Elaine Drover, remembering Mike Bedard:
We remember Mike fondly. Mike was sweet. He loved people! We lived in the same building in Parry Sound. It was called The Friends. Mike loved watching movies and going downtown for coffee. He liked music. Shirley remembers Mike as always greeting visitors with a big hug and a warm smile. She always looked forward to seeing him when she visited The Friends. Mike was well known in Parry Sound and had many friends there. We miss him. Mike came to live in Toronto. He met someone very special who liked him a lot! Her name is Christine Jimenez.
This is what Christine would like to say about Mike.
It was just so nice to meet you and you took my heart away. It is not easy for me to say goodbye. Some times I think about what it would be like if we got married and we had kids.
Remembering Jinny Storr
Remembering Greg Gittings (1964 -2013)
by Shirley McNaughton
When I think of Greg, I remember:
- His love of floor hockey and his exciting experiences with the Canadian Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association - meeting Prince Andrew in 1986, having high tea with Princess Anne in 2007 and travelling to many parts of the world
` His wonderful managerial abilities - always having an orderly apartment with wonderful smells of baked dinners wafting from the oven
- His caring family and his excitement in planning surprises for his mother, Joyce, and his father, Ted, for their birthdays and anniversaries
- His enjoyment in ‘cruising’ the streets of Oakville and meeting the residents and merchants
- His big heart and even bigger dream - to design a residence that could be part of a University for Bliss users so they could have life long learning
- - His Bliss name, created by him during one of his stays at Bala - “The man who wants more Blissymbols for children”
- His unique creative writing ability, demonstrated in his play “North and South” - dedicated
to his Mom and Dad and teacher, Noreen
- His determination to overcome his difficulties with spelling by just persisting in writing his ideas and dreams as best he could, and working on his spelling - along the way
- His pride in the writing of Mazo de la Roche, author of Jalna novels, whose home was close to his family home
Greg was a deep thinking, caring, capable person - who happened to have cerebral palsy and a learning difficulty when it came to reading and spelling - but oh what exciting ideas he had and what fun it was to be with him!
Remembering Shayne Dennis
Shayne was a remarkable and memorable person. His youngest years were difficult and painful with the death of his mother when he was very young - then he was taken in and later adopted by a wonderful foster family who accepted and encouraged him to become all that he could be - and Shayne was off and "running"!
He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, questioning everyone and everything around him. First his Blissboard and later his Touch Talker and laptop gave him the freedom to ask and be heard. He was always willing to explain to those who would listen that he was simply able to communicate differently from others, that he was otherwise the same as any other person. He once laughingly told the Director of Education that he wasn't deaf, please stop yelling, he just couldn't talk!
A happy and positive outlook ensured that Shayne was always surrounded by friends. After he finished high school, he insisted on being independent, moving out to live on his own with personal support workers to assist him, and he maintained a very active social life. He excelled at using public transportation, visiting home, his bank, coffee shops and a hospital where he volunteered in the pediatric wing, encouraging children with Cerebral Palsy particularly. Via e-mail and the telephone he kept in contact with friends from public school, high school, new friends from his outings in town and former teachers and Education Assistants. He never lacked for company or invitations to parties or events. Above all, he showed compassion and caring for others, to the extent that he sloughed off concern for himself, he could manage well enough.
Shayne met all obstacles in his life with courage and determination, and the heart of a lion.
Robert "Bob" 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 will be 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.
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