”! I think all of us will always feel the same. Ann’s love has made such a strong place in our lives that there is no way, we will forget her! No way at all! And – following in Ann’s tradition /sites/default/files/anne2.jpg Just one more thing. How fitting that we are celebrating Ann’s life on International Women’s Day! In honor of the day, I have to emphasize.............
My tribute to Ann is extended to her wonderful partner in living life to the full – Miriam! They both exemplify the very best in what women contribute to the world. Our love will always be there for both of you!! Ann made our love possible and she made it imperative! Ann liked listing to Ann Murray.
Now I am listening to Ann Murray while remembering all good times. Ann running is still in our hearts and shining the sky.
Date of Passing:
March 5, 2010